Casio EXILIM EX-H10 review
Performance, Image Quality & Value
Casio EXILIM EX-H10 review - Performance
The EX-H10's secret weapon is certainly its battery life. You can expect to take hundreds of shots from a single charge, playback, delete and record movies with little fuss. It's notably good compared to many competitors and the three-stage battery indicator in the bottom left of the LCD's display is straightforward to understand.
In other areas however there are occasional frustrations. When ‘Make Up' mode is activated from the quick-access top button - despite its good functionality in the right situation - the processing time of your shots is noticeably increased. Whilst this is a necessary time increase, it's rather easy to forget to turn it off too, potentially leaving you missing that next great shot. Vivid Landscape, next door to the ‘Make Up' button, seems to have been awarded a prime spot for an otherwise relatively simple function. It's screaming out for a more complex array of modes and controls beyond the automated settings to really set the H10 apart from the competition.
The 24mm wide angle lens is an excellent addition, especially as the 10x optical zoom sees a 240mm telephoto zoom available. Not a huge number of compacts offer a zoom of such substantial proportions in a small compact, so this does set the H10 apart from some of the competition. Instead of lens-based image stabilisation the H10 opts for sensor-shift stabilisation instead, assisting in keeping your images sharper and countering camera shake. It's not ground-breakingly extensive but certainly offers some counter to those shaky hands.
A slight quirk - if not oddity - is the inclusion of Dynamic Photo mode. This allows for animations to be included in your ‘dynamic photos'. Think still image with an animated GIF overlay of your choice rather than a movie (not to confuse the two, as 720p movie capture is available in an entirely different mode). For example it's possible to download animations, through from twinkling stars to roaring dinosaurs, using Casio's site http://www.exilim.com/dp/en_intl/download/index.html. It's even possible to ‘cut out' subjects from your pictures and apply them into a different image. The rule here is certainly ‘fun', though it's not necessarily that straight forward that young kids will pick it up immediately, plus the results are only suitably ‘kiddy' - not a seamless process with totally professional appearance.
Casio EXILIM EX-H10 review - Image Quality
Whilst the H10 retains good detail and low-noise image quality at ISO 100-200, this takes a turn into softer, less detailed proceedings at ISO 400-800, with a further quality step-down and significant noise increase at the higher end of ISO 1600-3200.
The latter two aren't particularly useful given the lack of detail, whereby edges are blurred; not ideal for low light photography. In addition slight purple fringing is apparent throughout some images, making the overall image quality the H10's biggest let down - a shame considering how well it otherwise performs and what is on offer. Shoot in good light or with flash though and your images will be perfectly fine, if not equally as good as many other competitors' compacts.
Casio EXILIM EX-H10 review - Value For Money
The 24mm wide angle 10x optical zoom lens is where the Casio H10 provides some value. And yet, in saying that, at £250 it's actually quite expensive when there are some highly-advanced compacts also out there, albeit ones with lesser zoom lenses for the same money. For example, the Casio H10 doesn't have a touchscreen LCD and there are no fully manual options to get more creative as compared to a number of similarly-priced competitors' cameras. The H10 therefore only really gets by at such an asking price given the lens's zoom capability and long battery life - a bit of a shame there are a number of gaps that, if more competitively filled with up-to-the-minute technology would pose a really top product.