The FC100 is Casio’s high-speed marvel, but just how good is it? The What Digital Camera Casio EXILIM FC100 review...
Casio FC100 review
With last year’s revolutionary Exilim EX-F1 getting good reviews but selling poorly, thanks mainly to its prohibitive £650 price tag, Casio has put the same high-speed CMOS technology into a new compact camera, the Exilim EX-FC100.
It features a 5x zoom lens, 1/2.3-inch 9.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, mechanical image stabilisation, and it is capable of 1280 x 720 HD video recording, 30fps continuous shooting and 1000fps high-speed video. The FC100 is currently selling for a slightly more affordable £350.
Casio gadgets are usually strong on style, and the FC100 is a good looking camera. It has a compact all-metal body, measuring just 99.8 x 58.5 x 22.6mm and weighing approximately 180g including battery and memory card. The external controls are sensibly laid out with and despite the 2.7-inch monitor the body doesn’t look cluttered. The camera is available in slate grey or white.
That £350 tag puts the FC100 into the top price bracket for compact cameras, so the question is whether or not people will pay a premium price for the FC100’s rather unusual special abilities. It has several unique functions that revolve around its ability to pre-record still images at very high speed. It can shoot up to 30 frames a second, storing up to 30 pre-recorded frames before the shutter-press, so you’ll always capture the moment in action shots.
As well as high speed stills the FC100 has a high-speed video mode which can shoot at up to 1000 frames per second, producing dramatic slow motion effects up to 30x slower than real time, although again the resolution is restricted in these modes, ranging from 480 x 360 to 224 x 64 pixels, which is a bit disappointing.
The HD video mode can record in 720p resolution at 30fps, although only with mono audio, and without optical zoom, although digital zoom can still be used. It also has a standard 4:3 video mode, shooting at 640 x 480 at 30fps. Video clips are limited to 10 minutes in length.
As well as all this the FC100 has sensor-shift image stabilisation providing around 2.5 stops of extra stability, and the 5x zoom lens has a focal length range equivalent to 37-185mm. Menu options include multiple focus modes, manually selectable AF point and tracking AF, adjustable sharpness, saturation and contrast, and a range of colour filters.
With its high-speed performance it’s no surprise that the FC100 starts up in a little over two seconds. In single-shot mode it can shoot at approximately one frame per second, and also has a full-resolution continuous shutter mode which can shoot at 1fps until the memory card is full. It can focus almost instantly in a wide range of lighting conditions, and has a good bright AF lamp that allows it to focus in total darkness at a range of around three metres. The face detection system is also better than average.
The Exilim EX-FC100 is a unique high-performance ultra-compact with HD video capability and some entertaining and potentially useful high-speed functions. The 30fps continuous mode could be useful for action photography, but the HS video is a bit of a novelty gimmick, especially on such an expensive camera.