High-definition and slow-motion in one unusual camera
Whichever way you look at it, Casio’s EX-F1 is an odd camera. For starters, there’s the price: it costs a whopping £700.
And then there’s the sales pitch. While most cameras advertise how many megapixels they have to offer, the EX-F1 proudly boasts that it can record images at up to a frankly mindboggling 1,200 frames per second (fps) – for comparison, a standard camera can do around nine fps, while television broadcasts use 30fps.
Used as a standard digital camera, the EX-F1 is competent but unremarkable. It takes six-megapixel images that, although small by the standards of some cameras, are good enough for decent-sized prints. The 12x optical zoom allows the user to get close to distant subjects, but as it’s controlled electronically, not mechanically (you press buttons on the camera body rather than twisting the lens) zooming in and out takes a little longer than it does on a good digital SLR.
That said, you’d be silly to spend so much on this camera and only use it for standard photos. While most cameras can shoot short video clips, the EX-F1 is amazingly versatile when it comes to moving pictures. A dial on the back allows you to quickly choose between three useful settings: high-definition video, which can be recorded in both of the common quality settings, standard 640x480 pixel movies at 30fps, and high-speed footage.
Various high-speed movie modes are available, with the size of the recording shrinking as the speed increases. This means that movies shot at 300fps are usable, while those taken at the maximum 1,200fps are really too tiny. We also found that the high-speed modes only worked well when there was a lot of light. A more useful high-speed trick is to put the camera back into stills mode, at which point it can shoot still photos at 60fps. This allows you to hold the shutter down, capturing a burst of photos, then quickly flick through and choose which of those to save for posterity.
All things considered, it’s hard not to be impressed by the EX-F1. The highest-speed modes might be of limited use, but it’s rare to find a camera that can grab 60 photos per second, let alone one that can also produce usable high-definition video complete with sound.
If you're a still-photo purist the best bet would be to pick a digital SLR, but fans of moving pictures might find that this camera is just the ticket.
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It’s expensive, but the EX-F1 is a unique and impressively versatile camera Good points Slow-motion videos are fun if gimmicky Bad points Not as good for stills as a digital SLR
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