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Casio Exilim EX-FS10 - Casio Exilim EX-FS10
Apart from its high-speed abilities the FS10 is a fairly run-of-the-mill pocket compact, in fact in many ways it is a bit below par. It is lacking many of the features that might be taken for granted on recent cameras costing half as much. It has no image stabilisation, just a high-ISO setting to raise the shutter speed, it has no dynamic range booster, and the zoom range of 38mm to 114mm is neither wide enough nor long enough to be particularly special. It has only automatic exposure control, although Casio's usual Best Shot mode provides a comprehensive list of scene programs.
The high-speed functions are interesting, but as with the previous models some of them do have the distinct whiff of gimmick about them. Being able to shoot 1000fps video is technically very impressive, but how many times a week are you going to need a tiny 224 x 64 pixel silent movie of something slowed down by 30 times? In case you're not clear on just how small that screen size really is, the thumbnail images on the front page of this site are 100 x 100 pixels, so it's even going to look crap on YouTube. Apart from a couple of experiments with falling dominos and dripping water just to show off the technology I honestly can't think of a single use for it.
The second slow-motion feature is potentially more useful, but only under certain circumstances. When you half-press the shutter button it pre-records 30 frames at up to 30fps, and then plays them back in slow motion on the monitor. You pick the frame you want to save by pressing the shutter button. The idea is that you can choose the precise moment just as you want it, so you can capture the look on your granny's face the instant before the ice water hits her, or catch a photo of your kids when they're not pulling stupid faces. It's clever, but it doesn't really differ in results from the remaining high-speed mode.
The 30fps high-speed continuous shooting mode is genuinely useful if you regularly photograph fast-moving action such as sports. Like the other high-speed models it introduces a new way of taking action shots. Rather than just taking one shot and relying on your reflexes to capture the right moment, or shooting a few frames in burst mode and probably missing the best moment, with Casio's technology you can set the camera to pre-capture up to 25 frames, so when you press the shutter button the camera buzzes briefly and records a burst of 30 frames bracketing the time that the shutter was pressed. You can then simply scroll through the recorded pictures and save the ones you want to keep, or just save them all to sort out later if you're in a hurry. It's a good way to fill up a memory card, but you'll never miss a moment again.