Although issued under the ‘Exilim’ brand, with the inference of the slender chassis that Casio arguably pioneered back in 2002, the extended focal range ensures that the EX-H20G is inevitably bulkier than the average 3x, 4x or 5x zoom compact. That, and the fact that its blocky body is also slightly reminiscent of its G-shock watches, subconsciously helps the camera to feel reassuringly solid when gripped, as does the fact that construction appears more metal than plastic. Although resembling a toughened camera, in fact it’s neither shockproof nor waterproof; a shame as these are features which might have further added to compatibility with a traveller’s lifestyle. Dimensions are officially 102.5×67.5×28.8mm and the Exilim has a manageable weight of 216g, so it will slip easily into most pockets.
As a minor concession to a handgrip, there’s a raised modelling knife-shaped section at the bottom left hand corner of the faceplate, into which it’s possible to dig a couple of fingernails. Four teeny raised nodules on the backplate, adjacent to a useful dedicated video record button, provide a point of purchase for the thumb. All told, it feels more comfortable to shoot two-handed. However, if you like to hold your camera with your left thumb on the back, you’ll find little room to fit it so will inevitably end up resting it on the edge of the 3-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio LCD screen, smearing it with prints.
As well as standard shooting information, the camera’s screen reveals its GPS credentials by also displaying your location in text on a bulletin board type set up at the bottom. This was slightly off-message in informing us we lived in the neighbourhood bordering our own, but could potentially come in useful if you awake in the back of a cab miles from anywhere after a heavy night.
For everyday pointing and shooting we get a choice of two auto modes, regular auto and image enhancing (and marginally slower) Premium Auto. Both are located with a press of the ‘BS’ (Best Shot) button on the camera back, existing here in lieu of the more regular mode dial. In total there are a whopping 27 ‘BS’ options covering a wide range of common subjects, though mostly biased toward photographing people or landscapes.
The overall control layout is fairly simple. The largest button is the shutter release, which is encircled by a lever for adjusting the zoom. The adjacent top plate buttons are the on/off control plus a further two that pertain to the GPS functionality. These are the ‘map’ button, denoted by the icon showing the baseball-shaped globe, and next to it the ‘current location’ button. A press of the former and the user is presented with a miniature world map, that, with a nudge of the zoom lever, it’s possible to zoom into and enlarge sections of – a bit like with Google Maps, albeit with a lot less detail. You can get within a few miles of your actual location however, whereupon the camera flags up local points of interest – Kew Gardens and Heathrow Airport in our case – that might be worth a photo. It feels slightly gimmicky, though is sure to find favour with those who like their gadgets. Latitude and longitude coordinates are also embedded with each image file.
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