The FH100 is one of the larger long-zoom compacts, measuring 105 x 63.2 x 29.9mm, and weighing a substantial 224g including the memory card and the big 1950mAh li-ion battery. This is the same battery that powers the H15 for its class-leading 1000-shot duration, but due to the FH100’s heavier power requirements it only provides 300 shots on a full charge. This is still better performance than most of its competitors however.
The camera body incorporates a shaped handgrip on the front, with a small textured insert, while on the back the raised surround of the video shooting button provides a thumbgrip, making the camera very comfortable and secure to grip. The control layout is well designed, with the shutter button and its rotary bezel zoom control falling neatly under the forefinger.
The most obvious difference between the design of the H15 and the FH100 is the inclusion of an exposure mode dial on the right of the top panel. It is fairly straightforward, offering a choice of aperture priority, shutter speed priority, full manual or program auto exposure, as well as Casio’s usual Best Shot scene program mode. The options here are more limited than on some advanced compacts; only minimum or maximum aperture can be selected, but the full range of shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1/2000th of a second are available. Exposure values are adjusted via the D-pad and sidebar menu.
Also on the top panel is a button that activates the FH100's main selling point, its high-speed continuous shooting mode. The camera is equipped with an ultra-fast back-illuminated CMOS sensor and is capable of shooting bursts of up to 30 frames at speeds of up to 40 frames a second, at nine megapixel resolution, including the ability to pre-shoot up to 25 frames so that you don’t miss any of the action.
The high speed sensor is also used in the FH100’s video recording modes. It can shoot 720p HD video, with stereo sound recorded by two built-in microphones mounted on the top panel and a dedicated video recording button on the back, but it can also shoot ultra-high-speed video clips at up to 1000 frames a second, although at greatly reduced resolution. Video output is via a mini HDMI port located under a hatch on the side of the camera.
This high speed capture ability is also used to provide the FH100 with several other useful features, mostly found in the Best Shot menu. These include an extremely effective in-camera HDR capture mode, high-speed anti shake composite image capture and low-noise composite night-time photos. Low-light shooting is also helped by the sensor-shift image stabilisation system.