Resembling its travel zoom rival in the Nikon Coolpix S9100 for soberly sophisticated design and control layout, including top mounted shooting mode dial, the Casio Exilim EX-H30 fields a high 16-megapixel resolution and 12.5x optical zoom, supported by CCD sensor shift image stabilization. Its other star asset is a class leading 1,000 shot battery life, and users even get a button to place the camera in power saving ‘eco’ mode.
Whilst the larger zoom range means that the Exilim is not Casio’s slimmest ever camera – it’s just under an inch thick - it will still fit comfortably into pocket or bag. It’s available in four colours: we had the classy black variety in for review.
Casio Exilim EX-H30: Controls
A press of the top plate on/off button and the Casio Exilim EX-H30 powers up in just over a second, lens extending to maximum wideangle setting with an audible whirr. Images and video are composed with the aid of a 4:3 aspect ratio 3-inch LCD with high-ish 460k dot resolution.
As mentioned, unusually for a minimalist point and shoot these days Casio has included a half penny sized shooting mode dial – which saves otherwise drilling into menus to find the shooting settings you want.
The Casio is quick and responsive although we found the menu layout a little confusing; it’s busy, and the fact it is overlaid on the LCD image further makes it tricky to read.
Ranged around this are the regular auto capture modes (image adjusting Premium Auto and standard auto) plus Casio’s familiar BestShot scene modes. We also, unusually again, get a silent mode for surreptitious snappers, plus aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes.
In this way the EX-H30 is similar to the Canon PowerShot SX220 HS rival, in allowing users who want to do a bit more than point and shoot to get hands on.
Otherwise the Casio’s attendant controls are what we would expect to find on a pocket model, with separate buttons for capture or review modes, control pad with central ‘set’ button in the middle of the backplate, plus separate menu and dedicated video record button – a press of which will commence filming no matter which alternative shooting mode had been selected on the top plate dial. Because of this, a video option doesn’t actually feature among the offered shooting modes. The Casio keeps shooting simple.
Casio Exilim EX-H30: Specs
Mounting a challenge to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20’s Extra Optical Zoom facility, here the Casio’s range can be similarly extended by a factor of 1.5x, to an equivalent 18.8x.
Casio adds on a mode called Slide Panorama, which, as it suggests, makes the shooting of panoramic images a cinch. Select this mode via the top plate dial, press down on the shutter release button and pan with the camera in the direction indicated (and through a maximum arc of 260°) to the sound of the shutter rapidly firing. Within seconds a seamless elongated image is automatically generated. Casio claims the camera can recognize moving subjects and omit them from overlapping images. While the resultant image appears low res, it’s a fun feature that travellers will enjoy.
Casio Exilim EX-H30: Image quality and video
More of a deal breaker for some may be the fact that the camera offers a video resolution of a not-quite Full HD 1280x720 pixels at 24 frames per second and with mono sound, a specification which falls short of the competition mentioned. Neither has Casio provided HDMI output – just standard AV and USB. Still, the Casio’s images are colour rich and detailed for the most part, meaning that they require little if any adjustment straight out of the camera. Which is exactly what anyone wants from a point and shoot camera.
Casio EXILIM EX-H30 launch date: out now, link Casio
Casio EXILIM EX-H30 price: £190-£260