Why Casio TR is the craziest camera on earth {review}

In case you haven’t heard of this camera, allow me to load you with some. This is the 5th generation Casio TR 50, a compact camera whose all predecessors have been selling very well ever since Casio decided to drop this camera from the US/Europe market and focus on Asia. Its primarily a COMPACT camera using 1/1.7 (previously 1/2.33) whose market segment have been killed by mobile phones…except the Casio TR found a niche market and capitalized on it. This is arguably the most successful compact camera ever sold in both value and numbers in the last 3 years. Its the 5th generation now and they just launched the recent TR 60 at over USD 1100. Why is it so popular over here? Because its the ultimate selfie camera…for the ladies. Period. Apparently Casio R&D decides that for selfie portraits a 21mm lens is the ultimate focal length. This is where neither Iphone nor Samsung gets it. At arms length you can take photos that : 1. Includes half your body 2. Optically SLIMS you down As a serious enthusiast i have never bothered myself with this camera, i have always considered it a scam, a junk camera only for the bimbos. But when they released the TR 60 and since i have now heavily invested my time in an amazing fashion app “Shoppr”, i decided to buy it just so i can criticize it all i want. If you think Casio is just silly, take a look at Sony’s selfie camera also priced below USD 1000. Apparently this is Casio’s TR official competitor and this just proves market fitness for such a product that Sony decides it wants a pie of it too. Priced slightly below Casio TR, the KW-11 comes with real rose gold and the latest sony Exmor RS sensor. Whats my take on it? Technically after using it for a week. My impression timeline of it is :

  • Initial 3 days, scratching my head. buyers remorse. feeling stupid.
  • 4th and 5th day, felt like selling it off
  • 6th and now. I begin to understand and i am keeping it

I going to tell you my reasons why i am keeping this camera by showing you a short illustration. But before that let me just list down some of the real technical plus points.

  • 21mm f2.8 – its a very good aperture for this focal length. The need to focus quickly and get things into this slim size means you can’t have a too big aperture. There is no cheap 21 mm lens.
  • Aspherical lens – this means it has good lens design.
  • Electronic shutter that goes all the way to 1/16000.
  • It starts up very very fast.
  • It comes with a built in tripod (no joke)

The Illustration Now Elaine came by to Kuala Lumpur to attend a launch. She is a popular internet idol here in malaysia with over 400k fans on her facebook alone. Obviously she has done a lot of photoshoot  with me and other photographers. To illustrate my point here, i will show you 2 photographs taken by really good gears and dslrs and the response of the fans/public on the likes count and sharing of the images.

IMG_1455
4.3k likes, 2 shares.

Above is a beautiful photograph taken by Kin Wei, who is a passionate hobbyist in taking portraits. Notice the nice colors, bokeh and editing on her skin tone. nice! 4.3k likes, 2 shares.

IMG_1456
5k likes, 2 shares

This is a photo taken by Tze Leong, an experienced photographer that have keen passion in model portraiture like me. The image above has beautiful framing, colors and bokeh. 5k likes, 2 shares.

IMG_1457
7.8k likes, 89 comments, 28 shares!

This is just a selfie shot taken by Elaine using my Casio TR 50 by herself and i selected this photo when she asked me which one i think is good. Notice how the likes, comments and shares exceeds any of the other photos taken in better gears and sensors. Although a photo should never be judged by likes alone, i can’t deny the fact that voluntary likes and participation of the public on the image serves as a kind of measurement for the impact the image have on the audience. In this case, it demonstrates the TR capability to do what it does best, selfies. Here are some i took using the TR without using any Photoshop on its output. IMG_1432 IMG_1437 IMG_1452 IMG_1434 Conclusion The Casio TR is an overpriced camera at an initial glance. However, i find that its a very capable camera that opens up a lot of mobility and creative angles for seasoned photographers. 21mm is a beautiful focal length that can be used in almost any kind of shoot, esp on such a small sensor and it can focus so close. I find that using a camera with a built in tripod, jpeg only mode and cool apps such as VSCO for post processing a really refreshing approach and challenge to my photography. I stare for sometime at my noctilux in my drybox as i look at some pictures taken of my family. There are very few photos that i took with my family whereby i am inside the photos, given that i am always holding the camera. The thought that TR indeed made it convenient for me to take such photos, is priceless.

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