Casio Exilim EX-S100
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This 3.2-megapixel shooter's small size belies all the features crammed into its ultracompact 3.46-by-2.24-by-0.66-inch stainless-steel case. Casio managed to find room for a 2-inch LCD and a 2.8X optical zoom on the Exilim EX-S100, while retaining a sensible, easy-to-use control layout. It boasts excellent performance and is packed with fun features, including do-it-yourself user-definable scene modes and in-camera HTML album generation.
This camera lacks a burst mode and the optical viewfinder that would be handy in bright sunlight. Its merely average image quality will limit the EX-S100's appeal among photographers looking to make larger-than-snapshot-size prints. However, if you're looking for a superpocketable camera with versatility to spare, this camera fills the bill.
The 5-ounce EX-S100 fits your hand easily despite its small size; however, the zoom rocker on the back panel is a bit of a reach for most thumbs when the right index finger is poised over the shutter-release button. A tiny power switch is the only other control on the clean top surface.
The large LCD dominates the back panel. It's bright and easy to view under dim and average illumination levels but tends to wash out outdoors. There's no mode dial: just press separate record or playback buttons to enter either mode. Scene modes are accessed by pressing the Set/Enter button in the middle of the four-way cursor pad, which also serves to control focus mode (up), flash options/delete (down), and one custom function (left/right). A Menu key and button to cycle through info-display options are the remaining controls on the back.
Although aperture and shutter speed can't be set manually, this Exilim offers plenty of shooting options, including 23 scene modes and exposure compensation to plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV increments. The left/right cursor keys on the camera back can be programmed to provide EV control if you prefer not to use the LCD menu system.
The EX-S100's plethora of scene modes includes all the usual suspects--Portrait, Scenery, Sunset, Night Scenes, and Fireworks--along with some less common options, such as a split-screen Coupling mode and a double-exposure option for combining a background image with a foreground shot photographed separately. The White Board and Business Card scene modes automatically straighten out images taken at a slight angle.
Especially cool is the custom Best Shot feature, which lets you select as many as 999 images and save their focus mode, exposure, ISO, white-balance, flash mode, sharpness, saturation, intensity, and other settings as a new scene mode that appears on the same menu as the factory-installed options. These custom scenes are stored on the 9.3MB of internal storage and are deleted when the built-in flash memory is formatted. Using an optional SD/MMC memory card provides some protection for your personal scenes.