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As thin as a knife edge, the Casio Exilim EX-S10 cuts into the massive compact ranges available on the shelves today. With its shiny metal body, 10Mp and advanced face detection technology it may take some beating.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Specification
- Optical zoom: 3x
- Resolution: 10.1Mp
- Image size: 3648 x 2736
- Sensor type: CCD
- Colour: Variable
- Focal length: 36-108mm (35mm equiv.)
- Max aperture: f/2.8-5.3
- Screen size: 2.7in
- Card format: SD/SDHC
- Weight: 100g
- Size: 94.2x54.6x15mm
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Modes and features
After a disappointing review of the EX-Z75, I'm really looking forward to taking a look at this camera as I thought it was a pretty looking thing from when it was first delivered to the office.
The modest 3x optical zoom is folded down into the 15mm deep body and only a surrounding silver ring juts out by a couple of millimetres making it not sit flush.
The ring has the AF emitter cutting into it, which I can't understand, but may be a necessity of design. Sat just under the flash is a raised area of the body which then goes under the ring surrounding the lens. I can't see any reason behind this, but it doesn't look unpleasant. However the ring has been cut into to allow the raised area to go under and because of this it's not flush. This could allow debris to enter into the body of the camera and if that goes into the sensor chamber dirt could get on the sensor.
ePHOTOzine spoke to Casio regarding this issue and they said that despite the holes surrounding the area, there will be no issues with dust or moisture contamination. I'm awaiting an indepth explanation from Tokyo and will update the review when it's received.
The top of the camera has the power button sunk into a small divot with the shutter release just to the right which has the zoom rocker wrapped around.
The back is interesting however, the button in the top right corner is a recording button which is designed as a fast access to video for the YouTube feature that the camera has. The Casio Exilim EX-S10 follows on from previous models and has a YouTube setting for easy upload to the popular video site. The new button ensures you're less likely to miss anything.
As well as the quick Video Record button, the S10 also has a Playback button just over the navigation pad and a camera button next to that for getting out of the Playback mode.
The centre button of the navigation pad confirms any changes made or accesses the quick menu that falls down the right side of the screen. The last two buttons on the back are to access the Main Menu and the scenes which Casio call Best Shot.
The quick menu on the screen allows you to change the Resolution, Flash, Auto shutter, Trigger sensitivity for the Auto shutter, Face detection with the fabulous Family First option, Continuous shooting, ISO settings, Exposure Compensation and Date & Time.
Family first face detection has an area you access to allow the camera to memorise your family's faces. Once you've framed the person, press the shutter and the family member is saved to memory. You can even name them and give them a star rating for priority in the pictures.
The Auto shutter is a recent feature that utilises smile detection and automatically starts taking photographs. This feature was first witnessed on the Sony DSC T200 and I think it's a useful feature to have. Casio have expanded on it by adding a Panning Auto shutter to detect when the subject you're shooting as you pan is sharp and Blur detect Auto shutter which shoots as soon as the subject is still.
The trigger sensitivity has a traffic light system of red, yellow and green for high, medium and low sensitivity.
These are all fantastic features which I think push Casio out above the rest of the compacts in its range and restores my faith in the company since the past few reviews that have received lower scores due to the uninspiring features.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Build and handling
The metal body is smooth and silky to the touch. I prefer this to the mottled coverings of the majority of cameras out there although I can see the increased probability of it slipping out of your hands and smashing.
The buttons are secure and firm to press and the only thing I don't really like is the navigation pad. It feels as though it's turning when it isn't which only serves to confuse.
The battery door is plastic and bit flimsy at that. It doesn't have a spring lock like most cameras today, Casio have instead preferred the locking mechanism.
The Menu is easy enough to navigate if only the buttons were larger. Casio have kept the camera small including all appendages and extras.
The screen is bright, clear and about the only thing on the camera that's large.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Flash options
The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has five flash options of Auto, Off, On, Soft and Red-eye reduction. The Red-eye works by firing one pre-flash approximately a second before to close down the iris and minimise the problem of Red-eye.
The range of the flash is approximately 0.2 to 2.8m at wide angle and 0.4 to 1.5m at telephoto which is on the underside of acceptable. It means that your subject can't be more than 5ft away from you at telephoto and 9ft at wide angle or the flash won't reach them.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Performance
The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has two continuous shooting modes of low and high. The low mode shot nine images in the ten second test managing a rate of just over 1fps. The high speed shooting mode manages to take a mind numbing 33 images in 10 seconds, however the blistering speed comes at a price. The Casio knocks the resolution down to 2Mp to be able to cope with the amount of information being pushed through the processor.
The shutter lag produced multiple results of 0.04second which is half the time of other cameras in this classification. A great result which means those candid shots are even less likely to be missed.
I don't see the point in putting a Macro feature on a camera that doesn't have a decent close focus. The Casio has a capability of 10cm which is frankly pathetic and even though I wanted to close in on one flower, I ended up including three.
I'm impressed with the Landscape shot because the camera has included a lot of imformation and detail in the sky compared to the other camera I tested at the same time, the Canon IXUS 90 IS. The green of the grass isn't as colourful as I'd like, I think it could benefit from the boost of green found in the natural mode setting.
I'm especially impressed with the detail in the mid ground and the supressed fringing on the white bars which is also non-existant on the roof of the building.
To collaborate the colour charts story, the portrait mode gives nicely balanced skin tones and even the background has come out well. The shadows aren't too harsh and plenty of detail is present.
Using flash has made the exposure a little harsher with over exposure on areas closest to the flash. Catchlights are present, looking good and the shadowy areas of the shot without flash are filled sympathetically.
The Natural Green mode in the Best Shot scene menu boosts any green in the shot to help with flora images and it certainly does. The leaves of the trees, bushes and even the moss on the stones is much more vibrant.
Another scene found in the Best Shot menu is the Flowing Water mode. This scene mode selects a slow ISO rating and shutter speed to make the water turn all silky and smooth. It's a nice effect, but has to be done while using a tripod.
The colourchart has predictably boosted the primary colours in particular blue. The black & white tones are clean and even the skin tone is balanced.
I'm pleased with the exposure and lack of fringing, but I think the shot could be improved with more green in the grass.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Noise test
Usually, I'll pass over the lower ISO ratings as they produce the same result and they normally don't start showing noise until ISO400 or ISO800 if you're lucky.
However the Casio is showing tiny traces of noise at ISO100 which show up as discoloured pixels on the grey card but there is still plenty of detail in the petals though.
Unfortunately, ISO400 is where it starts to go downhill as the grey area shows purple and green blobs when viewed at full size and ISO800 only serves to increase the problem.
ISO1600 lets the noise bleed over into the white areas and the detail in the petals is all but gone. The processor has tried a futile attempt of restricting the damage by siftening the flower detail, but it doesn't help enough.
The ISO50 test.
The ISO100 test.
The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
The ISO800 test.
The ISO1600 test.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Verdict
I'm extremely impressed with this camera. The expansion of the smile detection auto trigger to include panning and blur detection are a fabulous step forward to help people improve their quality of photographs.
If you're in the mood for a thin, good looking camera with features dripping off it, then have a serious look at this one.
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Plus points
Cutting edge features
Good shutter lag performance
Original scene modes
Little fringing on contrasty areas
Casio Exilim EX-S10: Minus points
Bad noise performance
Poor macro effort
Flash performance could be better
Because of the auto trigger features, the Casio Exilim EX-S10 receives our fabled Cutting Edge award.
The Casio Exilim EX-S10 costs around £219 and is available from your trendy ePHOTOzine shop here.