The High Speed Casio EXILIM Pro EX FH20 is all about speed. 40fps continuous shooting for stills and up to 1000fps video capture, all tied in with a 20x optical zoom makes this one beast of a high speed superzoom. But is it any good, or a mere gimmick? The What Digital Camera Casio EX-FH20 review…
Image + Video Quality & Value For Money
Casio EXILIM Pro EX-FH20 – Image & Video Quality
First thing’s first, the EX-FH20’s video quality: At HD 720/30p it’s great; at 210fps (480×360) the quality is fairly poor, though the frame rate is superb and really does open up a whole new world of creative possibility. Beyond this though, the 1000fps mode is of such a tiny resolution that its practically un-useable and extremely noisy. Even the 420fps (224×168) fails to inspire given the quality of picture and hugely limited resolution. So, a gimmick? Well, yes, effectively so. But one that will capture the imagination of many and, hopefully, of competitive companies to take the idea and run with it – it’s a superb concept, but just isn’t executed to its fullest potential.
The EXILIM EX-FH20 has a 9.1MP sensor, which sounds about the right size for optimum balance between picture quality and resolute capture. However, particularly in low light, image quality does lack. Banding can be notably apparent, and shadow noise is fairly prominent. Even at lower ISO ratings in dim lighting there’s a fairly smeary, non-sharp look – though this wont be noticeable at most reasonable enlargements. Casio has included a Raw shooting option too, even a Raw + JPEG option. If you invest more time into your selection and post production then this will offer the fullest dynamic range and greatest image quality, though you have to work that little bit harder to acheive it. Whilst having the capability to shoot Raw is always a plus point, it’s a bit of a shame that the initial JPEG image quality wasn’t improved in certain areas. Undoubtedly some image engine upgrades in the future, possibly even firmware updates, will see this gradually edge forward to a more professional-like quality.
In better light image quality is fair, though Casio’s system perhaps currently doesn’t quite have the image processing prowess of some of its competitors. There are upsides such as a good flash, which makes great use for fill-in – even in strong daylight. The 26-520mm lens also offers a significant zoom range, one that outshines the majority of compacts and matches up with many other superzooms. So, whilst the ‘image surface’ quality may lack at times, the EX-FH20 has the tools to help you capture the shot, and for that reason – the ability for greater creative control of Raw, a huge zoom range and quality flash – you’ll find yourself capturing some great images that essentially outweigh a bit of shadow noise here and there.
Casio EXILIM Pro EX-FH20 – Value For Money
The Casio EXILIM Pro EX-FH20 can come at a price – £342 is around the average ask. However, at the time of writing, Jessops has it in stock for a meager £199. For that sort of money it can come nothing but recommended; it’s a steal. Towards the mid three-fifties however, and it becomes a bit of a wallet-stretch given the shortcomings.
Indeed, for around the £300 mark you could buy the 24x optical zoom Nikon P90, which – whilst covering all the features you could hope for in a superzoom – otherwise lacks the greater video functionality that the EX-FH20 has. So, really, if the video modes are the reason you’re looking to buy the Casio in the first instance then it may still be your ideal choice. For those looking for a top superzoom that places stills first, look further in your quest for the right piece of kit. But, if video’s your bag then swing by Jessops as soon as you can and pocket a bargain.