1/2.3in 9.1-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (37-185mm equivalent), 146g
This is the third model in Casio’s High Speed range of cameras.
Whereas the EX-F1 and EX-FH20 are both super-zoom models, the EX-FC100 fits into the slender Exilim range. It’s well specified for a compact camera, with a 5x zoom, optical image stabilisation and 720p HD video capture. There’s no manual exposure, however, which is disappointing at this price.
Like its High Speed siblings, the FC100 has plenty of impressive tricks on offer. As well as an HD video mode, it can record low-resolution, slow-motion video – a fantastic source of entertainment. However, its principal talents lie in continuous shooting, where it can capture 30 6-megapixel images in a single second. This is brilliant for shooting wildlife, sports and science experiments, and although it’s not as fast as the F1’s 60fps or the FH20’s 40fps modes, it’s still very impressive. In this mode, you can also set the camera to store a constant stream of images to the camera’s cache. It keeps a running buffer of up to 25 frames before you even press the shutter button, which can make all the difference between capturing that perfect moment or missing it.
The Slow button provides a novel way of capturing a single picture with split-second precision. Pressing it sets the camera off, and it buffers around three seconds’ worth of shots to the cache. It immediately starts playing these back on the display in slow motion. Simply click the shutter when you see the frame you want, and it’s then saved to memory card. This is an ingenious way of getting group shots in which no-one is gurning or blinking, and it’s great fun to use.
A couple of unusual scene presets take advantage of the fast continuous speed. One captures a burst of frames, identifies a moving object against a static background and superimposes it in multiple positions across a single frame. Another superimposes frames to reduce noise in low-light shots, shifting each one as necessary so they line up accurately.
As with the F1 and FH20, the FC100’s image quality doesn’t live up to the price. Noise was visible even in bright conditions at ISO 100, and Casio’s clumsy noise-reduction processing gave details a slightly grubby appearance. In low light, ISO 1600 shots were hopelessly noisy, but automatic settings limited the sensitivity to ISO 400 and turned in acceptable results. Colours were vibrant with flattering skin tones, if you exclude the pallid flash-lit shots. The autofocus sometimes failed to lock on to subjects, but focus was otherwise sharp right into the corners of frames. HD video was detailed and sound quality was above average, but once again, the picture was noisy. In bright light, slow-motion video looked fantastic.
It’s disappointing that the FC100’s image quality isn’t better – it compares well with images from £200 cameras, but costs significantly more. Despite this, if you like the sound of its impressive array of specialist tricks, the FC100 is well worth the extra cash.
|CCD effective megapixels||9.1 megapixels|
|LCD screen size||2.7in|
|LCD screen resolution||230 pixels|
|Zoom 35mm equivalent||37-185mm|
|Image stabilisation||optical, sensor shift|
|Maximum image resolution||3,456×2,592|
|Maximum movie resolution||1280×720|
|Movie frame rate at max quality||30fps|
|File formats||JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)|
|Mermory supplied||32MB internal|
|Battery type||3.7V 1,300mAh Li-ion|
|Battery Life (tested)||300 shots|
|Accessories||USB and AV cables|
|ISO range (at full resolution)||100 to 1600|
|Exposure compensation||+/-2 EV|
|White balance||auto, 6 presets, manual|
|Additional image controls||contrast, saturation, sharpness|
|Closest macro focus||3cm|
|Auto-focus modes||multi, centre, tracking, face detect|
|Metering modes||multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect|
|Flash||auto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction|
|Drive modes||single, continuous, self-timer, muilti-motion image|