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There are some cameras where it looks like there’s a specific market sector in mind by the manufacturer and there’s set of features to back it up. Then there’s cameras like the H30 where it appears Casio has stuffed in most of the good features it could find laying around the lab. Wide angle lens, big zoom, huge resolution, muscular battery, clever firmware, it’s all here and in a relatively small package.
- 1000 pictures on one battery charge
- 24mm wide-angle lens
- 12.5x optical zoom with CCD-shift stabilisation
- Exilim Engine 5.0
- Premium Auto mode
- 1280 x 720 movie mode
- 16.1 megapixels
- Energy saving mode
- Dynamic Photo function
Turning on and ready to shoot time is around three seconds while focussing is pretty speedy at around a second for a lock on, or failed result. The area-wide focus is useful for clumps of things close up like flowers, but for single subjects with then normal point focus is the best choice. There’s also tracking focus, which only works if you turn Face Detection off first, and this is good for slow moving subjects on the ground where you aren’t zoomed in too far. It’s of no use for birds flying in the air. Face Detection itself works well, easily picking up people in scenes. As mentioned, macro mode is accessed through the setup menu, which is not helpful, or can be used automatically in specific scene modes or Premium Auto mode. With a super-macro mode of just 1cm, it’s superb for getting those really close to the lens shots.
One flaw comes in the form of burst shooting. There isn’t any. It’s one, hi-res shot at a time. There is a continuous mode of 4fps and 10fps but these drop the resolution rights down to 1600x1200 and 1280x960 respectively.
Premium Auto is Casio’s showcase firmware mode. It detects and sets an appropriate scene mode based on the content of the picture. It’s generally accurate and useful for those wanting a styled image without the effort of setting a scene mode first.
|Premium Auto, ISO80, 1/160, f/3, 4mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)||Macro, ISO200, 1/60, f/4, 7mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)|
|Purple colours, ISO200, 1/320, f/4, 7mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)||White colours, ISO200, 1/1000, f/4, 7mm (35mm equiv: 42mm)|
As far as battery life goes, one charge will see you through the day. The CIPA rating is 1000 shots with a bit of flash and playback. When used out and about, I didn’t even come close to making a dent on the battery. It really is a charge it up and forget it feature.
There’s a few comments to make about the white balance performance. Firstly, that just like the macro mode, it’s absolutely buried in the menu system. The next is that in outdoor use it’s spot on. The fun is where the lighting is mixed and for indoor shots with tungsten and fluorescent, mixed with window light, again, really first rate results. The only fly in the ointment came when using flash in a mixed natural-tungsten situation and here the result was a little too warm. Otherwise, generally excellent results.
The ISO range runs from 80 right up to 3200 and with a colossal 16Mp resolution packed into such a small space, it was always going to be interesting to see how the noise reduction system coped. At up to ISO200 there’s no problems at all with nice clean results. At ISO400 though the noise suppression starts to work and this irons out detail, leaving the odd artefact in the image. At ISO800 it’s really significant, to the extent that there’s not much point in recording a 16Mp image because you are losing the detail that the extra resolution brings. At ISO1600 there’s no fine detail and noise, though thankfully not coloured, is visible throughout. Finally, at ISO3200 the image is noticeably soft because there’s no real detail, there’s copious noise in the shadows but it is kept to a reasonable level in the mid-toned and lighter areas, plus, there’s no colour noise or shifts either.
On to the lens then and the 24mm wide angle is a really asset. The f/3 aperture isn’t the best you could hope for, but is understandable given the great range of the lens. There’s some distortion at the wide angle, but not that much and it has enough sharpness for a compact. At the telephoto end it’s often necessary to increase the ISO setting to ensure against camera shake, but even so, the images are softer, but with very little distortion. The do lose some contrast though, but a good result all the same. There’s colour fringing shooting against white skies and shots with bright white objects in them will lose highlights and also show fringing, but white objects in overcast conditions suffer from neither. Overall, there’s little complaint about the results obtained in a typical day out shooting inside and out.
Casio Exilim H30 Sample Video:
The Casio Exilim H30 record 720p video at 24fps, and lets you use the optical zoom while recording, as well as digital zoom. The video is saved as an AVI file (Motion JPG), with mono sound, and quality is good.
Value For MoneyWith a price of £209 the EX-H30 offers all kinds of good value from the high resolution to the telephoto lens, superb macro and shooting features. The Olympus SZ-20 is less and offers the same kind of resolution and telephoto range, but full HD video and better continuous shooting. However, the H30 has a battery that will go all day so for holidays where you are out all day, it’s a great choice. Around the same kind of price you can pick up a Canon PowerShot SX220 HS which has a 14x optical zoom and for more reach there’s the Nikon CoolPix S9100 with an 18x lens for another £40. The Casio Cashback offer gives you another £30 off the H30, so it certainly makes it even more appealing.
|Consistently good results and exceptional battery life at an attractive price make the H30 a great camera for day trippers.|
Casio Exilim EX-H30: ProsHeavy duty battery
24mm wide angle lens
Premium Auto scene recognition
Landscape and Makeup processing
Superb 1cm macro
Lots of features and control
Effective noise control
Casio Exilim EX-H30: ConsDetail disappears at higher ISOs
Advanced functions are buried in menus
No continuous shooting at hi-res
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Sensor size||1/2.3 inch|
|Max image size||4608 x 3456|
|Focusing system||Contrast Detection Auto Focus|
|Focus points||Single, Multiple|
|Focus type||Intelligent AF, Spot, Multi, Tracking|
|Focus distance||5cm Normal, 1cm Macro|
|File types||JPEG, AVI|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO80 - 3200|
|Metering system||Multi-pattern, centre-weighted, spot|
|Metering types||Program AE, AP, SP, Manual|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV|
|Shutter speed range||8-1/2000th sec|
|Frames-per-second||n/a hi-res, 4fps at 1600x1200, 10fps at 1280x960|
|Image stabilisation||CCD-shift type|
|Movie mode||1280x720 (24fps), 640x480 (30fps)|
|Monitor||3.0 inch LCD (460k)|
|Media type||SD, SDHC, SDXC|
|Box Contents||AV cable, USB cable, CD, power charger, power lead, strap|
|Size||105 x 59 x 29mm|
|Weight||201.3g inc battery and card|
- Exilim EX-H30 16.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 4.24 mm-53 mm - Black (7.6 cm 3" LCD - 12.5x Optical Zoom - Optical IS - 4608 x 3456 Image - 1280 x 720 Video - Motion JPEG AVI) available from UK Digital Cameras for £219.99
- Exilim EX-H30 16.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 4.24 mm-53 mm - Black (7.6 cm 3" LCD - 12.5x Optical Zoom - Optical IS - 4608 x 3456 Image - 1280 x 720 Video - Motion JPEG AVI) available from Jessops for £229.95
- Casio Exilim EX-H30 Digital Camera - Black (16.1MP, 12.5x Optical Zoom) 3 inch LCD available from Amazon UK for £207.00