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Casio Exilim EX-FC100 - Casio Exilim EX-FC100
Those special abilities are pretty remarkable. It has several functions that revolve around its ability to pre-record at very high speed. For example it can shoot up to 30 frames a second, starting recording as soon as you half-press the shutter, and storing 30 frames for up to three seconds before or after the shutter is fully pressed, on a manually-adjustable sliding scale. These frames can then be saved, either all at once or just selected frames from the sequence. It also has a lag correction facility, which continuously records to the buffer, allowing the camera to capture an image up to 0.3 seconds before the shutter button is pressed, effectively eliminating what little shutter and focus lag the camera has. In these modes the image size is limited to 6MP, but for most action photography that's a worthwhile sacrifice to avoid ever missing a shot.
As well as high speed stills it also has a high-speed video mode which can shoot at 210, 420 or 1000 frames per second, although again the resolution is somewhat limited in these modes, to 480 x 360, 224 x 168 and 224 x 64 pixels respectively. It also has a variable frame rate option, in which the speed can be adjusted manually while shooting. Shooting at 1000fps effectively slows down any action by a factor of 30, enough to capture even very fast events, such as birds' wings flapping or a golf ball deforming when struck by a club, but it has to be said that the very low resolution of these shots is a bit of a let-down. If you were hoping for slow-motion shots worthy of a BBC wildlife documentary you'll be disappointed.
The HD video mode produces better results, although it is still a bit limited. It can record in 1280 x 720 pixel resolution at 30fps, although only with mono audio from the small built-in microphone, 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.
Ignoring all the high-tech bells and whistles for a moment, the FC100 is still a competent high-performance compact camera with a good range of features and options. It has sensor-shift image stabilisation which works well, providing around 2.5 stops of extra stability for low shutter speed shots, and the 5x zoom lens has a focal length range equivalent to 37-185mm. A wider angle would have been nice, but 185mm is a good medium telephoto setting. As well as this it has multiple focus modes including pan focus and manual focus, manually selectable AF point and tracking AF, adjustable sharpness, saturation and contrast, and arrange of colour filters.
As well as the standard program auto mode, the FC100 has Casio's usual Best Shot mode, with a range of scene programs, including a couple of special ones that make further use of the pre-record function. The Move Out CS and Move In CS can record what happens immediately before or after a subject moves into or out of an adjustable boundary area within the frame. Another unusual feature is the Multi-motion image, which records a multi-exposure image on the same frame of a moving subject, giving a strobe-like effect.