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Casio Exilim EX-S12 - Casio Exilim EX-S12

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Of course the tiny size of the EX-S12 is both a blessing and a curse. While it is small and light enough to take anywhere, and well-made enough to survive being squeezed into a hip pocket, there's no denying the fact that it is a bit fiddly to operate. To make room for the big screen the tiny buttons and scaled-down D-pad are crowded together on 15mm-wide strip that also has to hold the instant video recording button and still leave enough room for your thumb. It is possible to hold the camera without getting your thumb in the way of the screen, but it's not easy. It's not helped by the lovely shiny finish of the body, which is a bit slippery even with dry fingers.

Once you get to grips with it though, the EX-S12 is a very enjoyable camera to use. The controls are quick and responsive, and Casio's usual sidebar menu makes adjusting the many features quick and easy. It does have a wide range of features both fun and useful. Firmly in the first category is the "Make up" function, which uses face-detection techniques to re-touch portrait faces to smooth out skin texture, remove wrinkles and soften shadows. The effect is adjustable, with an on-screen slider providing 12 strength settings. The lower levels are mildly flattering to anyone over the age of 40, but the higher settings do look a bit freakishly plastic.

Another new option is the Lighting feature, which is just Casio's version of the automatic contrast compensation that is rapidly becoming a standard feature on all new cameras. It is useful though, helping to improve shadow detail in high-contrast shots giving the S12 a surprisingly good dynamic range. Other advanced features include the Auto-Shutter, which can be set to detect blur, panning or smile, and of course face detection. The Best Shot mode includes some fun options too, including Silent Movie, Multi-motion Image and of course a YouTube capture mode.

The stand-out feature for this camera though is the HD video recording mode, which is looking like this year's must-have option. The EX-S12 can shoot at 1280 x 720 resolution at 24 frames per second, with mono audio and clip length limited to 10 minutes. The optical zoom cannot be used while recording. The video quality is pretty good, and the audio is at least acceptable, if not really up to the standard of more expensive rivals.


October 28, 2009, 8:07 am

Am a beginner with this camera. Just gotten. Why? Having had a Casio EX-ES770 for over two year, it gave me fine service, but offered only "SD" quality video. Mr. Smith above gives a fine mini-review. We cannot expect true "HD" or perfection from these minicams, but I do a great deal of YT docuumentation. See " reidwelch" channel for samples of Canon HV30 "near pro" "HD", and then the old Casio 770, and now, the latest: this beginner's first trials with the Ex E12: essentially similar to the older Casio, but HD and with improved audio and video quality. It is not an equal to a dedicated camcorder such as the Canon HV30/40, etc, but =it fits in the pocket= and can be whipped out at a moment's notice (see my video at YT, "Miami Gas Station Robbery"...that was a shock-situation, and I had only the old EX ES770. Now, I can do higher definition if wanted, PLUS, this compression format is compatible with plain, old Windows Movie Maker. It is easy to edit even "HD" footage. See latest, first real test (imperfect as it is) of THE FOUNTAIN, video #17 at both the reidwelch channel, and at the TZ5A channel (same video maker). It will not equal a true "HD" high-price camera: but it works =better than it predecessors, and uses a simple, old-school compression scheme that is easy to edit on WMM that most Vista PC computers have as standard. It is simple, neat, and imperfect...but careful learning of its limitations, should give me in time, exactly enough quality to make quick and superior YT videos for my many YT general and specific documentary accounts. "HD" is now the thing for YT. "SD" is...last year. And, again: you get what you pay for. For the best YT "HD" video, you'd buy a relatively large, higher-bit-rate dedicated camcorder. That's all for now. More impromtu reviews will come for both here and to share at YT. Thanks, all, and Mr. Smith, in particular.

All is changing so rapidly: what's "good" today will seem laughably inadequate in a few years...but, for well under $200US, delivered, this old friend's (the 770) baby brother is just fine. I am happy with it, withal.


July 17, 2011, 1:45 pm

I bought my Exilim EX-S12 in Munich an year ago for 150 Euros. It is a wonderful piece of camera and I love it.Video quality is excellent for this price. Unfortunately, my grand daughter ran across the cable when it was connected to my TV and dashed it against the wall. At first nothing seemed to have happened and from outside everything looked fine, not a single scratch. Any other camera would have gone to pieces.Later I noticed the flash and the zoom didn't work. Otherwise I can take photos as usual. Is it possible to repair it? I am in Colombo, Sri Lanka

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