By Neil Bennett | on June 19, 2008
Pros: Truly pocket-sized; great on-screen controls.
Cons: Miniscule buttons; few manual controls; blurry output; some purple fringing.
By far the smallest camera in this group test, the Exlim Card S10 isn’t quite credit-card sized as the name suggests, but it’s half the thickness of most of its rivals and a third of the chubby Coolpix P5100. The S10 will slip into the pocket of the skinniest of jeans, and it weighs between two-thirds and three-quarters as much as the other models.
The front of our S10 was a cleanly attractive brushed metal (though it’s also available in Apple-white, Ferrari-red, company car-blue and Goth-black), while most of the back is taken up with a large LCD screen. This doesn’t leave much room for controls, and the five buttons and D-pad on the S10’s back are miniscule and tricky to use if you don’t have tiny hands. The power button on the top and zoom rocker are similarly designed for Oompa-Loompas. The size of the rocker also limits its range, making precise zooms difficult.
If you can handle the tricky buttons, the S10 is easy to use. The widescreen LCD has a control strip along the right side, providing quick access to controls to change resolution, flash modem, face-detection modes, shutter mode, shooting mode, ISO rating, Exposure Value and, strangely, the sensitivity of the shutter trigger. The menu button accesses more advanced controls – though being a firmly consumer-focused camera, they aren’t truly advanced – but the control strip provides rapid access to the most-used controls.
The S10’s functionality is basic: there’s no optical image stabilization, so steady hands are a must. Low-light performance is poor, and there’s no ISO 3200 mode – though considering how badly shots come out at ISO 1600, this could be a blessing.
Captured shots were blurry but not noisy compared to the S10’s rivals, and purple fringing was noticeable at high-contrast edges (though not as badly as on the Ricoh R8). Colours appeared a little oversaturated.
Lens zoom: 3x
Lens (35mm equivalent): 36-108mm f/2.8-5.3
Image Stabilization Type: Digital
Effective resolution: 10.1 megapixels
Max image size: 3,648-x-2,736
Autofocus modes: Multi-point/centre
Face detection: No
ISO Range: ISO 50-1600
ISO 3200 mode max mp: n/a
Shutter range: 4-1/2,000 second
Exposure modes: Auto, 36 scene modes
Macro mode (minimum focusing distance): 15cm
Continuous shooting speed (at full res): 4fps
LCD size and resolution: 2.7-inch, 230,000 pixel
Optical viewfinder: No
Storage media: SD, SD-HC, MMC, MMCplus
Internal memory: 11.8MB
Quoted battery life: 280 shots
Colour options: Black, Blue, Red, Silver, White
Dimensions (W-x-H-x-D): 94-x-55-x-15mm
Weight (body only): 113g