Reading through the list of features it’s hard to believe so much can be crammed into such a small camera. The key feature is of course the remarkable lens. While last week’s Samsung WB500 was the first, the H10 is only the second camera I’ve seen with a 24-240mm equivalent zoom range, covering everything from ultra-wide angle to a decent telephoto in one incredibly compact lens. It’s not only slimmer and lighter than Samsung’s lens, it’s also slightly faster, with a maximum aperture of f/3.2 – f/5.7. As you’ll see from the sample shots at the end of this review the optical quality is very good, with barely a trace of distortion at wide angle and good corner-to-corner sharpness.
To compensate for the long zoom range the H10 is one of the few cameras in Casio’s range to incorporate sensor-shift image stabilisation. I have to say I’ve seen more effective IS systems, but it does provide a reliable two stops of extra hand-held sharpness, and is certainly better than no IS at all. It means that the full magnification of the lens can be used at shutter speeds of around 1/60th hand-held with no blurring.
No modern digital camera could possibly show its face in public without the ability to record HD video, and the H10 duly obliges with a 1280 x 720 resolution, 24fps recording mode. Audio recording is in mono via a built-in microphone, clips are limited to 10 minutes and as is usually the case it is limited to digital zoom while recording. although the zoom lens can be pre-set before recording. The H10 has a dedicated button for video recording (that red one on the top right), and starts recording instantly as soon as it is pressed.
Everything these days needs its Unique Selling Point, and the EX-H10’s USP is its exceptional battery life. It is powered by a huge 1950mAh 3.7v Li-ion battery, around twice the capacity – and twice the physical size – of a typical compact camera battery. Casio claims that it can take 1000 shots between charges, and having taken around 200 shots and numerous video clips without the battery meter dropping even a single bar, I have no reason to doubt this. Battery life is an issue for many compact cameras, so a camera that can shoot your entire holiday on a single charge has to be worth thinking about.
Another new addition is the option to customise the sidebar function menu that has been a feature of Casio’s control interface for the past couple of years. Up to eight menu items can be selected for quick access, including ISO setting, white balance, AF mode or auto-trigger sensitivity.