Casio EXILIM EX-S-100

I knew it would happen someday, but not today: I finally found a camera that is too small for me to comfortably use. I have medium-large hands, and 35 years of guitar playing has made my fingers quite nimble. This little Casio, however, always felt as though it was about to fall from my hands when I tried to operate the controls. It never did, though. Which is a good thing since the next reviewer (hopefully one with smaller claws that I) who receives it will doubtless go ape over this little jewel. It does almost everything my current Casio Z40 does, and more, in a thin package so slim it disappears in a pocket. No wonder so many people have taken to wearing ultracompact-cams around their neck: they might never locate them if left in a pocket.

Model-Casio EXILIM EX-S100
List price-US$399
Sensor res-3.2 megapixels
Image dimensions-2048x1536 down to 640x480
ISO-50/100/200/400 or auto
Lens focal length-4.8-13.5 mm (36-102mm equiv.)
Shutter-1/2000 to 4 second
Exposure compensation-+/- 2.0 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Storage-9.3MB built-in flash or SD/MMC
Focus-Contrast spot/multi, pan, manual
LCD screen-2.0 inch semitransmissive (85k)
Flash modes-6 modes, 1.31 to 8.2 ft (Wide)
I/O-USB cradle only
Battery-680 mAh Lithium-Ion
Weight-3.9 ounces w/o batteries
Dimensions-3.46 x 2.24 x 0.66 inches
Included-Cradle, strap, USB cable, software

The S100 is the first to use Casioās breakthrough transparent ceramic lens material, which the company claims produces a better image in a smaller and stronger form. Iāll leave it to the materials scientists to evaluate those claims, but I can vouch for the image quality this camera produces. Though ćonlyä 3.2-megapixels, all my tests were as crisp and color-accurate as any other camera in its class. Chromatic aberrations were minimal, even in summer sun reflections off the chrome details of my car. The new Casio is the smallest digicam with an optical zoom, this one sporting a 2.8X ratio. The generous 2-inch semi-transmissive LCD is your only viewfinder, but since you can see it outdoors, thatās perfectly fine with me. Like my Z40, this model comes with a superbly designed USB/charging cradle that doubles as a photo viewing stand. For space reasons, the cradle is the only way to charge the camera or to get images out. There are no other cable connections to the camera body.

The newest Casio offers the unique ability to autoswitch from normal AF to macro, and thereās a ćBusiness Shotä function that attempts to autocorrect parallax distortion of rectilinear objects taken at an angle. My results were mixed, but itās still impressive.

The all-stainless steel body looks and feels fabulous, with a contrasting grey-chrome finish on control surfaces. It even has a metal-threaded tripod socket. There are several lovely ultracompacts on the market these days from Canon and Sony, but I think Casio does it best.

öDavid MacNeill



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