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Casio Exilim EX-H5 review

Ben Pitt
20 Sep 2010
Casio Exilim EX-H5
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
141
inc VAT

A breakthrough price for a compact ultra-zoom camera, but photos and videos don’t stand up to close scrutiny.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (24-240mm equivalent), 174g

There’s a vast range of compact cameras with 10x and bigger zooms currently available. The H5 is one of three such models from Casio, sitting below the feature-packed FH100 and the 14-megapixel H15. It also happens to be the cheapest compact ultra-zoom camera we’ve ever reviewed. The red version we tested costs £141, while black or silver finishes cost £133.

Inevitably, there are a few cost-cutting measures to be found. The slim battery lasts for 240 shots – a far cry from the H15’s 1,000 shots but still a passable figure. Frustratingly, removing the battery for charging and returning it to the camera 24 hours later resulted in the date being reset. Another minor irritation is the lack of an orientation sensor, which means that portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually on the computer.

There’s no dedicated menu button or mode dial, and unlike on other Casio cameras it’s not possible to reassign the left and right navigation pad buttons to functions such as ISO speed or white balance. The result is that adjusting photographic settings requires numerous prods of the five-way pad. This is a camera that’s only really suitable for pointing and shooting.

There are no signs of cost-cutting from the outside. The slim aluminium shell looks smart, and it’s also marginally the lightest camera in its class. The flash isn’t in the most sensible place, though, as it risks being obscured by a finger.

While the H5 lacks a menu button, it does include a dedicated video capture button. Video is recorded at 720p but the 20fps frame rate isn’t as smooth as the 39fps managed by other cameras. The focus and optical zoom are fixed during recording, and with noise appearing in clips, this video mode isn’t up to the standards of its pricier competitors.

The same could be said for the H5’s photos. The 10x zoom lens, which starts at an impressively wide-angle 24mm, certainly pulled its weight, delivering sharp details right into the corners of frames. The sensor was the weak point, though, reducing subtle details to grubby smudges in anything but bright sunlit conditions. The same could be said of nearly all compact ultra-zoom cameras, but the H5’s noise reduction was less successful than others at disguising the inevitable noise that comes from a small, high-resolution sensor. Even at the base ISO 64 setting, noise invaded darker parts of images.

Those who can afford it should go for the Panasonic TZ8 or Samsung WB650, both of which produce superior photos and videos. However, for people who don’t print enlargements or scrutinise their photos on screen, the H5’s noise problems may be trivial. Otherwise, image quality is up to scratch. The fiddly controls are still a concern, but there’s nothing to dislike about its smart design, versatile lens or low price.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,400 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent24-240mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality20fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory supplied24MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)240 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplierN/A
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight174g
Size59x104x29mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone-year RTB
Price£141
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.exilim.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangef/3.2-7.5 (wide), f/5.7-16.1 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 3200
Exposure compensation+/- 2EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controlsLighting, color filter
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus7cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, intelligent, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer

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