Casio may not be the first name (or second or third) that comes to mind when you’re considering the purchase of a compact camera; however, if you’re in the market for a long-zoom compact (sometimes called a “travel” compact), then the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 should be a serious contender for your money. Because Casio’s high-speed CMOS sensor technology has proven itself in the company’s Exilim EX-F1, EX-FC100 and EX-FH20 models, it only made sense to include it in the Exilim EX-FH100 as well.
Read real customer reviews of the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 here.
The Casio Exilim EX-FH100 is certainly entering a very competitive and crowded niche, with comparable models from Panasonic, Samsung, Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Sony and Pentax. Casio wasn’t remiss, however, in giving the EX-FH100 features and capabilities that are generally superior to whatever you’ll find in these competing cameras.
Casio has obviously retained some design elements from earlier models, the EX-H15 and H10, to help identify the Exilim EX-FH100 as part of the company’s brand. These elements are evident in the solid body of predominately aluminum construction and plastic parts on the top panel. This long-zoom compact is also equipped with the same three-inch LCD monitor (with only 230,000 resolution, however), and a flush-folding, 10x f/3.2–f/5.7 zoom lens, with 11 glass elements, some aspherical, and a 24–240mm, 35mm equivalent, focal length range. From here, the Exilim EX-FH100 starts to outpace its Casio brothers and competition.
The Exilim EX-FH100 will seem bigger in your hands because it is: Dimensions of 4 inches (105mm) x 2.5 inches (63.2mm) x 1.2 inches (29.9 mm), and a weight of approximately eight ounces (224g) (with the memory card and large 1950mAh li-ion battery). In the older H15 model, this battery will deliver 1,000 images, but only 300 in the FH100, due to its need for more power. Even with only a third of the shots available on a full charge, the Casio FH100 records more images than many competing models.
What distinguishes the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 from similar cameras is its high-speed, 10-megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor, and its positive impact on the very fast continuous shooting mode. Fire as many as 30 frames in one burst within the maximum 40 frames per second, at nine mega-pixel resolution, or you can pre-shoot as many as 25 frames. The impressive sensor also drives 720-HD video as well as rather incredible 1,0000-frames-per-second, extremely fast video segments. The EX-FH100 adds stereo sound to your video with two microphones on the top panel. The high speed of the sensor allowed Casio to add a number of attractive capabilities that are accessed through the Best Shot menu. If this is the camera for you, then you’ll like the excellent in-camera HDR capture mode; high-speed, anti-shake photo capability; and low-noise, composite nighttime images.
Casio is known for its cameras’ auto-focus systems, and the FH100 continues the trend with a nine-point contrast detection AF system. It has the flexibility to make a single point moveable and provide tracking AF. The system is also very quick and precise, with well above average low-light functioning. The combination of the high-speed sensor and the 24–240mm, f/3.2–f/5.7 zoom lens creates images with exceptional sharpness, border to border, and very little wide-angle distortion. A bit of chromatic aberration may be noticed in the corners, but the specs are better than other cameras at the same price point. Performance is superb, especially in atypical lighting conditions, with the sensor delivering outstanding dynamic range in high-contrast situations.
Although the reputation of Casio cameras suffers a bit from the challenge of high-ISO noise, the results of the Exilim EX-FH100 are quite acceptable at ISO 400, and at 800 for prints. Push it to the higher range (ISO 1,600 to 3,200) and noise becomes much more of an issue.
The quality construction and wide range of features and capabilities make the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 compact camera the equal, and often, the superior of many other advanced compact cameras. At approximately $200 or more, depending on where you buy it, the EX-FH100 is also a terrific value.