About this time last year I reviewed the extraordinary Casio Exilim EX-F1, a £650 six-megapixel super-zoom camera with some astonishing party tricks, including the ability to shoot stills at 60 frames a second, video at 1,200 frames a second, as well as record 1080p HD video with stereo audio (although not all at the same time). The F1 was the first result of Casio's newly developed high-speed CMOS sensor and image processor, and naturally having spent a lot of time and money to produce such revolutionary technology the company has been keen to maximise the return on its R&D budget. The F1 was followed by the slightly less bananas but rather more affordable EX-FH20, as well as the sleek compact EX-FC100, both of which cost around £300, but retained some of the F1's ultra-fast performance. I guess three high-speed cameras wasn't enough though, because Casio has also introduced today's review camera, the Exilim EX-FS10.
The FS10 is a slim ultra-compact camera with a corner-mounted 3x zoom lens, 2.5-inch 230k monitor and the same 1/2.3-inch, 9.1-megapixel CMOS sensor as the FC100 and FH20. If there's one thing Casio knows, it's how to make a good stylish ultra-compact, and there's no denying that the FS10 is a great looking camera. The body is made of aluminium, although it's coated with a lacquer so thick I thought it was plastic at first. Like most of Casio's compacts it's available in a range of colours including grey, red or the pale metallic blue shown here. It's an incredibly small and lightweight camera by any standard, measuring just 16.3mm thick. Its smooth rounded shape and slippery finish does make it a little difficult to grip securely, but since it only weighs 140g including battery and memory card it's not a major problem.
The FS10 has quite a few more controls than the average ultra-compact, including special buttons for the 30fps action-shooting mode and the special slow-motion pre-capture mode, and another to start video recording. It also has a small slider switch to select between normal and high-speed video. Since it also has the usual four buttons and D-pad that most other compact have, it does look a little cluttered and could appear rather daunting for the novice user. The buttons are also very poorly labelled, with symbols etched in chrome on a chrome background and impossible to see unless the light is just right.