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Casio's high-speed camera gets practical

The Exilim EX-FH20 may be slower than the EX-F1, but it has a more realistic price and feature set.


When Casio announced its high-speed megazoom, the EX-F1, the novelty of its 1,200 frames per second maximum movie frame rate sent creative juices flowing. But a variety of factors--disappointing camera features and quality, a too-high $999 price tag, relatively limited distribution and a somewhat problematic file format--combined to keep the F1 from becoming a really viable product. Casio seems to have learned a lesson from that experience. Though the F1 will remain on the market, its follow up, the EX-FH20, seems more grounded in market realities, though the sacrifice is less-stunning frame-rate specs.

Here's how they compare:

  Casio EX-FH20 Casio EX-F1
Sensor 1/2.3-inch 9.1-megapixel CMOS 1/1.8-inch 6-megapixel CMOS
Lens f2.8-4.5 26-520mm equivalent (20x) f2.7-4.6 36-432mm equivalent (12x)
Mechanical image stabilization Sensor shift None
Maximum frame rate (still) 30fps (9mp)
40fps (7mp)
Maximum frame rate (movie) 210fps at 480x360
1,000fps at 224x56
300fps at 512x384
1,200fps at 336x96
HD movie resolution 720p 1080i
Price $599.99 $999

Clearly, $600 is a more attractive price than $1,000, though still significantly more expensive than competing megazoom models like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 and Olympus SP-570 UZ. And the wide-angle lens and addition of image stabilization are both critical features for this class of camera. Furthermore, its frame rates, while not as high as the F1s, are still pretty fast--especially if you simply want good continuous-shooting speed, which is where many of the megazooms fall short. However, it also has smaller frame sizes at the slower rates, which is kind of disappointing.

Casio expects to ship the EX-FH20--you'll be able to find at more retailers--in October.