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Casio announces new Exilim digital camera
(Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 05:31 EDT)

9AM ET: Alongside the announcement of the Exilim EX-Z4U digital camera covered in another news item, Casio Inc. will today announce two new non-zoom additions to the Exilim series of ultra-compact digital cameras in a "credit card" form factor.

The Casio Exilim EX-S20U and EX-M20U are updates to the existing EX-S2 and EX-M2 models, with several improvements and also a number of changes presumably aimed at reducing cost. Most immediately noticeable, the camera body has been reduced in size by about 10%, and Casio says power consumption improvements have extended battery life by 85%. The new models are also apparently faster than before, with startup time rated at 0.9 seconds, and shutter lag (since the lens is fixed focus) rated at an impressive 0.01 seconds.

Not all the changes are positive, though. When the EX-S2 and -M2 were announced, Casio noted that "[a] larger imaging pixel allows more precise color reproduction. The new EX-S2 and EX-M2 use a 2.0-mega-pixel progressive CCD that at 1/1.8 inches is a step larger than the industry standard of 1/2.7 inches". The EX-S20U and -M20U both revert to the smaller sensor size.

Since the sensor is smaller the lens has also been changed to keep the equivalent focal length roughly the same (37mm in the new cameras vs. 36mm in the old models). The new lens does bring one useful new feature though; where the old lens had a minimum focus distance of 30 inches, the new lens has a macro mode that focuses at just over 11 inches.

The new lens is not as bright (F3.5 fixed, vs. F3.2 fixed), and it will be interesting to see how Casio's programmers have managed to handle the attendant increase in noise that the smaller sensors and less bright lenses will bring. The company doesn't appears too worried - although they have reduced the maximum ISO rating from 640 to 500, they've actually quadrupled the longest exposure time (1 - 1/8000 second vs. 1/4 - 1/6400 on the old models),

The built-in flash memory has been reduced from 12MB to 10MB (SD / MMC memory expansion is still possible), 3x optical zoom lens, but a new 4.23 megapixel CCD image sensor. The EX-Z4U can now take exposures as long as 4 seconds and has a maximum ISO rating of 400 - the previous model was limited to just 1 second and ISO 200. The movie mode of the EX-Z3 seems to have been removed, and a new audio recording mode added in its place. The camera body seems to be almost identical to the EX-Z3 - the dimensions of the EX-Z4U are the same, and the weight is just a touch more.

Both cameras will ship in October. The Casio Exilim EX-S20U will have a price of $279.99, and the Casio Exilim EX-M20U will cost $329.99. Specifications courtesy of Casio follow; we've yet to receive any pictures of the cameras from Casio, and will update this item once they are available:

Casio Exilim EX-S20U Casio Exilim EX-M20U
Recording Element 1/2.7-inch square pixel primary color CCD (2.11 million total pixels; 2 million effective pixels)
Image File Record Format JPEG (Exif. Ver. 2.2), DCF standard, DPOF compliant
Recording Medium Built-in flash memory (10MB), SD memory card / Multi Media card
Recorded Image Sizes
Image Size (Pixels) Resolution Approx. File Size Approximate Memory Capacity (Images)
Built-in Memory (10MB) SD Memory Card* (64MB)
1600 x 1200 Fine 1050KB 8 53
Normal 710KB 12 79
Economy 370KB 24 154
1600 x 1072 Fine 910KB 9 60
Normal 610KB 14 90
Economy 300KB 28 176
1280 x 960 Fine 680KB 13 82
Normal 460KB 20 126
Economy 250KB 35 221
640 x 480 Fine 190KB 46 294
Normal 140KB 61 386
Economy 90KB 98 618
Music Player None MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3/MPEG-2 Audio Layer-3)
Voice Recording None WAV (approximately 4KB/second); approximately 40 minutes (built-in memory)
Image Deletion Single image; all images in memory (with memory protection)
Lens F3.5, f = 5.6mm (equivalent to 37mm in 35mm format)
Focusing Fixed focus with macro mode
Approximate Focus Range Normal: 31.5" to infinity; Macro: 11.8"
Zoom Digital 4X
Exposure Control
Metering: Multi-pattern by imaging element
Control: Program AE
Exposure Compensation: -2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Shutter CCD electronic shutter / mechanical shutter; 1 to 1/8000 shutter speed (including Night mode)
Aperture F3.5 (fixed)
White Balance Auto; Fixed (4 modes); Manual
Sensitivity Auto, ISO 64, ISO 125, ISO 250, ISO 500
Recording Modes Snapshot; Macro; Best Shot Snapshot; Macro; Best Shot; Audio Snapshot
Self-timer 10 seconds or 2 seconds; Triple Self-timer
Built-in Flash
Flash Modes: Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Red Eye Reduction
Approximate Range: 2.64 ft. to 4.92 ft.
Viewfinder Monitor screen and optical viewfinder
Monitor Screen 1.6-inch digital interface TFT color LCD (84,960 pixels; 354 x 240)
Playback Functions 4X zoom; rotate; flip; calendar; Photo Stand (slideshow); startup image; Image Roulette
Timekeeping Functions Date and time recorded with image data; auto calendar up to 2049
World Time 162 cities (32 time zones); city names; date and time; daylight savings time
Other Trimming; resize; histogram; album feature; Favorites folder; copy; customize key; alarm with image Trimming; resize; histogram; album feature; Favorites folder; copy; customize key; alarm with image; alarm with image / audio
Input / Output Terminals USB cradle contact terminals
Power Requirements Special lithium ion battery
Approximate Battery Operation Continuous Image Recording: 2 hours (720 shots)
Continuous Image Playback: 3 hours
Continuous Image Recording: 2 hours (720 shots)
Continuous Image Playback: 3 hours
Continuous MP3 Playback: 7.5 hours
Continuous Audio Recording: 2 hours 50 minutes (voice recording)
Dimensions 3.27” (W) x 2.08” (H) x .44” (T) (excluding projections)
Weight (excluding batteries and accessories) Approximately 2.78 oz Approximately 2.82 oz
Bundled Accessories Lithium-ion battery; USB Cradle; USB Cable; AC Adaptor; Strap; CD-ROM Lithium-ion battery; USB Cradle; USB Cable; AC Adaptor; Strap; CD-ROM; LCD Remote Controller / Stereo Earphones

Original Source Press Release:


EX-M20U comes with all of the same standard features as the EX-S20U plus a built-in microphone and speaker for recording and playback of voice recordings and audio snapshots

DOVER, NJ, AUGUST 27, 2003 – Casio, Inc., in conjunction with its parent company, Casio Computer Co., Ltd. today announced the latest additions to the EXILIM Series of compact card-size digital cameras with the new EX-S20U and EX-M20U.

EXILIM is the digital camera that has totally revolutionized digital imaging with a new design that makes it easy to enjoy the advantages of having your camera anywhere you go. The slim, trim card-size configuration and lightening-fast response of the EXILIM means that it is on hand and ready to let you capture those special moments whenever and wherever they happen. EXILIM continues to lead the way in the shift from film to compact and thin configurations in today's digital camera market.

The new EX-S20U and EX-M20U both exhibit the compact configuration that has made the EXILIM the camera of choice for personal digital imaging. They are more compact than previous models, without any sacrifice to function, and their stainless steel cases, which resist discoloration, are finished to a high gloss using Casio’s “Ex Fine Blast Treatment". The grip is made of strong, fine ceramic material that fits comfortably in the hand and adds an elegant touch to the overall design.

The EX-S20U will retail for $279.99 and the EX-M20U for $329.99. Both cameras will be available in October 2003.

“Because of it’s compact size, there is no reason to leave your camera at home,” said John Clough, president of Casio, Inc. Clough added that in addition to size, consumers will be impressed with the speed of the camera as well as its macro mode for great close-ups and a long lasting battery life. “These latest features and functions make the new EXILIM Series tops in their class”.

  • Mini card-size body that is more compact than ever before
    The EX-S20U and EX-M20U measure 3.27” wide, 2.08” high, and .44” thick, making them about 10% smaller than the previous EXILIM EX-S2. Not only does this compact configuration make portability easier, it also creates a refined look that fits in to any situation.
  • High-speed response takes the stress out of photography
    A startup time of about 0.9 seconds (flash off), a release time lag of about 0.01 seconds, and an interval between shots of about one second all mean that those special moments won’t be missed while waiting for your camera to turn on. These new models also feature high-speed playback image scrolling that operates at a speed of about 0.1 seconds per image.
  • Low power design brings marked improvement to battery life
    The battery life of these cameras has been extended by 85% over previous models, thanks to a new low-power design.
  • Macro mode in a card size camera
    CASIO original technology was applied to design a new lens that makes it possible to enjoy macro mode imaging in a thin, card-size package. This new lens, which also features an automatic lens cover, allows close-up photos to be taken from as little as 30cm away, making the EX-S20U and EX-M20U the first fixed-focus EXILIM models to be equipped with macro capabilities.

In addition to the standard features of the EX-S20U, the EX-M20U comes with a built-in microphone and speaker for recording and playback of voice recordings and audio snapshots.


Although the thickness of these new models remains the same (.44”) as the EX-S2, Stack MCM (Multi-Chip Module) chip mounting has made it possible to reduce the surface area of these models by about 10% over previous models.

  • High-speed startup has the camera ready to shoot about 0.9 seconds after power on (when built-in flash is turned off).
  • A release time lag of only 0.01 seconds (monitor screen and flash off) means that an image starts to be recorded virtually as soon as you press the shutter release button.
  • The camera is ready to shoot again in only about one second after you record an image (when built-in flash is turned off).
  • High-speed playback scrolls at a speed of about 0.1 seconds per image, making image searches quicker and easier.
  • The Macro mode lets you move in up to 11.8” for close-ups, perfect for shots of A4 size documents.
  • A lens cover protects the lens from impact and dust by opening and closing whenever the camera is turned on and off.
  • Extended battery performance gives approximately 85% longer continuous recording than the previous models (EX-S20U / EX-M20U allow approximately two hours of continuous recording).
  • A 2-megapixel CCD combines with a new noise reduction process for outstanding image quality, especially when shooting at night.
  • The Best Shot mode provides access to 15 pre-installed camera setups in an instant. Simply select the sample scene that is similar to the image you want to record, and the camera’s exposure compensation, white balance, and other settings are configured automatically.
  • Photo Stand feature lets you view a slideshow of images with the camera on its cradle.
  • Full-month calendar screen shows a thumbnail of the first image recorded on each date.
  • World Time lets you select one of 162 cities in 32 time zones around the world as your home time. When traveling to another time zone, simply select the applicable city, and time and date settings are adjusted automatically.
  • An alarm function sounds an alarm and displays a specified image at a preset time. With the EX-M20U, you can also include a voice message for playback at the alarm time.
  • Triple Self-timer records three consecutive images, so you can select and keep the best one.
  • Images are stored in a Web browser-viewable format that allows you to browse images in an album on your computer screen.
  • 10MB of Flash memory comes built in, and a card slot supports use of an SD memory card or MMC (memory card not included).
  • A Favorites folder stores your favorite or private images so they are not displayed during normal playback.
  • Simply press the cradle's USB button for automatic transfer of images to a computer.
  • Complies with ExifPrint (Exif 2.2) and PRINT Image Matching II.
  • Complies with Epson USB DIRECT-PRINT, so you can print directly on a USB DIRECT-PRINT printer* without using a computer.
    *For further information about "USB Direct-Print" compatible printers, please contact Regional Epson Sales Companies.
  • MP3 file playback, voice recording, audio snapshots (EX-M20U only)
  • Selectable sounds for start up, shutter release and other functions (EX-M20U only)

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