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Casio Exilim EX-H10 - Casio Exilim EX-H10
The Exilim EX-H10 starts up in approximately two and a half seconds, which is pretty quick for a long-zoom camera, although its shot-to-shot time of three seconds is a bit on the slow side. In the normal continuous shooting mode it can't do much better, taking approximately 2.5 seconds per shot. It has two faster continuous shooting modes, one at 4fps and another at 10fps, but they are limited to 2MP and 1MP respectively. There is also a continuous flash shooting mode, but this too is limited to 2MP.
While the shooting speed may not be too quick, there's nothing wrong with the performance of the autofocus system, which is very fast and accurate even at the longest focal length. It works well in low light too, focusing quickly even in darkness thanks to a bright green AF assist lamp. Flash range is adequate at around three and a half metres, and frame coverage is good even at extreme wide angle.
Overall image quality is just as good as one might expect from a premium camera. As I've already noted, the lens is excellent, with good overall sharpness and minimal distortion. There is a little blurring and chromatic aberration at the far corners, but it's quite minor. The 12.1MP sensor captures plenty of detail which is all recorded thanks to the extremely low compression of the Fine quality JPEG mode, producing image files of around 7MB, twice the size of most 12MP compacts.
Casio seems to have made some significant progress in noise control over the past year, and the H10 performs extremely well at higher ISO settings. Image quality at 400 and 800 ISO is excellent, and even 1600 ISO produced usable results. The only weak point I encountered, and it's just about my only nit-pick on what is generally an outstanding camera, is the automatic white balance, which is terrible, especially in low light. As weak points go it's something I think I could live with.
Casio's compact cameras keep getting better and better. The EX-H10 is quite expensive, but it offers the kind of features and image quality that you'd expect for the price. Build quality is excellent, the camera is easy to use and has superb low-light performance. Shooting speed is a little slow though, and the auto white balance is a bit poor.