Back in June last year I reviewed the Casio Exilim EX-F1, an expensive but technologically impressive super-zoom camera featuring revolutionary high-speed continuous shooting and video recording capabilities, as well as full HD video. At a whopping £650 however the F1 was really too expensive to tempt the average consumer, so Casio has put the same high-speed technology into a compact camera, the new Exilim EX-FC100. It features a good quality 5x zoom lens, a special 1/2.3-inch 9.1-megapixel high-speed CMOS sensor with image stabilisation, and it is capable of full HD video recording, as well as 30fps continuous shooting and 1000fps high-speed video. It costs a lot less than the EX-F1, but it's still not exactly cheap. The FC100 is currently selling for around £350.
Straight out of the surprisingly small box, the initial impression is extremely favourable. Casio cameras have always been strong on stylish design, and the FC100 is a great looking camera. Despite the amount of advanced technology crammed inside it, it is a very compact design, measuring just 99.8 x 58.5 x 22.6mm and weighing approximately 180g including battery and memory card. It has a strong all-metal body festooned with complex-looking controls and equipped with a large 2.7-inch 230k monitor. My review sample is finished in an attractive matt slate grey with black trim, but a white version is also available. This is not the sort of camera that is likely to be available in pink.
In terms of its special high-speed capabilities the FC100 doesn't really have any direct rivals, but as a high-price premium compact it will be competing with cameras such as the Panasonic LX3 (£330), the Canon PowerShot G10 (£357), the Ricoh GR Digital II (£336) and the Nikon P6000 (£305). All of these cameras have their own unique talents, such as the LX3's ultra-wide angle lens, or the P6000's built-in GPS. The question is whether or not people will pay a premium price for the FC100's special abilities.