The Casio TRYX: The First Hybrid Camera to Finally Get it Right
Remember when we first told you about the TRYX during CES? Back in January, the folks at Casio were kind enough to show us an early prototype-not a fully functional prototype, but more than enough to whet our appetites and show us the potential this hybrid camera had. The trouble with most hybrid cameras (cameras that shoot both stills and video) is that they usually perform one task much better than the other, making them more suited to a specific task, while the second task gets the “well yeah…it can do that too if you really need it to” treatment. So when Casio sent us the final production version of the TRYX, the natural question became: “Was this truly a camera that would satisfy as both a still shooter and HD camcorder, or just another Jack of all trades, and master of none?” Read on, and discover why the Casio TRYX may finally be the only camera you need to carry…
Let’s start with the obvious: The TRYX is one incredibly cool looking camera; even if the image quality were just “average” the design alone would be enough to pull in customers. But before I get ahead of myself with the design, let’s talk about about what exactly the TRYX is…
Casio designed the TRYX to be a single camera that would satisfy as both a high-quality point and shoot, as well as a full 1080p HD camcorder; and though YourTechReport tries not bury its readers in specs, there are certain numbers that would have to be met in order for Casio to pull this off. Case in point: The TRYX is equipped with a 12.1 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor. Why should you care? Because if you’re planning on using the TRYX as your daily still camera, (which you easily could) you’ll need the 12.1 megapixel sensor to give you the picture size necessary for blowing up large shots and/or cropping your photos. Why the CMOS back-illuminated sensor? Light sensitivity; CMOS sensors are almost mandatory these days for getting quality indoor images with limited noise or distortion–this is especially important with the TRYX, since it uses an atypical flash (more on that later).
Another must these days? A proper screen–and the TRYX has you covered there as well. The TRYX sports a full 3″ display. Now this not may sound like a big deal, since most of our phone screens would dwarf this; but if you’ve been shooting with a camera with a smaller screen, you’ll immediately see the difference. The display is also touch enabled–in fact, it’s multitouch enabled, letting you use many of the gestures (pinch to zoom, swiping) you’re used to using on other mobile devices. While this may seem a bit gimmicky on paper, it’s incredibly useful–especially when cycling through the photos you’ve taken. On the video side, I’ve already given you the most important number: Full 1080p HD. While many cameras and camcorders record at 720p or 1080i, the TRYX gives you true, full HD…and the quality is obvious.
Some more subtle numbers also yield some big results. The TRYX comes with an embedded 21mm lens. This ultra-wide angle lens means not having to stand 20 feet back in order to get that family portrait; it also makes self portraits (something the TRYX excels at) much easier for those not blessed with 6 foot long arms. The last spec I’ll leave you with for now is the dual core processor the TRYX has. This dual core processor allows functions to happen faster, since the processor can multitask–and is a huge help in getting your TRYX ready for its next shot more quickly. This addresses the one issue I’ve had with Casio cameras in the past, where putting the camera in Premium Auto mode resulted in lag time between snapping pictures–thanks to the dual core processor, the TRYX has no such lag. Ok…enough with the specs; have you seen how cool this thing looks?
The Casio TRYX (pronounced “Tricks”) is a beautiful piece of engineering; it’s ultra thin (at a little over .5″ thick), compact (4.8″x2.3″) and very light at just a shade under 5.5 oz. At first glance, you might think the TRYX is just your run-of-the-mill compact point and shoot–but then you unfold the frame…
The TRYX is surrounded by a lightweight frame that unfolds and rotates a full 360 degrees, allowing it to be held and positioned in multiple ways. Want to hold the TRYX like a traditional camcorder? Flip the frame open 90 degrees, and you can; feel like holding it vertically? Continue folding out the frame to 180 degrees, and the camera can now be held vertically, with the camera on either the bottom or the top. The TRYX also has an “orientation sensor” that recognizes how it’s being held, and adjusts the screen accordingly. But the fun doesn’t end there–the screen on the TRYX also rotates, (270 degrees) giving you an endless number of shooting options. Thanks to its open-frame design, the TRYX can be hung on hooks or doorknobs, and even uses its frame as a stand, giving users the option of not even having to hold the camera in order to get their shots.
It only takes a few minutes with this camera to realize that it was built to have fun. Taking self portraits is facilitated but not only the rotating screen and frame, but specific face recognition for this mode that makes it easier to capture the photo. When in self-portrait mode (with the screen rotated 180 degrees), the user can use the touch interface to select the length of the count down. Motion shutter is another feature the TRYX has that lets everyone be in the picture; instead of using a traditional count down, the shutter is activate by someone in the picture waving–you can even pre-set the TRYX to know exactly where to look for the motion, so that random movements don’t set off the camera.
There are other cool tricks this camera has up its sleeve for those looking to get a bit more artsy; HDR-Art Imaging takes multiple photos at once to give a “painted” look to your pics, and the TRYX also has a 240fps mode to give your videos that super-slo-mo effect. Fans of social networks will be happy to know that the TRYX also has built-in Casio Connection software that once installed, facilitates uploading your photos to your favorite sites.These features may not be selling points for most, but certainly add to the fun of using the TRYX, and offer different ways to use this unique camera.
What about the picture and video quality? In a word, excellent. The TRYX more than keeps up with more expensive point and shoots in its imaging, with clean, crisp images and consistently sharp pictures–no small feat for a camera that’s auto-focus only. Video quality is equally strong, and the HDMI output on the TRYX lets you see just how good your video looks when shown on your big screen.
I’ve spent so much time telling you what this camera does, that I didn’t really tell you the most important thing–how it feels. In short, the TRYX is a tremendous amount of fun to use, and guaranteed to draw a crowd. Taking traditional skills is fast and easy, and the multitouch screen makes navigating its color-coded menus a breeze. The simplified interface (the TRYX has only 2 buttons) maps the camera shutter to one of the buttons, and video is started by a touching a red icon on the screen. The camera does have a zoom (1x optical and 2x digital), but I was having so much fun finding different angles to shoot from, I barely even used it; the frame also proved to be comfortable to hold during long sessions, and offered a variety of grip options that I’m still experimenting with. The TRYX’s size proved to be incredibly portable, and thanks to the rotating screen, you can rest it on a table without having to worry about scratching either the lens or the screen.
Interestingly enough, the one issue I had with the TRYX is already being addressed by Casio in a soon-to-be-released firmware update. Instead of a traditional flash, the TRYX uses an LED light that you can either turn on or off–it’s basically a fill light, as opposed to a light that strobes for the shutter. Casio has told us that this firmware update will allow the LED light to trigger during pictures, eliminating the need to go into the menu and turn the flash off manually. Thank you, Casio.
Before we finish, I want to remind you of something that I often remind my editors of: If you’re going to compare the TRYX to a high-priced DSLR or 3 chip HD prosumer video camera, you’re not only doing this product a disservice, you’re also missing the boat. The TRYX was not meant to replace a high-end Nikon or Canon, nor was it meant to compete with a Sony studio camera–it was meant to take the best qualities of a high-end point and shoot and portable camcorder, and merge them into one incredible fun and portable device. Did Casio achieve what it set out to do? I think once you realize that you’re smiling behind the camera as much as the people you’re taking pictures of are, you’ll have your answer.