Casio EX-FH20 Review

 
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Casio EX-FH20 Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent performance here.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.8 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture. A little slow, but not unusual for cameras with long-ratio zoom lenses.

Shutdown

2.8 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

6 seconds*
(6 seconds buffer clearing in high-speed capture LF JPEG)

Worst case buffer clearing time, after 40 high-speed max-resolution (7 megapixel) shots. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/sec SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Slightly long times here, though the EX-FH20 does have a long zoom lens to extend and retract.



Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.2 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.6 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are pretty good, though play to record is just slightly slow.



Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.13 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.78 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Prefocused

0.010 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button. (Somewhat variable, times ranged from 0.008 to 0.014 second.)

Continuous AF
0.48 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.12 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused."
Full Autofocus Flash
0.24 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire, with the lens at its widest-angle focal length. (Pre-flashes for metering sometimes delay exposure/increase shutter lag slightly.)

Shutter response is outstanding at wide angle, but only average at telephoto, with blazing times throughout the rest of the chart as well. Excellent performance here, even when the flash fired.



Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.98 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640 x 480 JPEG

0.87 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW & Large Fine JPEG
6.13 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW only
(not supported)

-

Early shutter
penalty?

No, except when shooting RAW

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
RAW & Large Fine JPEG

(not supported)

-

High-Speed Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

Only at 7MP

0.02 second (40.43 frames per second);
40 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 40 shots.

High Speed Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG

0.03 second (40.00 frames per second);
40 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 40 shots.

Flash recycling

3.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/sec SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Very impressive results here, particularly with the Continuous modes, which capture high-resolution images at 40+ frames per second (!!!). Resolution in High Speed Continuous mode drops from 9 megapixels to 7 megapixels, but that's a tiny price to pay for such exceptional shooting speed. Normal shot-to-shot cycle times are also good, at 0.98 seconds for large/fine JPEGs. The time drops dramatically with RAW + JPEG mode, but this isn't a surprise, considering the very large amount of data to save there. (RAW + JPEG shooting is apparently essentially unbuffered.) Really excellent performance!

(We don't test movie mode frame rates, but can confirm that the 1,000 frames/second Casio claims for the FH20's highest-speed video mode is in fact valid: When we pointed the camera at our shutter-lag timer running at its fastest 1,000 counts/second rate, the FH20 did indeed capture one count in each video frame. We didn't test them, but assume that the 210 and 420 frame/second rates are also accurate.)



Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

10,197 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Download times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/sec SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower download times.

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are blazingly fast.


The big story with the EXILIM EX-FH20 is its extremely fast Continuous shooting modes. At about 40 frames per second, the EX-FH20 can take on very fast-paced action with no problems. The rest of the camera's timings are also very good, with the sole exception of shutter lag at telephoto focal lengths. Overall, excellent results for a consumer digital camera!

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Pretty good battery life for rechargeable AA cells.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
AA alkaline batteries,
(CIPA standard)
230
AA NiMH rechargeable batteries,
(CIPA standard)
440

The Casio High Speed EXILIM EX-FH20 uses four AA-type batteries for power. Battery life isn't too bad with normal alkaline cells, but performance is much improved with NiMH rechargeables. As always, we strongly recommend you pick up a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fresh set of disposable or freshly-charged rechargeable batteries), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Casio EXILIM EX-FH20 accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and includes about 26MB of internal memory (really rather pointless, only useful for demonstrating the camera in the store).

Image Capacity with
1 GB memory card
Fine Normal Basic RAW+JPEG
3,456 x 2,592
Images
170
322
478
49
File Size
5.7 MB
3.0 MB
2.0 MB
19.4 MB
3,264 x 2,448
Images
210
393
579
-
File Size
4.6 MB
2.5 MB
1.7 MB
-
3,072 x 2,304
(Max for HS Cont. Mode)
Images
224
418
616
-
File Size
4.3 MB
2.3 MB
1.6 MB
-
2,560 x 1,920
Images
323
597
863
-
File Size
3.0 MB
1.6 MB
1.1 MB
-
1,600 x 1,200
Images
767
1,224
2,057
-
File Size
1.3 MB
790 KB
470 KB
-
640 x 480
Images
2,930
5,090
6,908
-
File Size
330 KB
190 KB
140 KB
-

Given the Casio FH20's extraordinary shooting capabilities, we strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC memory card preferably at least 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, multiple high-speed sequences and high-speed videos -- Consider that the 224 7-megapixel shots a 1GB card can hold would only be about five 40-shot sequences plus another 20 still images! (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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