Casio EXILIM EX-H10
The Casio EXILIM Hi-Zoom EX-H10 is based around a 12-megapixel CCD image sensor behind an EXILIM Optical branded 10x zoom lens which features a generous 24mm wide angle. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.2 to f/5.7 across the zoom range, and focusing is possible to a minimum of just seven centimeters in Macro mode. Images are framed and reviewed on a 3-inch LCD display with 230,400 dots of resolution; as you’d expect the long-zoom Casio H10 doesn’t include any form of true optical viewfinder.
The Casio EXILIM H10 uses contrast detection autofocusing, and includes face detection capability. Metering choices are multi-pattern, center-weighted, and spot, and shutter speeds from 4 to 1/2,000 second are on offer. The Casio EX-H10’s ISO sensitivity ranges from a minimum of ISO 64 equivalent, through to a maximum of ISO 3,200 equivalent. Images are stored on Secure Digital cards or in 35.7MB of internal memory. Power comes from a proprietary NP-90 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, rated as good for 1,000 shots on a charge to CIPA testing standards.
A couple of more unusual features on the Casio EXILIM EX-H10 are its landscape and makeup modes. In the former, the Casio H10 owner can capture either Vivid or Mist Removal landscape photos, with the option controlled via a dedicated button. In the makeup mode, the Casio EX-H10’s face detection function is used to locate subjects’ faces, which are then automatically adjusted to yield smooth skin tones and softened shadows. Again, this function is accessed via a dedicated button.
The Casio EXILIM EX-H10 goes on sale from mid-July 2009, with only a black body color available. Pricing is set at $299.99 in the US market.
Casio EXILIM EX-H10 User Report
by Mike Pasini
The afternoon the Casio EX-H10 arrived, I popped the battery in and took a Dynamic Photo (hang on, we’ll explain) right away, having read about this unique feature on Casio’s site. I showed it to my brother, who was visiting with his two pet chimpanzees, and he was just amazed.
Then we went to dinner and, while we were waiting for the burritos, the chimpanzees showed me their photos from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. On an iPhone.
The battle lines are clear.
On the one hand, you have a phone that is trying to do everything. Phoners are aware that their gadgets are masters of none of the tricks they perform (yes, they even drop calls, unlike a land line). But they can’t get an apology in before people rave about the images they see on a screen that’s larger than a digital camera’s, and, fortunately for them, also smaller than a monitor.
On the other hand, you have the Casio H10, a pocket camera that takes better pictures. But who would know on that small screen that isn’t hip to gestures? On the small screen, everything’s just a phone shot.
So Casio has come up with the Dynamic Photo, among other tricks (like super slow-mo on some models and Make-Up mode on the Casio H10). Find a blank wall, put someone in front of it and tell them to jump around, then take the shot. When you play back the 20-frame sequence on the Casio H10, the moving part of the image will have been extracted so you can overlay it on any other shot you took, which serves as the background image.
Cool, everyone said. Then we forgot about it and flipped through the shots from Monterey of sharks, seahorses, eels, and more, enlarging with two fingers and rotating for a better display.
Or did we forget about it?
Dynamic Photo. A Dynamic Photo is an image in which something moves. It isn’t like a movie, where everything in the frame can move, but more like an animated GIF, where just a part of the image moves. And, like an animated GIF, there aren’t a lot of frames in the sequence. Just 20, which can making looping a little loopy.
I made a Dynamic Photo with the Casio H10 on my first try, after visiting Casio’s Dynamic Photo Special Site to learn about the process. The Casio H10 itself included no documentation, although the camera does help you with timely prompts for part of the process.
But I wouldn’t call capturing a Dynamic Photo on the Casio H10 easy.
The first problem I had was finding a suitable background to shoot the moving image. In this case, I enticed one of the chimps to stand in front of a bare spot on the wall and move his hand. But finding a bare spot can be tricky. You want a uniform background to make it easy for the Casio H10 to crop it out. If you happen to have a lampshade in there, you have to make sure the lampshade stays in the exact same spot of the image (or else it appears to be moving). Shadows have the same problem, so move your subject away from the wall. And you also want to make sure the bare spot doesn’t share a color with your subject or there will be holes in your moving image where the color was the same as the background.
The second problem I had was framing the movement. I had zoomed in to make the hand fill most of the Casio H10’s frame (chimps are not known for their reserve) and his hand quickly went out of the frame. I couldn’t see that, though, because to take 20 quick shots, the LCD doesn’t update. You don’t know until it’s too late. And even then, you’d be moving the camera which could easily make the background a moving object.
The third problem was taking the reference shot of the background. I couldn’t get the chimp to get his hand out of the scene. I begged. I cajoled. I bribed. Fortunately ice cream was invented long ago and my chimp took off at the mere mention of it. Then, still holding the Casio H10 where I’d shot the moving segment, I took the reference shot.
Then it got easy.
The Casio H10 took a few seconds to crop out the background and display the moving hand to me. That was pretty cool. Just like that, I had this disembodied hand flying around on a gray background. I passed the camera around. Everyone was impressed. The Casio H10 did that? Yep.
To actually assemble a Dynamic Photo, you have to go into the Casio H10’s Playback mode and get into the menu system to indicate you want to see a Dynamic Photo in action. Otherwise, you just get one of the 20 640 x 480 moving segments (with a file extension of .JPE).
When you select Dynamic Photo, you have a little work to do. The Casio H10 prompts you for a background image, then for the sequence. Your background image apparently has to be in a 4:3 aspect ratio (3:2 and 16:9 didn’t work). Because my background image was resized down to 1,600 x 1,200 and the sequence images are 640 x 480, I had to then position the moving image on the background. Once you do that, the Casio H10 plays the composited image for you, which is actually a set of 1,600 x 1,200 composited JPEGs (with the usual .JPG file extension).
Now that really was cool.
Not to mention a bit of a surprise when I transferred the first of the Casio H10’s images from the card to a computer and found I had a lotmore than I thought. Each sequence was 20 images and each dynamic photo was another 20. So there were 40 images for every dynamic photo I took.
Do you need a tripod to hold the Casio H10 still? Well, it makes it easier, but this isn’t a magic trick that requires expensive props. It’s a gag. And you can do it pretty well if you just have a blank background and hold the camera in the same position for both the sequence and the reference shot.