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Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 Review






Again special thanks goes out to my friends at B&H Photo for loaning me this camera to review.  I am not going to spend time going through every menu and button on the camera.  There are plenty of sites you can go to for the technical details of each of these items.  My intent is to give my overall impressions of the camera and features I found useful.




















What’s in the Box:

  1. Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 Camera
    1. Features a 12X Optical Zoom (36mm to 432mm equivalent)
  2. Battery and Wall Charger
  3. Neck Strap
  4. Len Hood
  5. USB and AV Cables
  6. Remote Shutter Release Cable (really nice addition you don’t get with others)
  7. Instruction Manuals and Quick Start Guide
  8. Casio Digital Camera CD ROM
    1. Arc Soft Total Media Extreme (basic movie editing and burning software)
    2. YouTube Uploader for Casio
  9. Reference Manual on CD ROM





 


Initial impressions:

After using the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 for the past couple of weeks; I found this to be a very cool camera.  The features found on this camera are very unique and fun to play with.  Besides being a very capable single shot camera, the Casio also has some great features which are fun to work with. For example the high speed mode which shoots up to 60 frames per second (fps) in single shot mode or 7 fps in flash mode.  The camera also has a high speed video mode which lets you capture video at 300, 600 or 1,200 fps; as well as, a class leading HD video mode.



 


Let’s look at some of the awesome modes available to you with the Casio EX-F1 that helps you get the shot you want.  One mode is called Prerecorded, this mode can store from one second up to sixty seconds of images when you half press the shutter release button.  In other words, it will continuously update  a buffer of images from the last one to sixty seconds.  When you full press the shutter it records these buffered images, plus any new ones up until the shutter is released to a maximum of 60.   I used this to get a shot of orange juice being poured into a glass from above.  Just think how you could use this to capture the exact moment of a child’s soccer goal or a basketball swooshing through the basket.








Another mode that I love is the High-speed Continuous Shutter; this one will take up to 60 frames in a second.  There are two choices available, 60 fps max or until the memory is full.  Also available is a high speed flash mode that will allow up to 60 frames per second using the LED or you can use the onboard flash to capture up to 7 frames per second, with a maximum of 20 frames in one shutter press.  I used this mode to shoot some stop action photos of water drops.  I got way more keepers in just three shutter releases than in hundreds of shots with my standard camera using the exact same setup. 














Another reason I chose to review the Casio Pro EX-F1 is that it has manual modes available.  The camera has Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and even Manual which will allow the shutter to remain open up to a maximum of 60 seconds.  All the manual modes worked just as you would expect and did quite well.  The shutter speed and aperture are controlled via the menu and the rocker controls on the back.





Movie modes

This camera has some great options when it comes to movie modes.  There is the HD mode which does 1024 by 1080, using the 1080i format.   A standard mode which shoots 640 by 480, and a High Speed mode which can shoot at 300, 600 or 1,200 frames per second.  I used the high speed mode to get some great footage of my cat leaping and twisting in the air while trying to get a toy.  I also used it to shoot a small waterfall and watch it in slow motion later on my computer.  The 300 fps mode is the most useable, as both the 600 and 1200 fps modes narrow the field of view considerably and require much more light to look good.  It’s just really cool to see things that are normally too fast for the human eye to pick up, slowed down to that degree.  This mode could be used to capture sports action and slow it down for later playback and evaluation.  P.S. the movie mode records in the .MOV file format (QuickTime).

See a short clip of my cat flying through the air here - WARNING Very Large File

Or on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yILqQCQHr8s








Also worth noting is that there are separate buttons that activate the shutter release and the video modes.  The shutter release is where you would expect it, up front by the right index finger.  While the video start/stop button is on the back, where the right thumb would rest (right below it is a selector to choose high speed, HD or standard video).  I found this very handy in that I did not need to use a menu to select each mode.  I used this to shoot a local parade this weekend and found it seamless to shoot a still followed by a high speed or HD video on the fly.











The camera has an available zoom range of 32 to 432, which is really nice.  The ISO range goes from 100 to 1,600; but shows quite a bit of noise at the higher levels, so keep it as low as possible for the best outcome.















The camera also has the ability to switch between using the electronic viewfinder and the 2.8 inch LCD display; however, I found the viewfinder a little dark so I spent most of the time using the LCD to compose all my photos and movies.














Conclusion:

This is a really unique camera in its class. The high speed modes alone make this camera worth the extra cost.  I just keep thinking of new cool things to take both high speed still images and movies of.  The regular photos come out just fine; about what you would expect of an advanced compact camera with a smaller sensor.  The autofocus worked very well and I got sharp images most of the time.  Just take a look at the examples on my site to see the results.  I know when I am in the market to replace my point and shoot camera the Casio EX-F1 will definitely be high on my list of replacements.









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