DCRP

Casio Exilim EX-FH100 Review

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor

Originally Posted: August 15, 2010

Last Updated: August 18, 2010

The Casio Exilim EX-FH100 ($349) is a feature-packed compact ultra zoom camera. At its core is a 10 Megapixel, back-illuminated CMOS sensor that allows for high speed continuous shooting, video frame rates as high as 1000 fps (at low resolutions), and HD movie recording. Other features include a 24 - 240 mm lens with image stabilization, a 3-inch LCD display, full manual controls with RAW format support, tons of scene modes, and HDMI output.

The FH100 faces tough competition from the likes of Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. How does it perform? Find out now in our review!

What's in the Box?

The Exilim EX-FH100 has an unremarkable bundle. Inside the box you'll find:

  • The 10.1 effective Megapixel Exilim EX-FH100 digital camera
  • NP-90 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Battery charger
  • Body cap
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Photo Transport and YouTube Uploader
  • Fold-out Quick Start guide + full manual on CD-ROM

While most of their cameras have almost no built-in memory, Casio has put a whopping 85.9 MB worth into the EX-FH100. This stores up to thirteen fine quality JPEGs, which is pretty good compared to the competition. Even so, the built-in memory will fill up quickly, so you'll want to buy a memory card right away. The FH100 supports both SD and SDHC cards, and I'd recommend a 2GB or 4GB card to start with. It's worth spending extra on a high speed card, though you don't need to go overboard and buy a Class 10.

The EX-FH100 uses the NP-90 lithium-ion battery for power. This fairly large battery can hold an impressive amount of energy -- 7.3 Wh to be exact. Here's how that translates into battery life:

Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot SX210 IS 260 shots NB-5L
Casio Exilim EX-FH100 * 520 shots NP-90
Fuji FinePix F300EXR 250 shots NP-50
Kodak EasyShare Z950 180 shots KLIC-7003
Nikon Coolpix S8000 210 shots EN-EL12
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 300 shots DMW-BCG10
Ricoh CX3 * 310 shots DB-100
Samsung HZ30W 270 shots SLB-11A
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V * 310 shots NP-BG1

* Has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor

Battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer

Casio has long been one of the best manufacturers when it comes to battery life. The EX-FH100 maintains that tradition, with the ability to take 520 shots on a single charge of its powerful battery. That's twice as many as most of the cameras in the table above!

I do need to mention a few things about the proprietary batteries used by all of the cameras on the above list, though. First, they're expensive, with a spare NP-90 setting you back around $50. In addition, should this battery die, there's nothing you can buy at a corner pharmacy to get you through the rest of the day. There's nothing you can do about this, though, as all of the compact ultra zooms are the same way.

When it's time to charge the NP-90, just pop it into the included charger. It takes about 200 minutes to to fully charge the battery, which isn't too bad considering how much energy it can store. This charger does not plug directly into the wall -- you must use a power cable.

As with all compact cameras, the FH100 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with.

The EX-FH100 has a very limited accessory selection. In fact, the only things I can come up with are spare batteries and camera cases in every color imaginable.

It is here where I normally talk about the software included with a camera, but Casio gives you just two very limited applications. The first is Photo Transport (Windows only) which, despite its name, is used for copying photos from your computer to the camera. The second is YouTube Uploader (also only for Windows), which saves you a few steps when you want to send a video to the popular sharing service.

You're on your own for everything else. Want to copy photos from your camera to your computer? That's a manual process. There's no editing software included, so you'll need to pick something up for that. The camera supports the RAW format (Adobe DNG to be specific) so if you use that, you'll need to find software that can work with it (might I suggest Photoshop Elements?). Mac users can get along just fine using iPhoto for working with JPEG and RAW still images, as well as the movies produced by the FH100.

Oh, and if you have no idea what RAW is, I'll tell you. In a nutshell, RAW files contain unprocessed image data direct from the camera's sensor. You'll need to process them on your computer before you can do anything else with them, but this allows you to adjust things like white balance, exposure, and noise reduction, without reducing the quality of the original image. In other words, it's almost like taking the photo again. The downsides to RAW include the much larger file sizes, the fact that you can't use it for any of the high speed shooting modes, and the need to process each and every image on your computer in order to save them in more commonly used formats. The RAW format is only usable at ISO 100 and 200 on the FH100, for some bizarre reason.

The EX-FH100's manual situation is becoming all too familiar these days. There's a fold-out "quick start" guide to get you started, but if you want more details, you'll have to load up the full manual, which is in PDF format on an included CD-ROM. The quality of the manual itself is just average. Documentation for the bundled software is installed onto your computer.

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