Casio introduced its high-speed CMOS sensor technology with the revolutionary Exilim EX-F1, launched just over two years ago. It followed it up early in 2009 with the EX-FC100 premium ultra-compact, and the EX-FH20, a more compact super-zoom model. Having demonstrated that it works in both those formats, Casio has now applied the same technology to the lucrative and highly competitive long-zoom compact, or “travel camera” market. The result is the Exilim EX-FH100, a 10x zoom, 10 megapixel compact camera offering a huge range of features.
The FH100 will be competing against some very popular and well-established cameras, including Casio's own EX-H series, such as the new EX-H15 (£190) that I reviewed last week. Rivals from other manufacturers include the immensely popular Panasonic TZ10 (£240) and TZ8 (£210), as well as the Samsung WB550 (£150) and WB650 (£250), the Canon SX210 IS (£210), the Olympus mju 9000 (£240), the Nikon S8000 (£190), the Sony HX5 (£264) and the newly-announced Pentax RZ10, as well as a number of others. Against this competition the FH100's asking price of £249 may seem a little expensive, but it does offer some features that none of its rivals can match.
The design of the FH100 clearly owes a lot to the shape of the EX-H15 and its predecessor the H10, but the resemblance is mostly superficial. Like the H15 it has a strong body made mostly of aluminium with plastic on the top panel, it has the same three-inch LCD monitor (although only 230k resolution), and the lens certainly appears to be the same as the H15, a flush-folding 10x zoom f/3.2 – f/5.7 11-element construction with aspherical elements and a focal length range equivalent to 24-240mm. However there the resemblance ends, because the FH100 includes a much wider range of controls reflecting its more serious remit.