Posts Tagged ‘Cameras’

High Speed: Casio EX-FH100 Review

Casio EX-FH100 Review
Text and Photos by Allison Gibson

The Casio EX-FH100 has been making waves since its announcement at CES due to its inclusion of a back-illuminated CMOS sensor, 10x optical zoom and—most notably—high-speed video and still recording. Priced at $349.99, the FH100 offers a lot of features, including full manual shooting and the ever-alluring possibility to capture slow-motion video, all in a sleek and compact body. The fact that the FH100 can shoot high-speed movies at 1,000 frames per second (fps) and burst mode stills at 40fps tops the list of reasons that it’s an exciting piece of equipment, and the superb quality of its still image capture makes it a nice overall camera, albeit with a few frustrating UI kinks.

High Speed Still Images

High-speed shooting is accessed at any time by pressing the HS button on top of the camera, or by turning the shooting mode dial to the red Continuous Shooting option. With the HS button you can toggle between continuous shooting and single shot, regardless of whether you are in CS mode, Manual, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. Continuous shooting is not available when shooting in Best Shot mode. In continuous shooting mode, you have the option of capturing up to 30 images at rates of up to 40fps. These choices are accessed by pressing the SET button. For capturing action such as sports or fast-moving subjects such as pets, the EX-FH100 is almost unparalleled among compact cameras.

Super Slow Motion Video

As I mentioned, the show-stopping feature of this camera is its ability to shoot high-speed movies at up to 1,000 frames per second—which allows for a super slow-motion effect (33 times slower than true life). With video becoming not only popular but expected in compact cameras these days, the Casio EX-FH100 goes above and beyond in delivering exciting possibilities for creating slow-motion movies with pocket-size equipment. The drawback, however, to recording these impressive slow-motion movies at 1,000fps is that the resolution is substantially decreased, bringing videos all the way down to 224 x 64 pixels in size (640 x 480 at 120fps, 448 x 336 at 240fps, 224 x 168 at 420fps).

What Needs Work

This camera is a serious piece of equipment—both the features and the price reflect that—and yet the thing handles quite inelegantly. The screeching electronic noise that the lens motor makes when you zoom and focus is truly painful. It sounds as if the camera is frying on the inside. Frankly, it sounds cheap. And then there’s the auto focus lag, which is a problem in several of the shooting modes from the Best Shot menu—even when you press the shutter release half way down. The worst of it happens when shooting in “Multi-motion image” mode from the BS menu. Once the image is finally captured, the screen goes black and then says “Busy…Please wait…” for 15 seconds. Obviously in the interim you are bound to miss any other photo-ops. It’s hard, however, to complain too much about this when the high-speed camera offers continuous shooting mode to make sure you capture a whole sequence instead of worrying about shot-to-shot lag time. But sometimes you just want to take one picture, not 30, not 10, not even 5.

The layout of the camera’s buttons also leaves much to be desired. Where one’s thumb would naturally sit when gripping the camera, the video record button also sits. There is also the chance that a thumb will inadvertently press the HS button when pressing the shutter release because of where it sits, making it easy to accidentally switch to or from high-speed mode. The camera’s large 3-inch LCD is nice and bright, but is probably the culprit as to why buttons seem awkwardly placed in the meager space beside it.

Conclusion

The battery life of the EX-FH100 is remarkable, and its compact size makes it easily portable, though it is noticeably heavier than many point-and-shoot cameras on the market right now. Because it uses a backlit CMOS sensor, it does incredibly well in low-light, capturing sharp images even in the dimly lit temperate rain forests of northern Washington State. With a whole host of Best Shot scene modes, as well as Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, the EX-FH100 does stand alone as a feature-rich compact digicam, but if you are looking into purchasing this camera it’s most likely for its specific high-speed capabilities.

Casio EX-FH100

  • MSRP:
  • $349.99
  • Size/Weight:
  • 4.1″W × 2.5″H × 1.2″D; 0.77 lbs.
  • Image Sensor:
  • 10-megapixels, 1/2.3-inch high-speed CMOS (back-illuminated type)
  • Still Recording Format:
  • RAW(DNG),JPEG (Exif Ver. 2.2),DCF 1.0, DPOF compliant
  • Memory:
  • SDHC Memory Card compatible
  • Display:
  • 3.0-inch TFT color LCD
  • Video Recording Mode:
  • Still images: RAW/10M(3648×2736)/3:2(3648×2432)/
    16:9(3648×2048)/9M(3456×2592)/7M(3072×2304)/
    4M(2304×1728)/2M(1600×1200)/VGA(640×480) High-Speed Movies: 224×64(1000 fps)/224×168(420fps)/448×336(240fps)/640×480(120fps)/448×336(30-240fps)/640×480(30-120fps) HD Movies:1280×720(30fps)
    STD Movies: 640 x 480 (30fps)
  • ISO Equivalent:
  • Auto/ ISO100/ ISO200/ ISO400/ ISO800/ ISO1600/ ISO3200
  • Power Source:
  • Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-90) x1
  • Contact:
  • www.casio.com
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Samsung Announces ST80 Wi-Fi Digital Camera

Samsung has just announced the ST80—a 14.2MP Wi-Fi-enabled digital camera. Similar to the technology we’ve seen in the Sony Cyber-shot G3, the Samsung ST80 allows users to upload and share photos and videos instantaneously, directly from the camera to Facebook, Picasa, et al. The slim point-and-shoot offers 3x optical zoom and a 3-inch wide touchscreen, as well as Samsung’s new in-camera editing “Smart Crop” feature. The ST80 will be available in September for $249.99. Read more from Samsung below.

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Samsung Announces DualView ST600, ST100 and PL200

Samsung has just announced three new compact digital cameras—two DualView models and one 14.2MP point-and-shoot. We are big fans of Samsung’s DualView cameras here at DP (see the review of the TL225), so the new ST600 and ST100 are spiking our interest. Both 14.2MP compacts are equipped with 1.8-inch front LCDs (compared to the TL225′s 1.5-inch) and offer Schneider KREUZNACH lenses with Optical and Digital Image Stabilization. They also look a lot more sleek and modern than the previous generation. The ST600 and ST100 will be available in September for $329.99 and $349.99, respectively.

The Samsung PL200 will be available in September for $179.99. The slim (0.83-inches thick) digicam has a 7x optical zoom lens (35mm film equivalent focal length of 31mm-217mm) and can record  HD video (720p at 30fps) in H.264 format. See the press releases from Samsung for all three cameras below.

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Interchangeable Lens Camera: Samsung NX10 Review

Samsung NX10 Review
Text and Photos by Allison Gibson

Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras

A new genre has emerged in digital photography gear: the compact interchangeable lens digital camera. Not to be confused with its rival, the Micro Four Thirds system camera—which is, in turn, the rival of the digital SLR camera—the interchangeable lens digital camera is, in bare-bones terms, a hybrid point-and-shoot/D-SLR. With a large APS-C size CMOS image sensor that’s as big as those found in entry-level D-SLRs, the compact interchangeable lens camera has the advantage of a smaller, more lightweight body. The major defining difference between the compact interchangeable lens digital camera and the D-SLR is that the former is mirrorless, meaning it abandons the mirror box (which in a D-SLR is necessary for the viewfinder to see exactly what the lens sees), operating exclusively with Live View shooting—the same way that the Micro Four Thirds camera does. (See my recent review of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 to learn more about the Micro Four Thirds standard.)

So far in 2010, three cameras of this type have been announced: the Samsung NX10, which was floated as a concept at PMA 2009 and then introduced in full at CES 2010; and the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5, which were both announced on May 11, 2010 after Sony introduced the concept at PMA.

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Sony Announces Two New Alpha Series D-SLRs

Sony has announced two new a(Alpha) D-SLRs: the a290 and the a390. Both 14.2MP cameras are  regarded as entry-level or first-time D-SLRs because of affordability (Sony is calling the a290 “the most affordable new DSLR from Sony”—though they have not released official pricing. However, CNET.com reports that the a290 18-55mm kit will cost $499.99 and the a390 will be a hundred dollars more)—and because of the intuitive interface and features that they offer. Sony says, “Both cameras offer the speedy shooting responses that are prized by DSLR users. The α390 adds the extra benefit of Quick AF Live View.” The a290 and a390 will be available this summer. See the press release below.

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