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Casio Exilim EX-S10 - Casio Exilim EX-S10
One problem with small cameras, especially small, metal ones, is just hanging on to them. The slippery surface combined with the slim profile doesn't suit everyone's hands and the limited grip area of the back of the camera leaves little purchase. The S10 is typical of this, and I found a couple of instances where I nearly dropped the camera. Similarly the large surface area of the LCD leads to a build up of fingerprints, which while not a core criticism is slightly annoying.
In other ways the camera's easy to use, with most features found quickly in via the Best Shot button or in the menu. The menu itself is bright and easy to read, with everything clearly labelled.
The shutter is responsive and following the speedy auto focus, which includes face recognition and even smile detection, the camera quickly takes the picture.
It's not the most comprehensive camera in terms of control, but for the everyday snapper, there's such a wealth of choice of subject based modes that it's very rare that you'll ever mess up a picture and to the man in the street that got to be a good thing.
With such a wide ISO range, the camera suffers from about ISO 800, when noise starts to get really noticeable. At ISO 1600 it really is problematic with blotchy green and blue speckles invading the images.
Exposures are pretty reasonable on the whole, though the camera struggled with pure white subjects, and exposure compensation should be used for best results. Impressively the wide dynamic range function works well, with some tricky shots coming up trumps.
Colour too is generally good and accurate across a broad range of lighting conditions.
Where the camera falls down is sharpness, with camera shake appearing often even at relatively fast shutter speeds, and a lack of critical sharpness at the edges of the frame. Similarly the edges display some fringing.
Unsurprisingly the lens shows severe barrel distortion at the wide end of the focal range, which is common in most digital compacts, while the tele end fares better with only slight pincushion distortion.
As a small snapshooter the Casio may not suit everyone, even though it offers something for everyone. The handling is down to taste and personal physiology, so we can't expect the perfect camera, but the small form is quite fiddly.
In terms of images the camera is also hit and miss, with reasonable but not great results. A stand out feature is the dynamic range but other than that the camera produces too many blurred, noisy and distorted images. Most snappers won't notice, but there are so many cameras available that are better that it would be a shame to miss out just through ignorance.
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