You’ll have to move fast to survive in the post-apocalypse world, and unfortunately there’s nothing nitrous-injected about the EX-G1’s performance. Its start-up time of around 2.5 seconds isn’t too bad, but its shot-to-shot time in single shot mode is over four seconds, which is really pretty slow. In continuous shooting mode it isn’t much faster, managing a shot every 3.4 seconds. It also has a 3fps high-speed continuous shooting mode, but only at 2MP resolution.
As usual Casio’s autofocus system is fast, accurate and reliable, and works well in low light. The white LED shooting lamp provides enough illumination to allow focusing at a range of at least four metres, which is pretty good. The built-in flash is considerably more powerful than the official specifications would indicate. I found that it had no problem illuminating a room at a range of four metres, with a fast recharge time of less than five seconds after a full-power flash.
Image quality too is far from disappointing. The lens does produce some barrel distortion at wide angle, but not enough to be considered a problem. Sharpness is generally good right across the frame, but there is some chromatic aberration towards the edges. Dynamic range isn’t brilliant, but it is no worse than average for a 12MP compact. The exposure system does have a tendency to over-expose high contrast shots, which does at least improve shadow detail. Colour rendition does sometimes lack a little saturation for the same reason.
The biggest surprise is high ISO noise control, which is actually pretty good. The G1 produces good image quality at 400 ISO, and even at 800 ISO it retains a fair amount of detail and colour rendition remains consistent. It only really breaks down at 1600 and the maximum 3200 ISO, but this is the case with most compact cameras.
Despite its unconventional appearance the Exilim EX-G1 is actually a very competent adventure camera with class-leading shock protection. It’s a bit light on advanced features and the performance could be better, but it is easy to use and the image quality is much better than expected.