Casio EX-FH100 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Casio Cameras i Express Review
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
Resolution: 10.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3"
Lens: 10.00x zoom
(24-240mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 100-3200
Shutter: 30-1/40000
Max Aperture: 3.2
Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.5 x 1.2 in.
(105 x 63 x 30 mm)
Weight: 7.9 oz (225 g)
includes batteries
MSRP: $350
Availability: 05/2010
Manufacturer: Casio
Full specs: Casio EX-FH100 specifications
10.10
Megapixels
10.00x zoom
1/2.3"
size sensor
image of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
Front side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera Back side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera Top side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera Left side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera Right side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera
Imaging Resource rating

4.0 out of 5.0

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
Overview

by Greg Scoblete and Stephanie Boozer
Review Date: 08/10/2010

The compact Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 is based around a 10.1-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS image sensor and an EXILIM Optical branded 10x zoom lens which features a generous 24mm wide-angle. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.2 to f/5.7 across the zoom range, and focusing is possible to a minimum of just seven centimeters in Macro mode. The choice of a backside illuminated sensor allows an increase in image sensitivity, and the Casio FH100 boasts a maximum of ISO 3,200 equivalent. The Casio EXILIM FH100 uses contrast detection autofocusing, and include face detection capability. Metering choices are multi-pattern, center weighted, and spot, and shutter speeds from 30 to 1/40,000 second (!) are on offer.

The Casio EX-FH100 also offers plenty of processing power and the speed it brings, able to shoot 40 frames per second at almost full resolution (9-megapixels) for thirty frames, as well as offering reduced rates of 30, 15, 10, 7, 5, 3, or 1 frames per second. The Casio FH100 also offers several other clever modes that take advantage of the camera's speed. The FH100 can pre-capture images while the shutter button is half-pressed, and then save up to the 30 most recent frames from immediately before the shutter button was pressed. A Lag Correction mode allows you to specify a time between the time you wanted the photo taken, and the time that the shutter button is pressed--and then the camera reaches back into its buffer and automatically saves the nearest image to that moment. A High Speed Best Selection mode, meanwhile, will automatically choose the ideal photo from a burst--judging images based on the amount of blurring, and whether your subject is blinking or smiling.

A new High-Speed Lighting mode captures three images with varying exposure, and then combines them in-camera into a single image with increased dynamic range. Finally, High-Speed Anti-Shake, High-Speed Portrait, and High-Speed Night Scene modes combine multiple high-speed shots that prevent blurring, resulting in one final image with proper exposure, a mode that Casio feels will allow for great low-light shots without a tripod. Better still, the Casio EX-FH100 also includes a sensor-shift mechanism, providing true mechanical image stabilization!

The speed advantage of the Casio FH100 isn't just felt in still image mode, either. In movie mode, the Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 can capture high-definition 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) video at 30 frames per second. It's also possible to opt for higher frame rates of 240, 420, or even 1,000 frames per second at reduced resolution, and even to switch the framerate from 30fps to 240fps during the recording of a movie. There's a dedicated button for movie recording, and the Casio EX-FH100 includes a stereo microphone.

A 3.0-inch LCD display with 230,400 dot resolution offers the Casio EX-FH100's only option for framing and reviewing images, as there's no optical viewfinder on this model. The Casio EX-FH100 records images on SD / SDHC cards or 89.5MB of built-in memory, and offers USB 2.0 High Speed data and both standard composite / high definition HDMI video connectivity. Power comes from a proprietary NP-90 lithium-ion battery.

Available as of May 2010, the Casio EX-FH100 has a suggested retail price of US$350.

 

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100
User Report

by Greg Scoblete

The Exilim EX-FH100 is a member of Casio's family of "high speed" Exilims, capable of firing off a maximum of 30 frames in a 3/4 second, 40 frames per second (fps) burst. It packs a 10-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor with a 3-inch LCD screen, a 10x optical zoom wide-angle lens, HD video recording and a generous assortment of Best Shot scene modes.

The Casio FH100 is definitely geared toward the enthusiast shooter, and not just because of its $349 price tag. You'll find several advanced goodies such as aperture and shutter priority, a manual mode, RAW file support (the DNG format) and manual focusing. But the highlight of the Casio FH100 is undoubtedly the multiple creative opportunities afforded by its high speed capability for both still photos and videos.

Look and Feel: Casio went for a refined look with the EX-FH100, with a black body and a lens barrel rimmed with the thin line of gold trim. The design is nevertheless modest and understated, a welcome contrast to some of the more garish pink and green digicams populating the market.

The Casio FH100 weighs in at 7.94 ounces (225g) with battery and memory card, so it has some heft to it (not surprising, considering the 10x optical zoom it houses). Overall, it has a nice, sturdy feel. To the left of the lens barrel, the FH100's body gently protrudes to provide right-handed shooters a more secure grip for one handed operation. Depending on how you're holding it (or how large your fingers are) you could obscure a portion of the flash with your middle finger, as the flash sits right above the hand grip. It's something you'll need to be mindful of when shooting.

Measuring 4.1 x 2.5 x 1.2-inches, the Casio FH100 is quite pocketable for a long-zoom.

Controls: Atop the Casio FH100 you'll find the Power switch, zoom level/shutter button, a High-speed button for putting the FH100 into continuous shooting mode, and a Mode dial for access to Best Shot (identified by its unfortunate abbreviation BS), Auto, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual modes. When High-speed mode is engaged, a small yellow LED lights up (you'll also be alerted on the display). While the Power button and High-speed buttons sit relatively flush with the camera body, they're very responsive. The power button is a bit on the small side, though.

On the back of the Casio FH100, the remainder of the controls congregate to the right of the camera's large 3-inch display. Casio included a dedicated record button for video shooting, plus a control to switch to select between high speed filming (i.e. slow motion) and standard video recording. You can jump directly into video recording just by hitting the video button--quite convenient.

Below the video controls is a Record button for turning the camera on but not off--at least, not at default. You can program the button to also turn the camera off. I'm not sure why you'd need a second on/off button--it's taking up valuable real-estate--but it's there if the Power button atop the camera isn't working for you. Next up is a four-way controller. Push it up, and you can add and remove camera details from the display. Push it down, and the Casio FH100 will bring up an on-screen menu for adjusting the flash, date and time, exposure, white balance, ISO and image resolution (when in aperture/shutter priority or manual this menu screen will also let you set shutter speed and aperture). The left/right button can be programmed in the camera to access either focusing, metering, self-timer, face detection, ISO, white balance, and exposure. It's very nice to have the option to set custom functions, but you can't program both the left and the right keys, which seems like a rather arbitrary limitation--why not allow left and right to be customized?

Underneath the four-way controller are buttons for Playback and Menu. Overall, the controls are well-situated and responsive.

Lens: The Casio FH100 boasts a 10x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 24-240mm (35mm, equivalent)--so you'll enjoy a nice wide-angle to good telephoto range while shooting. Image stabilization is achieved via a sensor-shifting mechanism which seemed quite effect at keeping things steady.

The lens contains 11 elements in 10 groups with an aspherical element, and offers a maximum aperture range of f/3.2 to f/5.7. On the focusing front, you'll get your choice of auto focus (contrast detection), macro (2.8-19.7 inches), infinity, and manual.

Wide zoom. 24mm to 240mm equivalent.

When you select manual focus, the Casio FH100 will provide an ultra close-up of a portion of the scene on the display, while you tweak your focus using the left/right control on the four-way controller. It wasn't a particularly easy way to focus manually. The image on the display was often grainy. You can make out details sufficient to focus but it's not ideal.

You can also choose from one of four AF area options: spot, multi, free, and tracking. Free lets you choose the AF point with a cross-grid, which you move via the four-way controller to your desired AF point. You'll also have an AF assist light, which can be turned on or off in the Casio FH100's menu.

The lens itself is quite noisy, you'll hear it cranking loudly during manual focus or while adjusting settings (such as jumping in and out of high-speed continuous shooting).

Modes: The Casio FH100 offers 25 scene modes (which Casio calls "Best Shot"). You'll find the typical assortment--landscape, portrait, fireworks, flower, etc. But the real story is the Casio FH100's continuous shooting modes. There are several, and all are anchored around the camera's ability to snap up to 30 images in a single burst. That's 30, 9-megapixel images at a clip. Pretty stunning stuff, and the camera uses this speed in a variety of settings.

29 shots. Somehow we got only 29 9-megapixel shots in this series, but it's easy to see from the animation above of a series with wiggly kids that the Casio FH100 makes it more likely that you'll get a shot with everyone's eyes open and pointing the right direction.

High Speed Continuous Shooting: The basic high speed mode is the one you enter Casio FH100 the dedicated button atop the camera. You have three choices for dealing with the 30 images the Casio FH100 records. The first, and most straightforward, is the "batch save" which saves all the images to your memory card. The second option, dubbed "select and save" will almost immediately play back the 30 frames you've just snapped. If you like one, hit the shutter and save it. Hit the menu button and you can still save all, save the ones you've selected or jump back and start all over again. You can also pause the playback of the thirty images or go back and forth through the images to ensure you've found the first shot. If you're unhappy with everything, hit "cancel save" and delete all the images from the burst.

When in high speed, you can tweak several camera settings. Using an on-screen menu you can adjust the frame rate from Auto to 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 30, or 40 fps. Regardless of what you pick, the Casio FH100's burst mode will top out at 30 images. You can also adjust exposure, set white balance, ISO, and choose an image resolution (either 9-,7-,4-, 2-megapixels, or VGA resolution). Something to keep in mind: if you change the image size while in continuous shooting mode, it will stay that way even if you enter into the various Best Shot scene modes. This isn't true for other settings, such as white balance, which change according to the Best Shot mode. Probably best to keep it at 9 megapixels and forget about it.

You can also set a "pre-record" function, which enables the Casio FH100 to capture a user-selected number of images before you fully hit the shutter in high speed mode, with the remainder captured after the fact. This tweak is useful, although I found when trying to use the high-speed burst that my problem was actually the opposite: I hit the shutter too soon, not too late.

High speed continuous burst is a feature well suited for a number of photo scenarios, particularly sports and some nature photography, but it is not without its limitations. First, while the camera can rapidly snap 30 frames, if you opt to batch save, it takes the Casio FH100 a while to process them and resume shooting. I started shooting on the Casio FH100 with a Class 4 SDHC card (with a minimum read/write speed of 32Mbit/s) and waited for what seemed like an eternity for the Casio FH100 to save the images it had collected (it's actually about seven seconds). After swapping out the card for a speedier Class 6 card, I still waited several seconds for the Casio FH100 to save the images before resuming shooting. I even dropped the resolution down from 9-megapixels to 2-megapixels but didn't see a noticeable increase in processing speed.

All of this is to say that if you miss your moment, you'll have to wait awhile to take a second crack at it. That goes double for the other reviewing options, where you'll spend time reviewing and saving.

It's also worth noting that while blasting off 30 images can produce some really cool effects (or help you isolate the "perfect" shot), it also leaves you with a lot of images to sort through--either in the camera or on your computer. This is particularly important to keep in mind if you choose to batch save and sort out your photos on your computer later. Unless you have an abundance of leisure time, the speedy burst mode can slow you down on the back end.

Multi-motion. Depending on the speed of your subject, you get a pile of images, or a spread of individual images. It's important to keep the camera fairly stable, or else the program won't be able to distinguish the background from the moving object.

Multi Motion Image: The nice thing about the Casio FH100's high-speed capabilities is that they're deployed in a variety of different features, especially in the camera's selection of Best Shot scene modes. If you don't want to shoot the full on 30 image burst, a "moving image" mode will take a rapid burst of pictures and then create a single composite image that shows the full range of motion that was recorded by the camera. You should really only use this feature to track motion moving across the frame from right to left or vice versa (say a pitcher throwing a ball or a child kicking a soccer ball). If you try to capture motion moving toward or away from the lens in this mode, the result is a blurred mess (or a trippy effect, your mileage may vary).

As it is, it takes a little playing around with to get the feel for the timing, and, like the continuous shooting mode, it will take the camera some time to process the photos it has taken and create the single image, but the effect is worth the wait. You'll have to hold the Casio FH100 quite still for the multi-motion image function to work, otherwise you'll get an error message warning that the background has changed or the camera shook too much.

There are several other iterations of Best Shot continuous shooting mode for expression, baby, child, pet, sports, which purport to optimize for the particulars of each scene, but in my experience don't produce major differences.

Auto mode
f/4.8, 1/30 second, ISO 3,200
High-speed Night Scene
f/4.8, 1/8 second, ISO 640

High-speed Night Scene mode is a Best Shot mode that layers several low-ISO images over top of each other to make a smoother image than you'd otherwise get from a higher ISO setting. At right you can see two images, one shot at f/4.8, 1/30, ISO 3,200 in Auto mode, and the other at f/4.8, 1/8 second, at ISO 640 in High-speed Night Scene mode. Detail is indeed better in the multi-shot High-speed Night Scene mode, as is color. In this case, exposure is a little better with the ISO 3,200 shot, but results will vary depending on the scene. Just like all multi-shot modes on the Casio FH100, the High-speed Night Scene images are also cropped from the full-size 3,648 x 2,736 down to 3,456 x 2,592, or 9-megapixels.

720p. Standard HD movie mode at 30fps.

HD Video: The Casio FH100 offers 1,280 x 720p HD video recording at 30fps. The video quality is quite sharp for a point-and-shoot. You'll notice some noise indoors or in lower light, but outdoors the colors popped and motion was relatively smooth and unpixelated. It's as good as you can ask for in a compact digicam. One issue, however, is how the Casio FH100 handles the display. It has a nice, large 3-inch LCD but it's not in a wide-angle aspect ratio. That's a good thing in my view, but to give you a sense of what the camera is actually recording while filming HD videos, the Casio FH100 will faintly block out the top and bottom of the display--the trouble is, it's a bit too faint. A few times when I wasn't paying close attention, I cropped out some heads. That's a pretty big no-no, especially when the heads concerned belong to family members.

One nice touch on the video side is the inclusion of a stereo microphone for audio recording--you'll get much richer sound from the Casio FH100 than from digicams sporting a weak mono mic. Another big plus, and a rarity on a compact camera, is the ability to set shutter speed and aperture for video shooting.

All that's missing, and it's a big drawback, is the ability to zoom while filming. Given how noisy the zoom is, it's probably better that it doesn't move lest it swamp the microphone. There is an HDMI output, but the cable is not included. If you want to pass on HD shooting, the Casio FH100 also offers a VGA/30fps video mode as well.

1,000 fps. While 1,000 fps is extremely cool, its uses are limited and the resulting frame size is very small.

High Speed Video: In addition to HD movies, the Casio FH100 offers several fast frame rate options for slow motion video. The fastest is a 1,000 fps mode, which delivers ultra-slow-motion footage. Don't even bother with 1,000 fps indoors, it's difficult to get the ambient light necessary to bring out any detail. Full sun works best. The video itself is so low resolution, at 224 x 64 pixels, that it's difficult to justify using it, even if it delivers very smooth slow motion for your Chariots-of-Fire-style finish-line crossings. Once the novelty wears off, however, there's not much use for such super-low-resolution footage.

420 fps. Considerably more useful.

I liked the 420 fps mode better. Unlike the 1,000 fps mode, 420 fps offers slightly higher resolution of 224 x 168, plus the video is better exposed. In addition to those two high speed movie modes, the Casio FH100 also offers options for a VGA resolution slow motion movies at 120 fps. Again, the motion isn't as minute as it is at 1,000 fps, but the video quality is actually good enough to discern details. Like the high-speed continuous shooting option, slow motion movies are still rather rare (even among much higher-priced digital camcorders) and afford a nice opportunity for some creative movie making.

YouTube Mode: There is also Casio's YouTube Best Shot mode which purports to streamline the process of recording and uploading videos to the popular video site. The mode works by capping your video recording time to 4:40, though you'll still enjoy high definition 1,280 x 720 at 30fps recording (which is now supported by YouTube). It will also save these YouTube videos in a distinct folder on the memory card, apart from the rest of the Casio FH100's video files. The YouTube Best Shot mode works in tandem with included YouTube Uploader desktop software. The software allows you to register your YouTube account and automatically opens whenever it detects new videos on a memory card. Within the software you can designate the video title, description, add tags and categories, and indicate privacy settings. At startup, the Uploader software will look in the folder of your memory card where YouTube mode videos are saved, but a drop-down menu lets you access the other videos you happened to record with the Casio FH100 in the event you want to upload those as well.

Snaps. In addition to all those fancy modes, the Casio FH100 does well as a regular camera too.

The YouTube video mode is somewhat extraneous--it does prevent you from recording beyond the maximum file size that YouTube permits, but how many people record that long with their digital cameras anyway? The Uploader software, however, is pretty convenient--it's functional, if bare bones, and streamlines the process of getting your must-see movies online. With YouTube uploading supported by other freebie imaging programs like Google's Picasa, it's not the selling point it once was for Casio.

There is one thing that the YouTube mode has going for it: it provides dark letterbox bars across the top and bottom of your frame, making it much easier to frame your widescreen films. Why this wasn't replicated for the other video modes is something of a mystery.

Custom Best Shot: Another useful aspect of the Best Shot mode is the ability to create your own customized Scene mode. Actually, make that Scene "modes." The Casio FH100 can store a whopping 999 user-created BS modes. Good luck thinking up that many setting combinations. Variety aside, setting up a custom Scene mode is quite straightforward: simply take a photo with your preferred image settings and then choose the Register User Scene option in the BS scene selector--you'll be able to locate your photo and the camera will save those settings. After that, your custom mode will be represented on the BS selector with a thumbnail of your template image.

Simple enough. But there's no way to actually name your custom Scene modes--as you add more, Casio simply calls them U1, U2, U3, etc. beneath the representative snapshot. I'd have difficulty remembering 20 of these, let alone 999.

Menu: The Casio FH100's menu is divided into three tabs--Record, Quality, and Set Up--and is painless to navigate. At any time you can jump back into shooting by pressing the Shutter button. There's plenty of room for readable text on the 3-inch display. You'll use the menu to make adjustments to Color filters, Sharpness, Saturation, Contrast, Focus, Anti-shake, AF area, etc., along with the basic camera settings like Date/time.

When in the Best Shot scene selector, you have the option of accessing a short description of the mode's function by zooming in. You zoom back out to jump back into the Casio FH100's main BS menu. A more elegant solution would to simply display that text as you highlight the individual modes, but it's better than nothing.

Storage and Battery: The Casio FH100 comes with 85.9MB of internal memory and an SDHC card slot (no support, alas, for the higher capacity SDXC card). The Casio FH100 is an Eye-Fi-Connected camera, so owners of that wireless SD card will get a few extra perks, such as the ability to disable the Eye-Fi card's wireless radio to conserve battery life, and the option to override the camera's automatic shut-off until image transfers are complete. The camera will recognize an Eye-Fi card once inserted, and adjustments can be made in the menu.

There's even better news on the battery front. The Casio FH100 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NP-90) that's rated by CIPA as good for 520 shots or a little over three hours of movie recording. That's a real workhorse battery and a big plus in the Casio FH100's favor.

Bokeh. Reasonably nice bokeh at telephoto.

Shooting: The Casio FH100 is just plain fun to experiment with, and you'll need to experiment to really get a feel for its continuous shooting options. With access to so many intriguing iterations of high-speed continuous shooting, its difficult to fall back on auto--although the auto mode works well for the basics.

You'll view the world through a large 3-inch LCD. Unfortunately you can't adjust the display's brightness, but it's viewable even in brighter light. While it boasts a rapid burst, it's not the fastest camera on the block when it comes to start up time, taking 4.3 seconds while it buzzes and whirrs. Autofocus is pretty fast for the category, though, measuring 0.37 second at both wide and telephoto. The menu/external controls are well conceived, so you can pop in and out of the camera's settings to make adjustments fairly briskly. I did get tripped up a few times with the resolution setting--after dropping it down in burst mode, it didn't reset to 10-megapixels as I wandered through the Best Shots. The other trip up, as mentioned before, is the finger over the flash. It won't obscure the entirety of the flash by any means, but it's another thing to keep in mind during the course of use.

Portrait mode worked well for this shot.

Initially, I found the noise of the camera a bit distracting--it sounds like the inside of a old fashioned watch factory (or what I'd imagine a watch factory to sound like, having never been inside a real one). After a few days, you learn to tune it out. Functionally, the camera handles well once you know how to work around a few of the limitations.

Playback: Jump into Playback and you'll find a decent allotment of editing and playback options. You can view images in a slideshow with the ability to set the interval, transition effect, and duration of the show, in addition to designating which images you want (so you can exclude photos taken in continuous shooting mode or choose to view only videos). There's a motion print option, which lets you select nine frames or one frame to isolate and print an image from a video.

Image editing options include the ability to adjust white balance, brightness, and resize photos to 5- and 3-megapixels or VGA resolution images.

On the movie side, you'll find a very basic clipping function--you can lop off the beginning, middle, or end of your video in-camera. Pretty basic, but still some welcome functionality for a compact.

 

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 Lens Quality


Wide: Sharp at center
Wide: Quite soft, lower right
Tele: Soft at center
Tele: Softer, upper left corner

Sharpness: The wide-angle end of the Casio EXILIM EX-FH100's zoom is quite soft in the corners of the frame, and blurring extends a noticeable distance in toward center. At telephoto, all four corners are fairly soft, though not much softer than the center of the frame.


JPEG
Wide: No perceptible distortion.
Tele: Mild pincushion, barely noticeable.
Uncorrected RAW
Wide: Strong barrel distortion.
Tele: Moderate pincushion distortion.

Geometric Distortion: There is no perceptible distortion at wide-angle, and very little pincushion distortion (0.2%) at telephoto. No doubt, with the help of some clever processing.

Not surprisingly, uncorrected RAW files showed higher amounts of geometric distortion. We measured 2.8% barrel distortion at wide-angle, and 0.5% pincushion at telephoto. RAW converters that fully support the Casio EX-FH100 should correct for this distortion automatically, though Adobe Camera Raw doesn't appear to.


JPEG
Uncorrected RAW
Wide:
Moderately high, bright
Tele:
Moderate and bright
Wide:
High, bright
Tele:
High, bright

Chromatic Aberration: Chromatic aberration at wide-angle and telephoto is moderately high in terms of pixel count, with very bright green and magenta/red pixels of distortion visible along the target lines.

Uncorrected RAW files have higher amounts of chromatic aberration, so it appears the camera is removing some of the fringing in JPEG files.


Macro
Macro with Flash

Macro: The Casio EXILIM EX-FH100's Macro mode captures a sharp image with good detail and only a moderate level of blurring in the corners. Minimum coverage area is 2.97 x 2.23 inches (76 x 57mm). The camera's flash overexposed almost the entire frame, except for a dark shadow in the lower left corner. Thus, the EX-FH100's flash won't be a good option for macro shots this close.


 

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 Viewfinder Accuracy


Wide: LCD Monitor
Tele: LCD Monitor

Viewfinder Accuracy: The Casio EXILIM EX-FH100's LCD monitor showed just over 99% coverage accuracy at both the wide-angle and telephoto ends of the zoom. The image is shifted slightly, though. Fairly good results here, especially considering the amount of geometric distortion correction being applied.


 

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 Image Quality


Color: The EXILIM EX-FH100 pushes strong reds a little, as well as some greens, but overall saturation is good on the remaining tones. In terms of hue accuracy, oranges shift toward yellow, yellow toward green, cyan toward blue, and red toward orange. Darker skin tones are quite warm, while lighter skin tones are just about spot-on accurate. Pretty good overall results.


Auto WB:
Warm
Incandescent WB:
Also warm
 
Manual WB:
Good, a hint cool

Incandescent: Manual white balance mode handles our tungsten lighting test better than both Auto and Incandescent settings, though with a slight cool tint.


Horizontal: 1,800 lines
Vertical: 1,800 lines

Resolution: Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,800 lines per picture height in both directions. Extinction of the pattern occurred at around 2,500 lines per picture height.


Wide: Bright
Tele: Also bright
Auto Flash

Flash: Our manufacturer-specified testing (shown at right) shows bright intensity at the rated wide-angle distance of 11.8 feet, though ISO is bumped to 400. The telephoto test also shows bright intensity at its rated distance of 6.6 feet, though ISO is again at 400. Given these results, the Casio EXILIM EX-FH100's flash should suffice under normal conditions, as long as you stay well within the camera's rated flash maximums.

Auto flash produced a well-exposed image of our indoor portrait test scene, but the camera again raised ISO to 400. Shutter speed was a slow 1/15s, which produced a reddish cast from the ambient lighting, and could result in images with subject motion blur. We would prefer to see a faster shutter speed such as 1/60s. Shot taken at ~5 feet (~1.5m) on a stable tripod.


100
200
400
800
1,600
3,200

ISO: Noise and Detail: Detail remains good through ISO 400, though some softening is noticeable here. By ISO 800, luminance noise and noise suppression efforts become obtrusive. At ISOs 1,600 and 3,200, details are quite blurry. See Printed results below for more on how this affects prints.


Printed: ISO 100 Printed results look good at 13x19 with good color and only slightly soft detail, understandable for a 10-megapixel camera printed at this size.

ISO 200 shots quickly start to degrade from noise suppression, with low-contrast detail going from sharp to soft. Even so, these print well at 11x14 inches.

ISO 400 shots look better at 8x10. They're usable at 11x14, but those aforementioned low-contrast areas are quite fuzzy.

ISO 800 shots are good at 5x7.

ISO 1,600 and 3,200 shots look good at 4x6.

While the image quality degrades more quickly than other cameras as ISO rises, images from the Casio FH100 still produce printable images at all ISO settings, which is worth quite a bit. If you plan to enlarge or crop, try to keep the camera's ISO set to 100 or 200.


 

Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 Performance


Shutter Lag: Full autofocus shutter lag is quite good, at 0.37 second at wide-angle and telephoto. Prefocus shutter lag is 0.036 second, not the fastest out there, but still quite zippy.


Cycle Time: Cycle time is fair, capturing a frame every 2.1 seconds in single-shot mode. RAW+JPEG mode is really slow, however, at 14 seconds per shot! The Casio EX-FH100 does have some very fast continuous modes, though. It can shoot up to 40 frames-per-second at 9-megapixels for 30 frames. (We measured 40.2 fps.)


Flash Recycle: The Casio EXILIM EX-FH100's flash recycles in a sluggish 8.7 seconds after a full-power discharge.


Low Light AF: The camera's AF system was able to focus down to just below the 1/2 foot-candle light level without AF assist enabled, which is not as good as some competitors. The FH100 was able to focus in complete darkness with the AF assist lamp enabled, though.


USB Transfer Speed: Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Casio FH100's download speeds are quite fast. We measured 9,819 KBytes/sec.


 

In the Box

The retail package contains the following items:

  • Casio Exilim EX-FH100 digital camera
  • Lithium-ion battery NP-90
  • Battery charger BC-90L
  • AC Power cord
  • USB cable
  • AV cable
  • CD-ROM

 

Recommended Accessories

  • Extra battery pack for extended outings
  • Large capacity SDHC memory card. These days, 8GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity, but if you plan to capture many movie clips, 16GB will be more useful.
  • Small camera case

 

Casio FH100 Conclusion

Pro: Con:
  • 10x wide-angle lens with sensor-shift image stabilization
  • HD video recording at 720p
  • High speed video options, up to 1,000 frames per second
  • Dedicated movie button
  • Multi-motion image makes multiple shots of a moving object against any background
  • High-speed Night Scene combines multiple shots into one smooth shot
  • Very little geometric distortion in JPEGs
  • Full PASM exposure modes
  • RAW file (DNG) support
  • Very fast continuous modes
  • Excellent battery life
  • Stereo microphone
  • Large LCD
  • HDMI output
  • Fast shutter lag numbers
  • Very fast file transfer
  • Reasonable high ISO performance
  • Good printed results
  • No zoom while shooting video
  • Extraneous scene modes
  • Slow processing and buffer clearing
  • Poor display while filming video
  • Poorly placed flash
  • Awkward manual focusing
  • Only two apertures, ND filter used
  • Very long startup time
  • Painfully slow RAW cycle times
  • Camera makes many strange noises
  • Highest frame-rate video is very small
  • Moderately high chromatic aberration at both telephoto and wide-angle
  • High geometric distortion in RAW files
  • Auto and Incandescent white balance settings are quite warm indoors
  • Slow flash recharge

     

    The Casio Exilim EX-FH100 is a solid point & shoot, and a worthy choice for sports or nature fanatics. Its high speed continuous shooting affords a number of creative opportunities. From super-slow-motion video of children swinging a bat to sequential images of a hummingbird's wings in flight, there are few cameras on the market for $349 that can boast of similar abilities. The blazing burst is not without its drawbacks--you'll spend some time waiting on the Casio FH100 to save the images it's captured and you'll have to cope with an abundance of images, but I'd say it's worth the wait.

    The Casio FH100 also holds up well in the video department, with good quality 720p video in addition to a stereo microphone. Several high-speed video capture modes help you slow down time, capturing at 120, 240, 420, and 1,000 frames per second. On the downside, the inability to zoom while recording inhibits its functionality and the camera's faint letterboxing on the display isn't dark enough to properly frame your videos before you start recording.

    The Casio FH100 is well stocked with scene modes, plus the aperture/shutter priority and manual settings that most enthusiasts desire (even if manual focusing is a bit of a dud). While it's a bit short on digital effects, outside of color filters, you can tweak saturation, contrast, and sharpness for greater control over your image. It will keep enthusiasts busy, but outside of offering some explanatory text in the Best Shot selector, there's not much in the way of in-camera guidance to walk you through its capabilities.

    Overall, the Casio EX-FH100 is a well-built camera that performs high-speed tricks that few other can, both in still and video modes. With its 10x zoom and the ability to slip into a pocket, it's a compelling choice for those interested in capturing not just a snapshot, but just the right moment, and that makes it a Dave's Pick.

     

    Print the overview page for the Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera reviewPrint this Page

    Follow Imaging Resource

    Purchase memory card for Casio EXILIM EX-FH100 digital camera
    Enter this month to win:

    1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

    2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

    3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate