The FH20's predecessor, the, got us excited with its gobsmackingly fast speed, but proved to be a gimmicky one-trick pony, a proof of concept rather than a fully rounded camera. Casio has set out to address that with the FH20, which drops the headspinning speed to merely dizzying, and makes a number of adjustments that make it more viable as an everyday snapper.
One of the criticisms of the F1 was that it packed a mere 6 megapixels, half as much as many compacts these days. The FH20 has gone to 9 megapixels, with the trade-off being a slight drop in its still-impressive speed.
How fast is it? This camera is systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic -- why, it's greased lightning! Forty stills are captured in one second, and at full 9-megapixel resolution to boot. To capture movement over a longer period, the frame rate can be varied between 1 and 40fps.
Video is pretty impressive, too. It shoots high-definition 1,280x720-pixel video at a frame rate of 30fps, or ramps up to 200, 400, 800 or even 1,000fps. We're talking Road Runner, my friend. Click through the photos for more on the EX-FH20, including more headspinning speed. Meep meep!
The screen is a whopping 76mm (3-inch) monster LCD. The electronic viewfinder boasts a decent 230,400-dot resolution, and deals well with diagonal lines, but does look rather grainy.
The FH20 shoots 40 frames per second in groups of 40, which are then grouped together in playback mode, and can be played in sequence as a slo-mo slideshow. This makes it easier to navigate between these enormous batches of photos.
The FH20 now sports a giant 20x optical zoom, challenging other high-end superzooms that don't have the added speed. It has a highly creditable focal length of 26-520mm, equivalent to a 35mm camera.
A 2GB card holds 860 shots. At 1,000fps, a 2GB card will hold 10 minutes and an 8GB card 22 minutes, but that's at a massively reduced 224x56-pixel resolution. Or you can go for 18 minutes of HD, 30fps footage.
We've seen the FH20 available online for a penny shy of £400, but that's still an awful lot of money for a non-dSLR. You'd have to really want to get your slo-mo on. Still, it's an exciting technology that points to the expanded horizons digital photography offers.