Casio has developed a digital still camera that can shoot at a rate of 60 photos per second at full resolution.

A prototype of the camera was unveiled on Friday at the IFA show in Berlin. It has a large 12x optical zoom lens behind which sits a 6.6-megapixel image sensor. In burst shooting mode it can take up to 35 images at the 60 frame per second rate -- the equivalent of just over half a second of action. That's much faster than is possible with competing digital still cameras.

There's also a high-speed shooting mode that manages as many as 300 images per second, but not at full resolution. The images are restricted to VGA quality (640 pixels by 480 pixels) and are recorded not as individual JPEG files but as a Motion JPEG movie file. Each frame can be seen by pausing the movie and advancing frame-by-frame.

Casio will also build in a pre-shot function that lets the camera capture images and buffer them before the shutter button is actually pressed. That means you'll still be able to capture action even if you're a little slow at pushing the shutter button. When the button is pressed, the camera records the images taken from that moment and onwards, and also those captured in the viewfinder immediately beforehand. The amount of buffering has yet to be decided.

Such high-speed photography is usually restricted to high-priced specialist cameras. The price and launch date of Casio's new camera has not yet been decided.

Other features include a 2.8-inch rear monitor and a viewfinder. The prototype measures 127.5-x-79.5-x-130mm and weighs about 650g.