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Casio Exilim EX-H10 Digital Camera Review

Casio Exilim EX-H10 Digital Camera Review - Casio show us that they can get a big zoom in a little camera, too, with the Exilim EX-H10.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Casio Exilim EX-H10
Price : £299
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Review by Matt Grayson
Casio Exilim EX-H10 front
Casio Exilim EX-H10: Specification
  • Zoom: 10x optical
  • Resolution: 12.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/2.3in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Max. image size: 4000x3000
  • File type: JPEG
  • Sensitivity: ISO64 - 3200
  • Media type: Internal, SD, SDHC, Eye-Fi wireless compliant
  • Focus types: Auto, macro, infinity, manual
  • Normal focusing: 15cm - infinity
  • Close focusing: 7cm - infinity
  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 4sec-1/2000sec
  • Flash: Built-in
  • Monitor: 3in TFT LCD screen
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 102.5x62x24.3mm
  • Weight: 164g (excl. battery and card)


Casio Exilim EX-H10: Features
After reviewing the Fujifilm FinePix F70 EXR with a 10x optical zoom in a slim body, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Casio Exilim EX-H10 in at the office which is also a slim camera with a 10x optical zoom packed inside.

Casio Exilim EX-H10 screen
The rear of the camera sports a 3in TFT LCD screen.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 controls
This detail of the rear section illustrates the layout of the camera.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 top profile view
This top view profile shows the two new buttons for vivid landscape and beauty portrait on the top plate.
However, the Casio sports a higher 12.1Mp resolution albeit on a smaller sensor. Standing taller than most compacts, the EX-H10 is even bigger than the comparably bulky Samsung WB500 which also has a 10x optical zoom. It's a blocky design, though not unattractive to look at with its glossy two-tone effect which swishes down under the flash before following the edge of the camera down the grip side. Usually only the power and shutter buttons will adorn the top of a compact camera with the zoom rocker wrapped around the shutter release and this is true for the most part. However, Casio have added dedicated vivid landscape and make-up buttons to the top plate just above the 3in TFT LCD screen.

I liked the layout of the previous Casio compacts and I'm a little dismayed to see a reshuffle but I'll save full judgement until I've used it. A dedicated video record button has been kept to support the company's eagerness to please the YouTube crowd and this works in conjunction with the YouTube mode in the Best Scene menu. Luckily, we see the return of the shooting and playback buttons but what I like about the H10 is that you can still press the shutter button and go back to shooting if you're in playback unlike other compacts that use a switch.

The traditional navigation pad has been replaced with a small, silver circle and I'm sorry to say that it's dreadful to use. Every time I try to navigate through the menus, I press the wrong button as I can feel the Set button under my nail ready to be pressed and send me into an unwelcome function.

Thankfully, the similar quick menu has been used on the screen as well as the familiar core menu which breaks down recording options, quality and the set up menus into three main tabs that are easily used. My main concern here, which has always been an issue but getting more so now, is that certain features normally found on the back of the camera or in a quickly accessible function menu are tucked away in the main menu. These include the self timer, face detection, resolution and anti-shake. The good thing is that once you set the self timer, it stays on self timer unlike some other compacts that will reset so if you're wanting to practice macro photography, you have to keep going into the menu and enabling it time after time. With Casio, that's not the case, so the need for it in a quick access menu is lessened.

BS are letters usually reserved for a dislike of something but the BS button on the camera is to access the Best Shot menu. Casio have always had lots of preset modes in their cameras and the H10 sports no less than 39 modes from the simple landscape, portrait and sports modes to the more unusual splashing water, collection, auction and silent modes. The latter being one of the few new modes added to the ever expanding list which recreates the effect of an old fashioned film by changing the image to black & white and speeding up the shutter speed to give a slightly darker effect.

Other preset modes include the Dynamic Photo, two self portrait modes, white board, business card and BS mode which will select the best option depending on the scene that the camera analyses in the frame. Hovering over the modes and zooming in one will display a brief description of what the modes will do for you.

Casio Exilim EX-H10: Build and handling
There's a set amount of mix and match to the build quality with a cool metal casing and bright screen but then on the bottom is a flimsy battery door and plastic tripod bush. I previously mentioned the replacement for the navigation buttons and as I've used the camera, it's got no easier to use. I constantly think I'm going to slip off the wheel and press something I don't want to do.

Casio Exilim EX-H10 battery
The battery is larger than I've seen recently and is also heavier.
The Lithium-Ion battery is larger than most found in digital compact cameras these days and is remarkably heavy for such a lightweight material.

Incorporating such a large zoom lens into the body means that the front end is going to be heavier when the lens is fully extended. In fact, when the lens is out to its full telescopic capability, the camera will fall forward unless it's supported.

Using the camera one handed meant I had to change the position of my hand to give the camera extra support. This involved wrapping my fingers over the top of the camera and consequently covering the flash. I only found this out by taking a picture and feeling the mild burning sensation as the flash fired. It's not overly detrimental and I managed to still shoot one handed by moving my hand slightly, it's just worth knowing beforehand.

Casio Exilim EX-H10: Performance
Casio are well known for their super fast cameras but the Casio Exilim EX-H10 isn't part of the Hi-speed range. However, it has four different continuous shooting modes to mix things up a bit for you. Normal speed runs around five frames in our ten second test which equates to around 0.5fps (frames per second). This is the only mode that runs at full resolution, which is unfortunate. Four frames per second drops the resolution to 2Mp while 10fps drops to a paltry 1Mp resolution. This size is good enough for printing maybe to 6x4 and could make an OK low resolution animation for posting to YouTube.

Shutter lag times varied but there seemed to be an average of around 0.08sec which is the standard response time for compact cameras in our test.

Casio Exilim EX-H10 colour chart image
Surprise surprise, blue is prioritised but there's an extra hit of yellow for warming images.
In the colour chart test, blue has been prioritised but there's a noticeable nod of saturation put into yellow, yet orange looks a little more pale than normal. I like all other colours although the skin tone could be a little less pink. I like the mono tones and I'm also happy to see a small amount of colour coming through on the pastel tiles.

As the Casio Exilim EX-H10 has a vivid landscape mode, it's worth testing out in the landscape test and comparing against the regular landscape mode found in the Best Shot menu. There's a good level of detail and light in the regular landscape shot although the camera suffers from chromatic aberration on the edges of leaves in the top left corner. The level of detail is pretty good although I think it would be better if a lower ISO had been selected to reduce the amount of noise reduction used in the picture as it's smudged the detail a fraction.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 landscape image
A good level of detail in this standard landscape shot.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 vivid landscape image
Using the vivid mode boosts the greens and yellows in the frame.
Looking at the vivid mode and straight away it's obvious that the greens and yellows are more saturated than the regular shot. There's the same level of detail and contrast in the shot so no other areas have been altered. It's a shame it couldn't help the colourless sky but it's not designed to get something out of nothing.

Casio Exilim EX-H10 detail image
A high level of detail displays the weave in the fabric.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 stabilised image
The Concorde cockpit using image stabilisation.
I took a shot of a chair to see the kind of detail that the camera can pick up. Zooming in to 100% magnification, there's a tonne of detail to the point where I can pick out the weave of the fabric which is pretty impressive. There was a distinct amount of light available for this shot so the camera managed to use a lower ISO.

For the shot of the Concorde cockpit, there was less light available and it shows with the noisier image. This is one of the features that the camera uses to stabilise the image if the CCD shift mechanism can't manage it.

Portrait mode brings up a slightly warmer tone to the skin and I'm impressed with the amount of detail in the shadow areas. There would be more detail in the hair if a lower ISO had been chosen as noise reduction has smudged traces of it out in a bid to reclaim image quality. Luckily, there are two options if this happens to you. First of all, you could add flash although with the flash portrait we took, there is still traces of noise in the image and I think it could be down to the flash wanting to illuminate the image without looking as though it's illuminating the image.


Casio Exilim EX-H10 portrait

Don't get me wrong, I like this style of flash as it's managed to light the shadow areas and add more defined catchlights to the eyes, but if it's at an expense of detail, I'd rather have a more powerful flash. Alternatively, you could use the beauty mode found next to the vivid landscape button. This mode smoothes out blemishes and lines to give a smoother skin tone. This effect should also smooth out any noise, and to a degree it's worked. It appears that the camera uses another way to illuminate the image because the hair has a lot more detail to it.

Casio Exilim EX-H10 beauty portrait image
Portrait in beauty mode smoothes blemishes and also helps with noise.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 flash portrait image
Adding flash increases detail and fills the shadow areas.
Casio Exilim EX-H10: Noise test
Noise is kept to acceptable levels until ISO400 despite mild showings of speckles at ISO200. ISO400 shows a smoothing of detail as noise control kicks in overtime. Detail in the petals begins to dissipate as the ISO levels increase with coloured blotches starting to appear at ISO800 although ISO1600 shows them being suppressed. At this setting, debris litters the image and there's practically no detail in the petals.

At the final ISO3200 setting, the petals are a shell of their former highly detailed selves and noise reduction simply can't cope.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 ISO64 test
The ISO64 test.
Casio Exilim EX-H10 ISO3200 test
The ISO3200 test.
Casio Exilim EX-H10: Verdict
I like this little camera, it certainly seems to be pretty versatile and I've always been impressed with the set of features found on Casio compacts. Sure, it suffers from noise maybe a little bit too much and it'll get marked down for that but other areas make up for it and if you use the flash properly, you should be able to avoid having to crank the ISO up.

I'm continuing my current thoughts that Casio are a force to be reckoned with in the compact market and it's only because they've been pretty quiet recently, that they've slipped out of the lime light.

Casio Exilim EX-H10: Plus points
Slim, sexy design
24mm wide angle view
10x optical zoom
Dedicated video button

Casio Exilim EX-H10: Minus points
New navigation pad isn't as good
Noisy images even in relatively bright light
Fingers get in way of flash with one-handed photography

FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL



The Casio Exilim EX-H10 costs around £299 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Casio Exilim EX-H10


 

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Photographs taken using the Casio Exilim EX-H10

Duck in Pea SoupDusk in OrtigiaEast African Fishing BoatStatue of Saint Theodore, Doge's Palace, Venice, ItalyAlfresco eating under the Palm TreesAfrican Fishing Boat Heading For UsOld Kenya - Just Sailing ByThree Samburu Warriors gassing on the Diani BeachThe Autumn LeavesUntitledA Chillie Day at the Venice MarketA shrub embracing a Cloud at Sunset in Antigua, West Indies
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Comments


Out of followings, which one is overall best:

Casio Exilim EX-H10
Fujifilm FinePix F70 EXR
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6
Samsung WB500
Olympus Mju 9000

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