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|Daniel Bell reviews the Casio Exilim EX-H15.|
Casio added the EX-H15 to their range of Exilim digital cameras in January 2010. If you are looking for a camera with a long battery life then the H15 will appeal as Casio claim it is able to take up to 1000 pictures on a single charge. Added to this there is a 10x optical zoom, equivalent to a 24-240mm (in 35mm equivalent focal lengths) and a 14.1Mp sensor. The EX-H15 is available in black or brown for £177.99. You may also be considering the new Fujifilm FinePix T200, available for £169, which has a longer 28-280mm lens (in 35mm equivalent focal lengths) and a 14Mp sensor or even the cheaper Nikon Coolpix S8000 which has a range of 30-300mm lens (in 35mm equivalent focal lengths) and 14.2Mp sensor, available for £152.99.
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Features
- 1000 pictures on one battery charge
- 24mm wide-angle lens
- 10x optical zoom with mechanical image stabiliser
- EXILIM Engine 5.0
- Premium Auto mode
- HD video recording
- 14.1 megapixels
- Extended Dynamic Photo function
- Best Shot Art Shot
- 3in TFT LCD colour display
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Handling
The EX-H15 is quite heavy for a compact camera with around a quarter of its weight being the battery but the weight is unlikely to trouble any user. The buttons are easy to press and the camera is comfortable to hold. The LCD screen is clear in all conditions and the camera menus are kept simple so they should not prove difficult for a beginner. Within a couple of seconds of switching on the camera is ready to take pictures.
There are the usual buttons on the camera such as the on/off switch, zoom rocker, shutter release, playback button and D-pad. There is a dedicated button for the premium auto mode as well as a button which takes you to a menu displaying the vast amounts of shooting modes available. Next to the premium auto mode buttons is a button which switches between make-up mode (for better portraits) and landscape mode.
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Performance
Whether shooting wide or at the full 10x optical zoom length, images produced by the EX-H15 are good with colours reproduced excellently and plenty of detail is retained throughout. The telephoto image below is shot from the same place as the wide-angle image. At the lens' longest length, the image quality is good enough to be able to read some of the writing on the signs on the opposite side of the lake, impressive indeed.
|Casio Exilim EX-H15 performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
ISO and noise performance
At ISO64 a good sharp image is produced with no noise evident and at ISO100 and ISO200 there isn't any significant noise in the images. At ISO400 and ISO800 there is some noise but the images produced are perfectly acceptable. As expected with a compact camera, there is clear noise at ISO1600 with detail being lost and this is certainly much worse at ISO3200 with images produced at this setting being more suitable for the web rather than large prints.
|Casio Exilim EX-H15 Test chart ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
The auto white-balance setting on the EX-H15 performs excellently in varying lighting conditions. In our studio tests shots, when using the tungsten lights there is very little difference between the auto setting and the tungsten preset. When using the fluorescent lights, the auto setting handled the lighting much better with the fluorescent setting giving a slight magenta tint to the image.
The mode which will appeal to all users is Premium Auto. The camera will decide on all the correct settings and the user simply has to press the shutter button. The image below shot using premium auto has increased the colour in the blues and greens making it look more like a lovely summer's day rather than the cold winter's day it actually was. Photography beginners will certainly enjoy using this mode and it will help them to get the most out of their camera without any expert knowledge.
There is also the option to choose the Best Shot mode which has a large number of options, which are: portrait, scenery, portrait with scenery, self-portrait, self-portrait (two people), children, sports, candlelight portrait, party, pet, flower, natural green, autumn leaves, soft flowing water, splashing water, sundown, night scene, night scene portrait, fireworks, food, text, collection, auction, backlight, high sensitivity, oil painting, crayon, water colour, monochrome, retro, twilight, multi-motion image, ID photo, business cards & documents, white-board, silent. This is certainly an extensive range of modes which will help take greats shots and allow creativity. There are examples below using a few of the available modes. If you find a particular camera set-up for a scene that works for you then the EX-H15 has the option to save 999 custom Best Shot modes.
|Casio Exilim EX-H15 shooting modes: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.|
The EX-H15 can take HD video clips and also comes with the option to have a four second prerecord, meaning when you hit the record button, the previous four seconds will be added to your clip. The camera can also be set to record videos for YouTube and as an added bonus, the EX-H15 can also be used as voice recorder.
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Verdict
The EX-H15 is certainly going to appeal to those looking for a travel camera thanks to its 10x optical zoom and long battery life. After the initial charge the battery remained at full strength throughout the test so there is no reason to doubt that it will last for the full 1000 shots. Image quality is good for a camera in this price range and the Premium Auto mode makes picture taking in many differing conditions easy. Add this to the excellent auto white-balance and noise performance and you have yourself a high zoom compact camera worthy of some consideration.
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Pros
Auto white-balance performance
ISO and noise performance
Premium Auto mode
10x optical zoom
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Cons
Some of the shooting modes are unnecessary
No panorama mode
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Casio Exilim EX-H15 review: Specification
|What comes in the box||Rechargeable lithium ion battery, lithium ion battery charger, AC power cord, USB cable, AV cable, strap, CD-ROM|
|Lens||10x optical zoom, 4.3 - 43mm (24 - 240mm 35mm equiv.), f/3.2-7.5|
|Sensor size||1/2.3 inch|
|Max. Image size||4320 x 3240|
|Monitor||3in TFT Colour (Super Clear) LCD|
|Shutter speed||4 - 1/2000 sec|
|Focusing system||Contrast Detection Auto Focus|
|Focusing modes||Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Super Macro, Infinity Mode, Manual Focus|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO64 - 3200|
|Metering system||Program AE|
|Metering modes||Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element|
|Exposure compensation||-2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)|
|Continuous shooting||Approx. 10 frames per second at 1280 x 960 pixels
Approx. 4 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels
|Anti-shake mode||CCD-shift image stabilization|
|Movie mode||720p HD|
|Media type||SD / SDHC|
|Interface||Hi-Speed USB, AV port|
|Power||Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-90)|
|Size (wxdxl)||102.5 x 62.1 x 29.3mm|
The Casio Exilim EX-H15 cost £177.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Casio Exilim EX-H15