Bloggers’ Trip to Malacca with Casio Exilim ZR3500 (video)

Thanks to the invitation from Casio Singapore, a group of us were able to experience the rich culture of Malacca, Malaysia and also had the opportunity to hands-on the latest Casio Exilim ZR3500 camera. Our group comprises of beauty, lifestyle, photography, travel and of course Tech bloggers. During the trip, the versatility of this little Casio Exilim ZR3500 is evidence when we shared our photos in the Scene album. We have all sorts of pictures, from food, selfies, portrait, scenery, macro and etc 🙂 .

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This Casio Exilim ZR3500 is a godsend for those who love selfies, welfies. It is touted as the selfie camera for a reason. I will show and talk more about that later.

In order not to bore everyone, I will show some trip pictures and how the pictures were taken. But before that, let me show you physical look of this ZR3500. BTW, the ZR3500 is available now in 4 colors (White, Gold, Yellow and Pink) at S$579.

Casio Exilim ZR3500 (White)

On the exterior, the Casion Exilim ZR3500 looks very ordinary. The flip screen can only be flipped 180 degrees up. Primarily, the flip screen is for selfie purpose.

As you can see below, the front consists of the big lens which has 12x optical zoom. I love the built-in cover mechanism for the lens. You do not need to worry about missing cover (which from my experiences is usually the case when we get overly excited during trips).

It also added a front shutter button. This, in my opinion, is really good when you want to take selfie. BTW, the ring on the lens can be set to become a zoom ring, an aperture ring and etc.

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On the back, there are not many control dials to meddle. This is a good move since most of us who will want to use this Selfie Camera will not be interested in too complicated functions.

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These are the top and bottom view. Do note that there is no hot shoe or cold shoe for your flash. Everything is dependent on the built-in flash which is very good in coverage from the pictures that I took.

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A close up of the dial. Here are my favorite dial settings: BS: Best Shot, ART: Art filters, TL: Time Lapse.

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Here is the compartment to access the battery and SD Card.

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And this is the side compartment where you can charge your camera or use the mini HDMI port to display the content to the big screen. I super like the Micro USB port charging. I hope this will become the standard for all cameras.

Gone are the days you have to carry an external battery charging base to charge the camera battery. You can now connect to the Micro USB port in the camera to start charging. (BTW, this is NOT the first camera to have this feature).

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The Malacca Trip and the ZR3500 Features

On our way to Malacca, the first thing that I tried on the ZR3500 is the Zoom. I love Optical Zoom. Although compact, the ZR3500 sports a 12x optical zoom. Here is the results of a full optical zoom with digital zoom assist.

Disclaimers: All images taken with Casio Exilim ZR3500 without retouch. Image sizes are optimized with watermark to fit this post.

Without Zoom

We were traveling on a coach and this was taken when we were on the way to immigration via 2nd Link.

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With 12x Optical Zoom and digital zoom (24x)

It was quite impressive and I guess the Optical Image Stabilizer is doing its job well. Do note that this is shot through a tinted glass and there seems to be slight double image.

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Our first stop is a short distance from Malaysia immigration to have our breakfast. Here are some of the bloggers taken when the ZR3500 is set to Auto with Beauty Mode ON.

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In the coach, I decided to mount the camera to a selfie stick. Using the built in Motion Shutter, I am able to just wave at the camera to initiate a shot. Here is the results.

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And here are the menus that you will see. Once you flip the screen up, it will cue you to depress the shutter to activate the motion shutter (note that you can deactivate motion shutter in the menu too).

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This is the wave icon after you activate the shutter. You have to wave near this icon to start the count down.

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During the trip, many of us were using the motion shutter to take selfie. Here is Xinyi with HP taking a selfie using motion shutter.

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As mentioned earlier, this camera is versatile. Here is a portrait shot (sort of) of Wilson. I am using the natural light from the windows to capture it.

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After our lunch, we had a walk along the famous Jonker Walk of Malacca.

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One of the usage of the flip screen is that you can take low angle shots like this. You don’t need to bend all the way down. Just flip the screen to 90 degrees to see the composition of your shot.

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Usually, I like to post-processed my shot. This time round, I tried the ART mode (Toy Camera Filter). The results is quite pleasing.

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When reaching the end of the walk, there is a river. Here is a shot of the river with HDR mode set to level 3. In my opinion, it is either you love it or hate it.

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I have better results when taking a church.

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Anyway, we continued the walk and come across many trishaws (I don’t know what is the exact name they call them there). Here is my favorite one with the Avengers decor. Notice the colors. They are very vibrant which I like.

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We continued our walk and reach the hill top to see the St. Paul Church. We took many pictures and videos.

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In the movie mode, You can set the settings to HS (High Speed). Here is a compilation of videos that I took with 240 FPS (video size becomes 512 x 384 pixels). The speed  can go up to 1000 FPS (224 x 64 pixels).

Here is our hotel for the night (Aldy Hotel). The location is near the busiest street, Jonker Walk.

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In the evening, we had our dinner in a restaurant. As you can see from this picture of the dish, the white balance is a little off. It happened almost to every picture. My impression is that the ZR3500 will struggle under artificial lighting. Of course, the picture can be “saved” by adjusting the white balance in external software.

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After dinner, we try out some night shots. Very challenging to execute. This is a panning shot.

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Although the ZR3500 has manual mode, the settings are very limited. For example, the aperture can only be set in 2 steps. F/2.8 or F/7.9. There are no other settings.

The next morning, we had our Dim Sum and here is a macro shot of the food. White balance is much better in natural light.

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We did a timelapse while enjoying our Tim Sum. The result is quite hilarious.

Click Here to Check Out How TimeLapse Video Looks Like

(credit goes to Wilson from WilzWorkz for this video)

After breakfast, we did a bit of shopping before heading back to Singapore. But before that, we end up in a cafe with super nice ambiance.. Here is a shot taken with the ART mode (Toy Camera – My favorite filter).

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PS: There are too many pictures I had taken. They are shared in some of my social channels.

Connectivity via Bluetooth and WiFi

One of the very important features of the Casio Exilim ZR3500 is connectivity. To be able to connect the camera to your Smartphones (iOS or Android), you will need two apps.

Pairing with the EXILIM Connect App is quite straight forward. Just follow simple instructions. It will let you know once completed. You should established connection with the Bluetooth and WiFi after completion.

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Scene is actually an app to organize the photos and albums, and also to send pictures to shared albums amongst fellow Scene users. Very friendly to use.

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In traditional methods, files (photos) transfer are done via WiFi. For Casio Exilim ZR3500, it incorporates a new technology, Bluetooth Smart. With Bluetooth Smart, it can always stay connected with the smartphone (once the pairing is done). There is no need to manually establish connection with the two devices.

How photos can be transferred automatically

In the Menu, when you set the settings to Auto Send, once a Bluetooth link is established between the smartphone and ZR3500, it will automatically push the pictures to the smartphone via WiFi.

Hands-on

I had a few struggles with this feature though (on Android). First of all, you will need to ensure that Bluetooth connection is established (the heart shape will light up on the app. On the ZR3500, the Bluetooth logo will be shown in white).

I had difficulties to get them to link automatically. I had to activate the Exilim Connect app on my smartphone to connect my phone to ZR3500. Once connected and you start shooting, it will try to establish the WiFi connect and auto send the pictures to the smartphone. You can send full size or 3MPX size to your smartphone (It can be changed in the Menu on the camera).

When the connections are done, just let the apps perform the auto sending. However, there is something you need to take note. When you are connected to your camera via WiFi, your smartphone data connection will be disabled (Android). Any apps that need data will NOT be able to receive data. Data will only be established after the transfer job is done (or when WiFi is off or when connected to a WiFi with Internet access). Again, this is NOT something new. Every camera with WiFi transfer feature will encounter the same scenario.

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I find it a bit uncomfortable. In the end, I disabled the auto send feature. Don’t get me wrong, it is a neat feature, especially with the Bluetooth Smart. However, I would like to be in control of what to upload to my smartphone due to the limited memory space (The app does not allow it to upload to an SD card slot. It is a pity this feature isn’t available).

In manual transfer, you can choose to select the images or read from the smartphone. Both features work perfectly.

Summary

If you like the features of the Casio Exilim TR60 but thinks that the price is too steep, this ZR3500 might be the best of both worlds. It can take selfie effortlessly and also able to satisfy certain needs like optical zoom and Optical Image stabilizing feature.

I could imagine carrying this Casio Exilim ZR3500 as a secondary camera for trips. Based on my limited survey, more girls are happy with the camera after seeing the results (beauty) and are willing to pay the price for this camera. As for guys, they think that the price is too steep when they can compare it with other models.

I would love that Casio can add a touch screen to it, or even allow the screen to flip “up” and “down” (instead of the current “up” only configuration). The reason is because sometimes, you would like to shoot from top and be able to view the screen by tilting the screen down (of course currently, you can still simulate a flip down by turning the camera upside down. It is an awkward position with the shutter button on the bottom).

Overall, I would recommend it to people who loves to take selfies, welfies and love the beauty mode. Overall, a compact and capable camera for fuss-free shooting.

Once again, thank you Casio for organizing this trip and I am so glad to meet fellow bloggers from different niches enjoying ourselves throughout the trip.

Click Here if you wish to know more about the Casio Exilim ZR3500

Looking forward to the next trip.. 🙂

PS: I think this is the first time in my life to take so many selfies to test out the different conditions. But thanks to the beauty mode, the pictures look awesome.

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