Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Introduction

The Casio EX-H10 is the latest pocketable super-zoom camera, sporting a 10x wide-angle zoom lens with a focal length of 24-240mm and CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism. The 12 megapixel EXH10 also boasts a headline grabbing battery life of 1,000 shots, making it perfect for extended trips away, plus a large 3.0-inch LCD monitor and 720p 1280×720 HD movies. Measuring less than 1 inch / 25mm thick, the Casio H10 is currently the world’s thinnest and lightest camera among digital cameras with a 10X or greater optical zoom lens. Available in black, gunmetal grey and pink, the Casio EX-H10 retails at £299 in the UK and $299.99 in the USA. Can the EXH10 de-throne our current reigning travel super-zoom king, the Panasonic DMC-TZ7? Carry on reading to find out…

Ease of Use

The Casio EX-H10 is an extremely well-made, compact digital camera, with a shiny metallic grey metal body and excellent overall finish. It’s just about small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, measuring 102.5 (W) x 62.0 (H) x 24.3 (D)mm. The EX-H10 will fit inside either a trouser or shirt pocket or handbag, and it only weighs 164g without the battery or memory card fitted. Casio boasts that the EX-H10 can take 1,000 shots on a single battery charge – we managed just over 750 shots and the usual amount of image reviewing before the battery icon began to flash.

The Casio H10 features a 10x optical zoom lens that’s equivalent to a focal length of 24-240mm in 35mm terms. The 24mm wide-angle focal length provides an entirely new outlook that can only increase your creativity. You won’t want to go back to a “standard” 35mm zoom after using the 24mm lens on the EX-H10. The 10x zoom lens obviously makes this one of the most versatile compacts in terms of focal range, especially as it is coupled with Casio’s very effective anti-shake system, which helps to ensure that the majority of photos taken in good light are sharp. The H10’s lens isn’t particularly fast though at either the wide-angle setting, with a maximum aperture of f/3.2, or the 240mm telephoto setting, with a maximum aperture of f/5.7.

As with almost every Casio camera that we’ve reviewed before, the EX-H10 is one of the better models around in terms of build quality, despite being made predominantly of plastic. The overall finish is excellent, looking and feeling much more expensive than its price-tag might suggest. There’s a small raised hand-grip on the front which helps you to get a good grip on the camera, although it is a little slippery. The plastic tripod mount is dead-centre in the bottom of the camera, but changing cards or batteries is not possible while the H10 is mounted on a tripod because the compartment door hinge is too close to the tripod socket.

The Casio EX-H10 has relatively few external controls, just 12 in total, which reflects the fact that this is a simple camera in functionality terms, with very limited photographic control on offer. All the controls are clearly labeled using industry-standard symbols and terminology, with just a couple of Casio-specific buttons that require a quick read of the manual. Located on top of the EX-H10 are the On / Off button and the tactile Zoom Lever and Shutter button.

Casio EX-H10 Casio EX-H10
Front Rear

There are also two buttons above the LCD screen. The Landscape mode button makes colours more vivid, filters haze, and performs other processing that enhances the beauty of natural scenery. You can choose from two settings, Vivid Landscape or Mist Removal, with Off, +1 (Weak) and +2 (Strong) strengths available for both. The Make-up mode button smoothes the skin texture of the subject and softens facial shadows caused by harsh sunlight for better looking portraits. You can set one of 13 levels in the range of 0 (no correction) to +12 (maximum correction).

On the bottom are the tripod mount and lockable battery compartment, which also houses the SD memory card slot. On the rear of the EX-H10 is the large 3 inch LCD screen, with a number of controls to the right, including a traditional round navigation pad. You can directly access the various flash options by clicking down on the navigation pad, whilst up is used to toggle between the various Display modes (no information, shooting info, shooting info with histogram). The Set button in the middle performs two main tasks – it selects menu options, and also accesses the EX-H10’s Control Panel.

This is a vertical list of options displayed on the right of the LCD screen, which provides quick access to some of the camera’s more important options, including image size, ISO speed, auto-focus area, and continuous shooting. You can also pick and choose the settings that you want to show in the Control Panel from 14 different options. This system is a good compromise given the size of the camera’s LCD screen and therefore the limited space for external controls. It takes a little while to get used to the presence of this on-screen list, but you can toggle it off using the Display mode if it proves too distracting.

Directly above the navigation pad are the self-explanatory Playback and Camera buttons, which switch between the two modes. Above these buttons is the very welcome inclusion of a dedicated Movie button, which makes it quick and easy to shoot a movie without missing the start of the action. The EX-H10 can record HD movies at 1280×720 pixels at 24 fps, standard quality movies at 640×480 pixels at 30fps, and VGA movies at 320×240 at 15 fps, all in the AVI format.

Casio EX-H10 Casio EX-H10
Front Side

 

There are some limitations to the EX-H10’s movie mode. The AVI format choice results in some massive file sizes that quickly fill up your memory cards, and the length of a movie is bizarrely limited to only 10 minutes. The sound quality is not that great, with the usual background noise that accompanies movies shot with cameras that only have mono sound. Even worse, you can’t use the optical zoom at all during movie recording (although there is a digital zoom setting available).

The Menu and Best Shot buttons are positioned below the navigation pad. The menu system on the Casio EX-H10 is perfectly straight-forward to use. Quite a lot of the camera’s main settings are accessed elsewhere, so the main menu system isn’t actually that complicated. A row of 3 icons along the top of the LCD screen represent the Record, Quality and Set Up sub-menus, with most of the options being the kind that you set once and then forget about. Due to the large and bright LCD screen, the various options are easy to access and use, especially as only 6 are shown onscreen at one time. Accessed via the Best Shot button, the Casio EX-H10 offers Auto and a comprehensive range of 38 different scene modes aimed at the user who just wants to point and shoot, making this camera particularly well-suited to the beginner, although picking the most appropriate one can get confusing!

There is a single port on the right side of the Casio EX-H10 (when viewed from the back) which accepts both the USB interface cable required to connect the camera to a printer or computer, and the AV cable. There are no controls on the left side of the EX-H10. Overall the camera body feels very well-designed and not at all cluttered, despite the presence of the large 3 inch LCD, which has a wide viewing angle from left to right, average resolution of 230,000 dots, and is visible in most conditions. There is no optical viewfinder on this model.

If you have never used a digital camera before, or you’re upgrading from a more basic model, reading the comprehensive and fairly easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Casio have chosen to cut costs and only supply the full manual as a PDF on a CD, rather than in printed format. Not much use if you’re taking pictures and need to find out what a particular option does.

Casio EX-H10 Casio EX-H10
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The start-up time from turning the Casio EX-H10 on to being ready to take a photo is fairly quick at around 3 seconds, and it takes about the same time to zoom from the widest focal length to the longest. Focusing is very quick in good light and the camera happily achieves focus indoors or in low-light situations, although there’s no focus-assist lamp. It takes about 0.5 second to store an image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card – there is a very quick LCD blackout between each image.

In Continuous mode the camera takes just 0.7 frames per second at the highest image quality, which is very slow for this class of camera, although the shooting rate is at least maintained until your memory card is full. There are also two High-speed Continuous Shutter modes, which shoot at 10 frames per second at 1280 x 960 pixels (up to 20 shots) or 4 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (up to 8 shots), and a Flash Continuous Shutter mode, which takes 3 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (up to 3 shots).

Once you have captured a photo, the Casio EX-H10 has a good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view up to 25 thumbnails onscreen at once, and zoom in and out up to 8x magnification. You can view slideshows with different effects and interval settings and set the print order and the transfer order, and also protect, rotate, resize, trim, and copy an image.

There’s a range of options for editing your images and movies in-camera, including Dynamic Photo which extracts images of a moving subject and combines them with a still image to form a new background, Movie Editing for trimming your movies, Lighting, Red Eye correction, White Balance, Brightness, Keystone and Color Correction. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and white balance, and there is a small histogram available during shooting and playback which is helpful in evaluating the exposure. A third press of the Display button shows just the image with no information displayed.

In summary the Casio EX-H10 is a stylish, well-built and compact point-and-shoot digital camera with the obvious attractions of a large LCD screen, HD movies and versatile 10x zoom lens.

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5.5Mb.

The Casio EX-H10 produces images of above average quality. The biggest issue is noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds. The 1/2.3 inch, 12.1 megapixel sensor recorded noise-free images at ISO 80-200, but there’s some noise and slight softening of detail at ISO 400. ISO 400 shows a little more noise, and ISO 800 and 1600 are signficantly worse, with obvious loss of fine detail, colour desaturation and even more noise, and the fastest setting ISO 3200 isn’t worth using at all. The Casio EX-H10 handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not being long enough for most after-dark shots, resulting in under-exposure. Macro performance is disappointing, allowing you to focus as close as 15cms away from the subject. The images were soft straight out of the Casio EX-H10 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting. Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-H10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Casio EX-H10’s 10x zoom lens provides a focal length of 24-240mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

240mm

File Quality

The Casio EX-H10 has 3 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (4.88Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (2.53Mb) (100% Crop)
   
10M Economy (1.74Mb) (100% Crop)  
 

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-H10 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with a small amount of purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Casio EX-H10 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 15cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Casio EX-H10 are Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Soft Flash, and Red Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off – Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On – Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off – Telephoto (240mm)

Flash On – Telephoto (240mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red Eye Reduction caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night

The Casio EX-H10’s maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which isn’t good news if you’re seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 64. I’ve included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Casio EX-H10 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/6th / 24mm
1/13th / 240mm

Lighting

You can use this setting to optimize the balance between bright areas and dark areas when shooting images.You can choose from three settings, Off, On and Extra.

Off

On

   

Extra

 
 

Landscape Mode

The Landscape mode makes colours more vivid, filters haze, and performs other processing that enhances the beauty of natural scenery. You can choose from two settings, Vivid Landscape or Mist Removal, with Off, +1 (Weak) and +2 (Strong) strengths available for both. Here is an example of the Vivid Landscape setting.

Off

Vivid Landscape +2

Make-Up Mode

The Make-up mode smoothes the skin texture of the subject and softens facial shadows caused by harsh sunlight for better looking portraits. You can set one of 13 levels in the range of 0 (no correction) to +12 (maximum correction).

Off

Standard +6

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Casio EX-H10 camera, which were all taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 10 second movie is 30Mb in size.

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Product Images

Casio EX-H10

Front of the Camera

 
Casio EX-H10

Front of the Camera / Turned On

 
Casio EX-H10

Isometric View

 
Casio EX-H10

Isometric View

 
Casio EX-H10

Rear of the Camera

 
Casio EX-H10

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

 
Casio EX-H10

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

 
Casio EX-H10

BRear of the Camera / Set Menu

 
Casio EX-H10

Rear of the Camera / Best Shot

 

Casio EX-H10

Top of the Camera

 
Casio EX-H10
Bottom of the Camera
 
Casio EX-H10
Side of the Camera
 
Casio EX-H10
Side of the Camera
 
Casio EX-H10
Front of the Camera
 
Casio EX-H10
Front of the Camera
 
Casio EX-H10
Memory Card Slot
 
Casio EX-H10
Battery Compartment

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Specifications

Number of Effective Pixels

12.10 million

   

Image Sensor

 

1/2.3-inch square pixel CCD

Total Pixels

12.39 million

     

File Format

Still Images

JPEG (Exif Version 2.2, DCF 1.0 standard, DPOF compliant)

Movies

AVI format, Motion JPEG, IMA-ADPCM (monaural)

Audio (Voice Recording)

WAV format (monaural)

     

Built-in Flash Memory (Image Area)

35.7MB*1

   

Recording Media

SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card*2

   

Number of Recorded Pixels

Still Images

12M (4000 x 3000), 3:2 (4000 x 2656), 16:9 (4000 x 2240), 8M (3264 x 2448),
5M (2560 x 1920), 3M (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480)

Movies

HD: 1280 x 720 (24 fps) / STD: 640 x 480 (30 fps) / LP: 320 x 240 (15 fps)

     

Recording Capacity
(Maximum Image Size Setting)

Still Images
(JPEG)

SD Memory Card 1GB*3

Approx. 122 shots (Fine) / 234 shots (Normal) / 350 shots (Economy)

Movies

Recording Time

Maximum Recording Capacity per File: 4GB*4

SD Memory Card 1GB*3

Approx. 5 min. 27 seconds (HD)

       

Continuous Shutter

High-speed Continuous Shutter

Approx. 10 frames per second at 1280 x 960 pixels (Up to 20 shots)
Approx. 4 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (Up to 8 shots)

Flash Continuous Shutter

Approx. 3 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (Up to 3 shots)

     

Lens

Construction

11 lenses in 10 groups, including aspherical lens

F-number

F3.2 (W) to F5.7 (T)

Focal Length

 

f=4.3 to 43.0mm

35mm Film Equivalent

Approx. 24mm ultra-wide to 240mm tele.

       

Zoom

Optical Zoom

10X

Digital Zoom

4X (40X in combination with optical zoom)

HD Zoom

62.4X (image size: 640 x 480 pixels)

     

Focusing

Focus Type

Contrast Detection Auto Focus

Focus Modes

Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Infinity Mode, Manual Focus

AF Area

Spot, Multi or Tracking

AF Assist Lamp

Yes

     

Focus Range*5
(From Lens Surface)

Auto Focus

Approx. 5.9”  to infinity (W)

Macro

Approx. 2.8”  to 20” (First step from widest setting)

Infinity Mode

Infinity (W)

Manual Focus

Approx. 5.9”  to infinity (W)

     

Exposure

Exposure Metering

Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element

Exposure Control

Program AE

Exposure Compensation

-2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)

     

Shutter Type

 

CCD electronic shutter, mechanical shutter

Shutter Speed*6

Auto

1/2 to 1/2000 second

Night Scene

4 to 1/2000 second

       

Aperture*5

F3.2 (W) to F7.5 (W)*7

   

White Balance

Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB

   

Sensitivity (SOS/REI)*8

Still Images

Auto, ISO64, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200

Movies

Auto

     

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Conclusion

The Casio EX-H10 is a good travel zoom camera, offering a compelling package of compact dimensions, versatile wide-angle lens, large LCD screen and HD movies, but ultimately it comes up short in several key areas when compared to the Panasonic DMC-TZ7 / TZ6.

The EX-H10 may officially be the slimmest camera in its class, but there’s not really that much difference to its main competitors in terms of size or weight in reality. The 24-240mm lens is incredibly versatile, but not quite as much as the TZ7’s 12x 25-300mm lens. The LCD screen is appealingly large, but suffers from a rather average resolution of 230,000 dots, while the HD movie mode is hamstrung by a 10 minute time limit, large file sizes, average sound quality and most importantly the inability to use the optical zoom lens during filming.

Image quality is satisfactory rather than outstanding, with noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds, limited maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds and a disappointing macro mode. This isn’t the camera to buy if you’re looking for the best ever image quality, but it does produce well-exposed and accurate photos that will please the majority of its target audience.

Battery life is the main standout highlight, with the Casio EX-H10 easily capable of shooting between 750-1,000 shots on a single charge, depending upon how much in-camera reviewing you do. This is much better than all the H10’s rivals, so it’s a great choice if you don’t have easy access to a power outlet during a prolonged trip away.

But even that wouldn’t persuade us to choose the Casio EX-H10 ahead of the Panasonic DMC-TZ7 / TZ6 cameras. Casio’s first entry into the ever more competitive travel-zoom segment is a solid offering that won’t disappoint, but it can’t quite match its main rivals.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4.5

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Casio EX-H10.

Canon PowerShot SX200 IS

Canon PowerShot SX200 IS Review thumbnail

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS is a new 12 megapixel, 12x compact digital camera. Offering a versatile focal range of 28-336mm, 3 inch LCD screen, 720p HD movies, and full range of shooting modes for both beginners and pros alike, the SX200 IS wants to be your do-it-all, take-everywhere pocket companion. But can the Canon PowerShot SX200 IS beat the current travel zoom king, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7? Read our in-depth review to find out which one deserves a place in your camera bag…

Olympus mju 9000

Olympus mju 9000 Review thumbnail

The Olympus mju 9000 (also known as the Stylus 9000) is a new travel-zoom compact camera. Offering a 10x, 28-280mm lens in a pocketable camera, the mju 9000 also features a 12 megapixel sensor, 2.7 inch LCD screen, 1cm macro mode and 5fps shooting (at 3 megapixels). Priced at £310 / $349.99 and available in black and blue, the Olympus mju 9000 is certainly up against some tough competition, principally the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 and Canon PowerShot SX200 IS. We find out if the mju 9000 has what it takes to beat them…

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 Review thumbnail

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is a brand new entry in the travel-zoom camera category. Sporting a 12x, 25-300mm lens with optical image stabilisation, 3 inch LCD screen, 720p HD movies and 10 megapixels, the Panasonic TZ7 promises to be the ultimate do-it-all pocket camera. Available in silver, black, brown, blue and red for £349 / $399, does the TZ7 succeed? Read our in-depth, real-world review complete with image samples, videos, test shots and more…

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 Review thumbnail

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 is a new entry in the travel-zoom camera market. Offering a 12x, 25-300mm lens with optical image stabilisation, 2.7 inch LCD screen, WVGA (848×480) movies and 10 megapixel sensor, the Panasonic TZ6 is the well-appointed cheaper sibling of the TZ7 model that we recently raved about. Available in silver and black for £269 / $299, is the TZ6 a worthy alternative? Find out by reading out latest expert review…

Samsung WB500

Samsung WB500 Review thumbnail

The Samsung WB500 (also known as the Samsung HZ10W) is a compact pocketable camera with a 24mm ultra wide-angle, 10x optical zoom lens. The 10 megapixel WB500 has some impressive features, including a 720p HD movie mode, 2.7 inch LCD screen, manual shooting, and not forgetting that 24-240mm lens. Priced at $299.99 / £229, Mark Goldstein finds out if the Samsung WB500 / HZ10W is worth considering.

Samsung WB550

Samsung WB550 Review thumbnail

The new Samsung WB550 (also known as the Samsung HZ15W) is the first camera in the World to feature a 24mm ultra wide angle, 10x optical zoom lens. A direct competitor to the Panasonic TZ series of cameras, the 12 megapixel WB550 has some impressive features, including 720p HD movie mode, 3 inch LCD screen, manual shooting mode, and not forgetting that 24-240mm lens. Priced at $329.99 / £299, Gavin Stoker discovers if the Samsung WB550 / HZ15W really can depose the TZ king…

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

Casio EX-H10 Review Image

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