Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

Reading through the list of features it's hard to believe so much can be crammed into such a small camera. The key feature is of course the remarkable lens. While last week's Samsung WB500 was the first, the H10 is only the second camera I've seen with a 24-240mm equivalent zoom range, covering everything from ultra-wide angle to a decent telephoto in one incredibly compact lens. It's not only slimmer and lighter than Samsung's lens, it's also slightly faster, with a maximum aperture of f/3.2 - f/5.7. As you'll see from the sample shots at the end of this review the optical quality is very good, with barely a trace of distortion at wide angle and good corner-to-corner sharpness.

To compensate for the long zoom range the H10 is one of the few cameras in Casio's range to incorporate sensor-shift image stabilisation. I have to say I've seen more effective IS systems, but it does provide a reliable two stops of extra hand-held sharpness, and is certainly better than no IS at all. It means that the full magnification of the lens can be used at shutter speeds of around 1/60th hand-held with no blurring.

No modern digital camera could possibly show its face in public without the ability to record HD video, and the H10 duly obliges with a 1280 x 720 resolution, 24fps recording mode. Audio recording is in mono via a built-in microphone, clips are limited to 10 minutes and as is usually the case it is limited to digital zoom while recording. although the zoom lens can be pre-set before recording. The H10 has a dedicated button for video recording (that red one on the top right), and starts recording instantly as soon as it is pressed.

Everything these days needs its Unique Selling Point, and the EX-H10's USP is its exceptional battery life. It is powered by a huge 1950mAh 3.7v Li-ion battery, around twice the capacity - and twice the physical size - of a typical compact camera battery. Casio claims that it can take 1000 shots between charges, and having taken around 200 shots and numerous video clips without the battery meter dropping even a single bar, I have no reason to doubt this. Battery life is an issue for many compact cameras, so a camera that can shoot your entire holiday on a single charge has to be worth thinking about.

Another new addition is the option to customise the sidebar function menu that has been a feature of Casio's control interface for the past couple of years. Up to eight menu items can be selected for quick access, including ISO setting, white balance, AF mode or auto-trigger sensitivity.

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miha

October 16, 2009, 1:07 pm

IQ score of 8/10 seems about right for a compact camera, however there are a few points to IQ that didn't get mentioned in the review and are bleeding obvious from what I can make out of sample shots and camera's specification:





- there's visible edge preserving smooth type of noise control applied on even the lowest ISO settings. Small detail is pretty much lost with it so forget about printing small crops out of original JPeGs.





- Lens might be good compared to latest Samsungs you reviewed, it is still a rather slow performer with 3.2-5.7 at 24-240mm range compared to similarly priced Panasonics (even certain Canons), especially at the farthest focal points and overall sharpness at any focal distance hardly impresses.





- Dynamic range is really not improved at all with "Extra Lighting" feature. At best, it is what the name suggests, about +1E stop sensor sensitivity increase. Highlights will get burnt out even more but you'd get a bit more of shadow detail out in a visible range JPeG compression won't flatten out.





All in all, it seems a fairly reasonable compact camera and all this won't matter much to a casual user on a family picnic. Shame about the white balance, tho I'd guess that's something Casio can mend with a new firmware update. Still, no replacement for my aging TZ5 :( What I'm waiting/searching for is close to LX3's image quality (even if on smaller resolution sensor, anything over or around 5MB is plenty if it would mean noise is better controlled) all-in-one in a pocket friendly priced and sized package and a fast, medium range lens. Too much to ask for?





Take care and thanks for making my morning coffee time more bearable with all the new and interesting reviews ;)

Charles Stephens

October 16, 2009, 7:28 pm

I have to totally agree with miha! These high range compacts just cannot tick the right baxes,time the manufacturers lowered their aspirations and produced compacts that put iq as a priority.

Williamn

October 17, 2009, 6:48 pm

Hi





Random question. Are there any compact cameras (or DSLRs) that come with an option for an external microphone?

ontheweb

October 21, 2009, 8:10 pm

Comparing this camera to a TZ5 is unfair, since the TZ5 a lot thicker and no where near as pocketable.

Cliff Smith

October 25, 2009, 8:34 am

Williamn - Some of the more advanced DSLRs that feature HD video recording can use external mics, specifically the Canon EOS 5D MkII, Panasonic Lumix GH1, Nikon D300s and D90, and the Pentax K-7. No compacts do though, at least as far as I know.

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