Casio EX-FH25 Review

 
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Basic Specifications
Full model name: Casio EXILIM EX-FH25
Resolution: 9.10 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3"
Lens: 20.00x zoom
(26-520mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
ISO: 100-3200
Shutter: 30-1/40000
Max Aperture: 2.8
Dimensions: 4.8 x 3.2 x 3.3 in.
(123 x 81 x 85 mm)
Weight: 17.0 oz (483 g)
MSRP: $400
Availability: 01/2010
Manufacturer: Casio
9.10
Megapixels
20.00x zoom
1/2.3"
size sensor
image of Casio EXILIM EX-FH25
Front side of Casio EXILIM EX-FH25 digital camera        

With a simplified user interface, a significantly lower pricetag, a smaller and lighter overall package, and updates to both the optics and imager, the Casio FH20 took the company's previous EXILIM Pro EX-F1 , and tweaked it to increase consumer appeal. The Casio High Speed EXILIM EX-FH25 takes this consumer-friendly design, and makes just a few tweaks that should make the camera even more versatile and useful than its predecessor.

Most notably, the previous nine effective megapixel image sensor has been replaced with a new backside illuminated ten megapixel chip. The increase in resolution is very slight, and the real news is the choice of a backside iluminated sensor. What this means is that the on-chip wiring lies on the underside of the silicon chip, rather than in the more traditional position on top of the chip, allowing more light to reach the sensor surface. This means an increase in sensitivity, and this is borne out by an increase in the maximum ISO sensitivity from 1,600 to 3,200 equivalents. The only other noticeable change is that the onboard memory available has been increased from 31.9MB to 85.9MB, enough to save the day for the most important shots on a day trip should you accidentally leave your flash card at home. Casio's spec sheet doesn't list burst speeds for the still image mode on the FH25, but beyond slight differences in pixel counts, the camera's movie modes are very similar to those of the FH20 model, so still image performance also seems likely to be similar. In other respects, the Casio FH25 is largely unchanged from the FH20 model.

Movie performance ranges from fairly ordinary at full resolution to extremely fast at low resolutions. The Casio EX-FH25 can record at 640x480 (VGA) or 1280 x 720 (high-def) resolutions at 30 frames per second. Drop the resolution to 448 x 336 pixels and the movie frame-rate can be set anywhere from 30 to 240 frames per second. At 224 x 168 pixels the upper bound almost doubles to 420 frames per second, while a postage stamp-like 224 x 64 pixel movie mode offers a whopping 1000 frames per second if you're willing to squint to see it! The Casio FH25 also offers the ability to "pre-record" up to 40 images or five seconds of video into its buffer while the shutter button is half-pressed, and then save these along with any images or video it has been configured to capture after the shutter button was pressed - effectively reaching back in time slightly in case your reflexes aren't quite good enough to catch the start of the action.

The Casio EXILIM FH25's 20x optical zoom lens has a maximum aperture that varies from F2.8 to F4.5 across the zoom range, and the minimum aperture is F7.9 regardless of zoom position. The FH25 employs a contrast detection autofocus system which allows for face detection, AF tracking, and manual positioning of the autofocus point within the frame. Manual focusing is also possible. Ordinarily, the minimum focusing distance is 15.8" (40 cm). In Macro mode, this drops to 4.7" (12 cm), while a Super Macro mode allows for focusing down to just 0.4" (10 mm). As you'd expect, there's no true optical viewfinder in the Casio FH25. Instead, it offers a choice of either a 0.2" LCD electronic viewfinder with 201,600 dot resolution, or a 3.0" LCD display with a slightly higher resolution of 230,400 dots (320 x 240, 3 colors per pixel).

The Casio FH25 offers sensitivities ranging from a minimum of ISO 100 to a maximum of ISO 3,200 equivalent. Shutter speeds from 30 to 1/2000 second are possible ordinarily, but when shooting in high-speed mode the shutter speed can be restricted to as brief as 1/40,000 second. As well as 18 scene modes, the Casio FH25 provides both shutter- and aperture-priority modes, and a fully manual mode. Exposure metering modes include multi-pattern, center weighted, and spot. The FH25 offers eight white balance modes, including auto, manual and six white balance presets. A built-in popup flash strobe is rated to a maximum of 23' (7 m) at wide angle or 14.4' (4.4 m)at telephoto, and offers four modes including red-eye reduction.

The Casio EX-FH25 stores images Secure Digital cards (including the newer SDHC types), and is also compatible with both MultiMediaCard and MultiMediaCardplus types. There's also 85.9MB of built-in memory. Still image file formats include both JPEG and Adobe DNG raw, although the high-speed modes allow only JPEG images to be captured. Movies are saved as AVI files with Motion JPEG compression and include monaural sound. Power comes from four AA batteries, and the Casio FH25 is compatible with either alkaline disposables or nickel metal hydride rechargeables. Connectivity choices include USB 2.0 High-Speed for transferring data to a computer, and NTSC or PAL standard definition video output for viewing images on a TV.

Priced at US$400, the Casio EX-FH25 is fully one-third cheaper than its predecessor.

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