Casio's 10.1-megapixel Exilim EX-FH25 superzoom doesn't look like a particularly strong contender. Its 20x zoom range is at the bottom end of the superzoom scale, and its price tag of around £300 makes it one of the most expensive models. But the FH25's secret weapon is its high-speed continuous-shooting technology.
There are plenty of superzooms on the market, all with barely distinguishable specs and appearances. But Casio's done something different with the FH25. Its high-speed shooting technologies can capture fast-moving action. Other superzooms either don't offer high-speed continuous shooting at all, or, if they do, it's at a much lower resolution. The FH25 drops from its native 10.1-megapixel resolution to 9 megapixels -- a fairly insignificant reduction.
Let's say you're an air-show fan. The Red Arrows do a spectacular manoeuvre in which two aircraft cross just metres apart at high speed. It's exceptionally difficult to time a single shot just as they're passing each other, and it happens so quickly that, with standard continuous-shooting modes (3 frames per second, 5fps or even 8fps), there's still a good chance that the camera will miss it. That's when the FH25's 40fps shooting mode makes a real difference. The Casio's 30-frame maximum capacity means you only get a 0.75s burst at that speed, but you can trade off the 30-frame maximum against the frame rate. You could choose a 2-second burst at 15fps, for example.
The FH25 also shoots high-speed movies at variable rates and resolutions, enabling you to capture sequences that once would have required expensive and specialised professional equipment.
You get all this technology with Casio's other high-speed cameras, like the, for example, but the point of the FH25 is that it also has a 20x zoom lens, offering the equivalent of a 520mm telephoto. That means you can capture objects that are a long way off, which is crucial for photographing air shows, football games, motorsports, wildlife and so on.
Another issue with superzooms is the lens. Most lose a considerable amount of definition at full zoom, but not the FH25. It's not quite as sharp when you zoom right in, but it's still pretty good. That's why the comparatively modest 20x zoom range just doesn't matter -- it's plenty. Besides, it requires plenty of skill to get good shots at this kind of magnification, never mind going up to 24x, 26x or 30x.