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Hands-on with EX-FC100

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Yesterday we were teased by Casio's new 30fps compacts, but the company was unwilling to talk details until the show opened for real today. This morning we headed over to the Casio stand - this reporter denies claims he was seen skipping on his way - to get a closer and more intimate look at a couple of very cool cameras.

We're going to start with the slightly larger Exilim EX-FC100. This, by appearance at least, is a fairly standard compact camera. Measuring 99.82 x 58.41 x 22.6mm (WxHxD) and weighing 147 grams (sans battery), it features a 1/2.3in, 10.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 37 - 185mm. It has an ample 2.7in, 960 x 240 screen and can shoot at up to 1,600 ISO.

It must be said that, at 37mm at the wide end, the lens lacks the wide-angle of many current compact models, but this camera is intended mainly for action photography rather than holiday snaps - not that it can't do this as well. Like Casio compacts of recent times it's an attractive piece of design, with a dark grey/silver metallic body that also feels very sturdy.

Its button layout is intuitive. On the back a circular navigation dial is flanked by four menu buttons, while above it sits the movie control button and mode switch. Its placement, at the top right corner, also acts as a thumb rest to aid handling. Along the top is the ubiquitous shutter button and this is joined by the two most important buttons on the camera, the 'Slow' motion button on the far left and the '30fps' high speed burst mode button.

Starting with the High Speed Burst mode, this allows you to take full resolution shots at an incredible 30 frames per second. This makes it possible to take multiple shots very quickly, picking the best shot from the selection of shots. It also helps eliminate blurring in fast action shots, or telephoto shots. Meanwhile the slow motion mode, which shoots video at 1,000fps, makes it possible to record some awesome slow motion moments - something we tried out with great success.

In general operation the camera was very responsive, as you might imagine it would be given its fast burst mode. So, though it does lack the wide-angle lens seen on some compacts, this is one camera that's definitely worth looking for a review of. Cliff?

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