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Casio EX-FS10 Digital Camera

 
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Combining a slim-lined body with amazing High Speed features, the EX-FS10 is the perfect camera for capturing your friends and family at play.

    Product Features

  • HIGH SPEED BURST
    Up to 30 fps at full resolution
  • The EX-FS10 can shoot at an amazing 30 frames per second in High Speed Burst mode. This allows you to capture up to 30 images with a single press of the button. After the images have been taken you simply save the best pictures to capture the perfect moment.
  • PRERECORD CS
    High Speed recording before you press the button
  • The EX-FS10 allows you to capture the perfect moment even if you press the button too late. With the amazing pre-record function, the camera begins taking pictures before you fully press the button. It works by storing up to 30 images in a buffer on the camera so that you ever miss the action.
  • HIGH-DEFINITION MOVIE
    DVD-quality video
  • The EX-FS10 lets you shoot beautiful 1280 x 720-pixel HD movies at a rate of 30 fps. After your video is recorded you can view it by connecting your camera directly to a TV for big screen viewing. The EX-FS10 also comes with USB cables and software that allows you to view your HD films on your computer or to burn them to a DVD.
  • HIGH SPEED MOVIE
    Video Capture at up to 1,000 fps
  • The 1,000 frame-per-second High Speed Movie capabilities of the EX-FS10 is the next evolution of digital imaging. This feature allows you to easily shoot ultra slow-motion movies at speeds that were only available on super expensive, pro-level cameras.
  • Settings for 210 fps, 420 fps and variable 30-210 fps are included with the camera. While 30-210 fps is selected, you can toggle the movie recording speed between 30 fps and 210 fps, giving you the ability to record at the speed that?s right for the moment.
  • SLOW MOTION
    View and capture that critical moment
  • You’ll never miss that perfect shot with the FS-10’s Slow Motion Viewing. Pressing the [SLOW] button pre-records a series of images and plays them back in a slow motion loop on the monitor screen. When the image you want to keep is displayed, press the shutter button all the way down to record it. Since playback loops, you can get a good look at all of the pre-recorded images until you find exactly the one you want to keep. It’s that simple.
  • BEST SHOT
    Program the camera automatically for particular subject, scene, or lighting conditions
  • The High-Speed Exilim Series has up to 27 Best Shot Modes including two unique modes that activate the shutter when the subject enters or leaves the frame. If you want to capture an image of a hummingbird in this mode, you can focus on the flower. Then, when the hummingbird enters the frame, the shutter will fire automatically. Having up to 60 frames to choose from, you will have the exact image you want.

Product Specs

Lens

5.9-17.9mm f/3.2-5.8 (35mm film equivalent: 33-100mm)

Viewfinder

LCD Monitor

Optical Zoom

3x

Dimensions

3.82”(W) x 2.33”(H) x 0.64”(D)

Weight

Approx. 119g

Image Stabilization

Yes

Focal Length

f= 6.66 - 19.98mm Approx. 38 - 114mm equivalent to 35mm film

Battery

Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-60) x1

Shooting Modes

Auto, Program, Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist, Movie

Computer Interface

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B jack)

Storage Media

SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card

Shutter Speed

1 to 1/1250 second (high-speed continuous shutter: up to 1/40000 second)

Casio Exilim EX-FS10’s Review

digitalcamerareview.com

5/28/09

The Casio EXILIM EX-FS10 comes on the heels of the groundbreaking EX-F1, which records up to 1,200 fps slow-motion video and 60 fps burst mode stills at 6 megapixels. The EX-FS10 is different in terms of its smaller size and price point ($350 compared to the $999 price tag of the EX-F1). Still, the EX-FS10 is a new family member of this revolutionary high-speed imaging technology introduced with the EX-F1 a few years ago. The FS10 provides the photographer with a 9.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 30 fps stills captured at 6 megapixels, high speed movies at 1,000 fps for extreme slow-motion clips, and HD movie at 1280x720 resolution.

Casio has found a niche in the market with no competition; nothing can even touch the frame rates of their High Speed EXILIM family (the fastest DSLRs include the Canon EOS-1D Mark III with 10 fps, and the Nikon D3 at 9 fps). However, making that comparison is like comparing apples and oranges. These two DSLRs are pro models that aren’t meant to be combo slow-motion video cameras with burst modes like the EX-FS10 or EX-F1, and they also have much larger sensors than these two cameras.

With that clarification being drawn, the EX-FS10 is a compact with some serious features in a camera body no bigger than a pack of playing cards. The EX-FS10 was announced along with its older brother, the slightly higher-class EX-FC100. The FC100 is differentiated by a 5x optical zoom and a CMOS anti-shake stabilization system that moves the sensor to compensate for shake, two features that the EX-FS10 lacks.

FEATURES OVERVIEW
The Casio EX-FS10 comes equipped with a 1/2.3 inch high-speed 9.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 3X optical zoom, 2.5 inch high-performance Super Clear LCD, HD movie capture, 30 fps burst mode, and up to 1,000 fps video for ultra slow-motion capture.

Here’s a list of some its most notable features:

* High Speed Still Capture: The EX-FS10 shoots a burst mode of up to 30 frames per second, but also has different capture rates of 15, 10, 5, 3 or auto. Also, you can set the amount of shots you want to capture in these burst modes, including 30, 20, 10 or 5 total frames at 6 megapixels each. Another unique function is the Prerecord CS that lets you shoot 25 images before you fully press the shutter so you never miss a shot.
* High Speed Movies: The real strength of the EX-FS10 is it ability to capture high-speed movies. The highest frame rate you can push the camera to is 1,000 fps at a resolution of 224x64. The frame rates also include 420 fps or 210 fps, or a variable setting that lets you choose between 30-210 fps.
* Lag Correction: Shutter lag is a point of contention for many camera users, often a more annoying issue when using a point-and-shoot that seems to take a long time to capture a shot when you press the shutter. This function is a cool tool and works by temporarily storing images that were captured during a pre-record mode, which then saves that image that is captured by the camera before the shutter is depressed.
* High-Speed Anti-Shake: The EX-FS10 uses a digital image stabilization technique that it calls High-Speed Anti-Shake in which the camera compensates for shake by changing the shutter speed and ISO in order to get a shot that’s blur free.
* HD Movies: Pretty much a standard feature of cameras, both DSLRs and point-and-shoots, is the ability to capture HD video. The EX-FS10 captures 720p (1280x720) videos at 30 fps. While shooting videos you can still capture still images by pressing the dedicated photo button, but with only a max of 6-megapixels.
* Best Shot Modes: Casio’s Best Shot scene modes make it easy for the user to find their specific shooting scenario and choose a Best Shot mode to make it easy to shoot. The EX-FS10 has 20 different modes, including High Speed Night Scene for a low-light scenario. It works by detecting if you’re shooting handheld or on a tripod. If it detects handheld, it will take a series of image and stack them together in-camera, but if you’re on a tripod, the camera will take a longer exposure. There are also standards like Landscape, Portrait, Sundown, and an interesting one called YouTube mode that captures video that can be directly uploaded to the site.

FORM, FIT, AND FEEL

Styling and Build Quality
Ultra-slim, ultra-stylish is how this small 4.2 oz. camera can be described. The EX-FS10 is a pocket camera that fits well into a pair of pants or just toting it around in your hand, and comes in three attractive colors: gray, the color of our test model, blue and red.

The EX-FS10 is no larger than a pack of playing cards, and made from a nice alloy body. It is a sleek digital camera with a brushed finish, complete with a tripod collar, battery trap door that holds the lithium-ion battery, and an SD/SDHC memory card slot. Also on the right is the USB/AV port where you can connect up your camera to your computer or TV. With all things measured, the body is certainly well-built and ready to be put into a pocket and taken out into the field.

Ergonomics and Interface
The button layout on the camera exceeds more than 10 buttons, some of which have specific applications. There are essentially two shutter systems, one for stills, and a red record button that starts and stops any sort of video you shoot with the EX-FS10.

Other unique buttons include a 30 fps and SLOW button on the top of the camera. The SLOW button turns the LCD monitor into a slow motion view, while the 30 fps buttons helps you to toggle between high-speed shooting and single shot quickly.

There is also a Movie Mode switch that lets you toggle between High Speed movies and HD movies. As far as typical digital camera button layouts go, on the EX-FS10 you have your shutter and zoom lever coupled on top, a Playback button and a Rec. button that moves you between image and video review back to the shooting process, a four-way dial that lets you navigate through the menus, and a Menu button to get you there. Also there is a Best Shot mode on bottom that gets you right to the scene modes without having to go through the menu system.

The Menu system can be called up by pressing the button and using the four-way controller to navigate through the REC/Quality/Set Up menus, and work in the typical fashion that most digital cameras are based on, allowing you to get to exposure modes, Autofocus, and other areas of control. Although it is mostly straight forward while shooting, the camera can take some getting used to, especially the slow-motion video capture and playback.

Display/Viewfinder
The EX-FS10 uses a 2.5 inch TFT LCD screen that has 230,400 dots (960x240), and has no viewfinder. The 2.5 inch screen on the back is smaller than most digital cameras, but for the size and shape of the Casio EX-FS10, it makes sense. Overall, it is sufficient for playing back images as accurately on the LCD as it is on the computer.

Auto Focus
There are five focusing modes on the EX-FS10 and three AF Areas you can specify through the menu. Focusing modes include Auto Focus, Macro that lets you to shoot between 10-50 cm away for close up shots, Pan Focus for honing in on a fixed focal point, Fixed that will give you an area of focusing for even distant subjects and Manual focus that lets you choose your area of focus.

The AF Areas that can be set up are Spot, Free and tracking. Spot is best used when you want to keep focus on the center of the frame, and is the default setting for the EX-FS10, or can be used with the focus lock to single out a subject in the center of the frame. Free is also interesting, it allows you to find your point of focus by using the four-way controller to specify a specific area of focus.

But probably the most useful AF area that I found was Tracking, because it works great when you are using the 30 fps burst rate. By depressing the shutter halfway, you can track a subject that is moving rapidly. I was able to do this on the beach when a kiteboard surfer was launching his chute and I was able to keep my focus on it moving erratically without ever losing my focus.

Lens and Zoom
The EX-FS10 has a 3x optical zoom lens that gives you an effective focal range of 38-114mm, which is standard for this level of camera, neither making it exceptional nor ahead of its class.

The aperture speeds are f/3.9 wide to f/5.4 telephoto. The lens is a trap door lens that doesn’t extend from the body, instead the diaphragm of the EX-FS10 stays in and quiet while moving from wide to telephoto lengths. Overall, edge-to-edge sharpness was good on both tele and wide ends. Zoom speed is relatively fast, but by no means a speed demon. With such a small camera design there was a lot sacrificed with the lens, making it no better than an average camera with a 3x zoom range.

Battery
The power performance of the lithium-ion battery is pretty dismal, and I found myself recharging at least 3 times during one day after using the high speed video modes, HD video and burst modes for stills, making it lackluster.

IMAGE QUALITY
The basic image default settings provide a neutral exposure, but the FS10 also comes with color filters, sepia, black and white, and also control the sharpness, saturation and contrast in two steps. The image quality at default settings is somewhat subdued and plain unless you do something like change the filter or the saturation, which is easily done through the Quality tab in the menu system.

The biggest issue with the EX-FS10 is noise, which is apparent in most shots where available light is limited, including indoors and sunsets. This is an inherent problem with point-and-shoot cameras because of the size of the image sensor, though some camera companies have been able to subdue noise through more powerful image processors. In the case of the EX-FS10, noise is very apparent.

Video Quality
The real prize of the EX-FS10 is high-speed video capture. This little camera is capable of capturing extremely slow video at 1,000 fps, though it’s at an extremely low resolution (224x64). Shooting at 1,000 fps in low-light will render unusable footage, while shooting in available light will still give you extreme noise. The camera creates a tiny window almost like a pinhole area that you use to line up your shot, once you are ready to shoot you press the red record button.

While I found the 1,000 fps shooting to be useful for only a handful of situations, the frame rates of 210 and 420 fps were really the most interesting and rendered the best of this slow-motion capability. The 420 setting has a resolution of 224x168; while 210 records at 480x360. Both produced better video quality than the 1,000 fps setting. While the 420 mode is in the same ballpark resolution wise with 1,000, it gives you a wider shooting area and better low-light quality, mainly due to its slower speed. But the best slow-mo recording mode was the 210 setting, giving back video with very little degradation, and the cool effect of slow-motion that doesn’t look mashed up or muddy.

It’s important to note that the EX-FS10 in high speed movie capture does not capture audio, but why would it? Slow-mo is intended to be a visual capture, not a super slow-mo sound recording. Also, you cannot zoom in or out during slow motion capture.

The EX-FS10 also records HD video at 30 fps at a resolution of 1280x720. The recording time of HD movies are 10 minutes, and you cannot zoom during this capture either. There is also a monaural microphone that does an adequate job of capturing audio during HD video recording.

All video from the EX-FS10 is captured into .AVI files, and the high-speed movies do not take up much space at all, which is nice, seeing as how you’re getting a slow-mo without killing your memory card’s capacity. Shooting HD video, however, will quickly eat memory space.

The HD video quality is on par with most of the compacts with HD video, creating consistent output with nice color reproduction and very little of the color casts that I’ve been seeing in some cameras I’ve recently shot with. The high speed movies are great if that’s what you’re looking for, but are by no means a way to create a cinematic masterpiece. It is a niche being filled by Casio for the consumer who wants this unique feature, but is mostly for a wow factor to show your friends.

Exposure, Processing, and Color
The EX-FS10 has three exposure reading modes including Multi, Center Weighted and Spot metering. As usual, the Multi metering is the default setting, and works well for your general purpose shooting. It does a good job of metering light throughout the entire frame, but in low-light tends to be very noisy.

White Balance
Auto White Balance worked sufficiently in the field, but the studio shots taken under incandescent light were warm and left a sort of orange cast over the foreground subjects.

Sensitivity and Noise
Noise is one of the biggest issues of the EX-FS10, mainly in low-light situations. Noise starts creeping into the frame when you push the camera past ISO 200, but in available light it works fine. In the studio lab tests, ISO 100 and 200 show decent images, but from 400 to 1600 you start to see noise. The EX-FS10 is certainly not the camera you want to take out at night without flash, but the camera is competent enough to produce a decent image.

CONCLUSIONS
The truth is that Casio has set themselves at the top of the high speed market and can’t even be touched by the competition. The EX-FS10 has a remarkable technology behind it, much like the EX-F1, minus the hefty price tag. Although it does have its quirks and limitations, the high-speed movie modes are enough to draw in someone looking for this effect.

User reviews

Average user rating from: 1 user(s)

 

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Casio EX-FS10 Digital Camera

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

Pros

Very small -- smaller than I expected, and I was expecting small. I like to carry a camera with me 24/7 and insist on one that takes full motion video, etc. The small size, HD video features, and rapid shoot features of the FS10 make it perfect for me.

* The slow-motion features are VERY cool. I have been having a lot of fun, often with my young niece & nephew, videoing all kinds of simple things and watching their slo-mo details in playback. Granted, you lose resolution the slower you go but considering this feature isn't available at all in most (any?) other pocket cameras, I'm willing to accept this.

Cons

Images captured under even moderately low light conditions are very grainy and noisy. This is looking to be a big problem! You've got 9MP but when you look at them even a little bit closely you'll see a LOT of multi-color sensor noise/grain. Using the flash helps but I don't always want to use the flash. My MUCH older and cheaper digital cameras seem to do better in these same dark conditions! Perhaps I need to explore the custom settings some more BUT, per my next note, all of your custom settings seem to revert back to defaults every time you turn the camera off.

* The camera forgets all(?) of your custom settings when it is turned off and returns to default settings when turned back on. I think most of the problems I am reporting here could be minimized by tuning the camera's settings to my particular likings and personal shooting styles. But having to customize my settings, and remembering to even DO this, every time I turn the camera on is a MAJOR hassle. Example: I prefer to disable the flash/auto-flash and manage lighting myself, but every time I turn the camera back on, the flash will go off if the lighting conditions are even slightly darkish unless I remember to explicitly disable the flash again (and again and again).

* Auto-focus for video is sloppy. It goes in and out of focus even when videoing environments which are pretty much totally "at infinity". I have resorted to always manually focusing to infinity if my subject is more than about 4' away; perhaps I need to try some of the other auto-focusing schemes -- unfortunately the fact that the camera forgets custom settings every time it is turned off makes the use of other focusing schemes or using fixed focus very inconvenient.

* Battery charging requires the battery to be removed and inserted into a separate charger. My other, older/simpler/cheaper cameras generally let me charge via the USB port -- I would often simply leave these old cameras plugged in after downloading images to "top off" the battery. Having to pop the battery out is a total hassle! Also, the hardware associated with this battery access seems a bit flimsy to me...

* The cover over the USB port is poorly implemented. Rather than popping out the SD card, I prefer to download pix/vid from the camera via the USB port. Note first of all that the camera's jack is NOT the standard small USB port that you usually (always?) see -- it is a slightly smaller version that I'd never seen before. I don't know if it is custom to the Casio brand or what -- I hope not. The plastic cover over the camera's USB port is on a thin plastic leash but this leash is SOOO short that it is EXTREMELY difficult to hold the cover out of the way and get the USB cable plugged in. It is such a struggle to plug in the cable that I suspect/fear that it won't be long before the little plastic leash for the USB port cover breaks.

Summary

Over all I have mixed feelings about this camera. This is my first Casio camera. So far I am less than thrilled with some problems I've discovered. Under OPTIMAL conditions, the automated settings seem to work well and produce great pictures and HD video. If you deviate from OPTIMAL conditions at all, the automated settings produce mediocre results at best; and any custom settings are consistently forgotten between power-up's.

I'm HOPING that I'll either learn/discover some methods on this new camera to address my problems OR that a firmware upgrade will be released that fixes them. Fingers crossed.
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Reviewed by freelance
October 20, 2009
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