Battle of the pocket friendly mega-zooms
A 10x zoom on a reasonably priced compact camera is a big draw: nobody wants their photographic creativity stifled by lack of reach. Here we take two of the best looking new 10x zoom offerings and pitch them against each the. Alongside its long zoom, Casio's Exilim EX-FH100 boasts lightening speed shooting of up to 40 still frames per second, while Fujifilm's Finepix F80EXR features a large 1/2 inch 12MP Super CCD EXR sensor for superlative image quality.
Which is worth your moolah? Read on to find out.
Design and build
Casio: There's no two ways about it - the EX-FH100 is an ugly camera by today's standards, the bulbous ridge on the front being the main problem. It's just not stylish. It is very well made, however.
Fujifilm: With it's simple, classic looking design the F80EXR manages to look both serious and stylish - a good combination for a decent compact camera. Like the Casio, it's built to last.
Ease of use
Casio: Although it may not look pretty, the EX-FH100 is a joy to use and feels exceptionally solid in the hand. Buttons on the top and back are well placed, but for features which don't have a dedicated button, you have to delve in and out of the menu system, which can be frustrating.
Fujifilm: The F80EXR is a nice camera to use and it certainly handles well. The layout of the controls and menu systems is intuitive, making it fast and responsive to use.
Casio: Although the EX-FH100's 24-240mm 10X optical zoom wideangle lens provides superb results, it takes a little long than we'd like to focus and makes an irritating noise while it does so.
Fujifilm: A quality 27-270mm Fujion 10x zoom lens, which is clear and sharp, with minimal flare and ghosting, through the whole zoom range. It’s not quite as wide as the Casio though
Casio: The EX-FH100 has a lot to offer feature wise: 10-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, dual image stabilisation, high-speed continuous shooting mode of up to 40 fps - astonishingly fast for a compact camera. Continuing on the speed theme it also boasts high-speed movie capture, for shooting movements typically too fast for the human eye, which you can play back in slow motion at 1000fps. 720 HD movie capture and YouTube capture mode. The clever compact offers full manual control and a host of handy shooting modes.
Fujifilm: Key to the F80EXR's success is it's 12MP Super CCD EXR sensor. The compact concentrates on making quality photos easy, offering Face Recognition, Pet Detection and dual image stabilisation for avoiding camera shaking. Tracking Auto Focus captures a moving subject and Super Intelligent’ flash control system, which automatically selects the correct setting to suit the situation. It also offers HD movie capture at 720p and full manual control.
Casio: Casio has equipped the EX-FH100 with a 3-inch 230k-dot Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD which we can't fault, it's brilliant: crisp, clear and bright and crucially it works in bright sun.
Fujifilm: The F80EXR features a 3-inch 230k-dot High Contrast LCD Monitor, which is nice and bright but isn't easy to see in bright sunlight.
Casio: Disappointingly, the quality of images which the EX-FH100 produces isn't great - they’re over-sharpened, flat and colour rendition is dull. Performance at high ISO's is very noisy too.
Fujifilm: In total contrast to the Casio, the Fujifilm Finepix F80EXR produces excellent quality images, which we can't fault - they are bright, sharp, punchy with no visible artefacts and ISO performance in exceptional, even in low light.
Storage and battery
Casio: The Casio has an 89Mb internal memory and takes SD and SDHC memory cards and uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery that takes 300 shots per charge.
Fujifilm: Has an internal memory of approx 40Mb and takes SD and SDHC memory cards. The F80EXR also uses a researchable lithium ion battery, which takes around 230 shots per charge.
Casio: HDMI connection lets you hook it up to a TV to watch your 720p movies, plus USB connection.
Fujifilm: As with it's rival: you get HDMI and there’s also high-speed USB 2.0
Value for money
Casio: The Casio is a pricier alternative with a street price of £270 up to £350
Fujifilm: You can pick up a Finepix F80EXR for a street price of £160 to £220 which is great value for money.
Casio: Feature-wise the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 has a lot to offer with its 10x zoom and super fast shooting. However, its disappointing image quality really lets it down. Still, it's a good compact for a sports fan.
Fujifilm: A great all-round compact camera - Fujifilm Finepix F80EXR has a versatile 10x zoom, is easy to use and produces some great images. What more could you want?
Overall Winner: Fujifilm