By Ben Long PC World Australia | on April 28, 2009
To the left of the EX-FC100's shutter button is a button labeled '30', which toggles the camera in and out of high-speed burst mode. In this mode, you can press and hold the shutter button for up to 1 second, and the camera will shoot at up to 30 frames per second at full resolution. If you choose Fine quality (full resolution with the best-quality JPEG compression) you'll get only 21 frames per second, while Normal quality will yield a full 30 fps.
For capturing the precise moment when a cricket bat hits a ball, or when a freerunner grasps a ledge, the high-speed burst mode is invaluable. Obviously, storing 30 full-resolution frames quickly fills up your storage, so after the camera has taken the shots, it presents a simple interface for you to choose the frames you want to save, allowing you to zero in on the right moment.
Near the left side of the top of the camera is the Slow button, which gives you another option for capturing a moment. When you press the Slow button, the EX-FC100 captures 1, 2, or 3 seconds' worth of full-resolution images at 30, 15, or 10 frames per second, respectively (you can choose which speeds via a menu item). It then plays the images back to you on screen, in slow motion. When you see the frame you want to keep, press the shutter button to instruct the camera to store it.
The burst mode and the Slow button provide two approaches to the same problem, and both work well. Which one is right for you depends on the situation and your reflexes. With the 30-fps burst, you should be able to easily capture the moment when a runner's foot hits home plate, while the Slow mode will be easier for capturing the precise moment of impact between ball and bat.
My only complaint about the burst features is that they're too fast for some situations. When shooting portraits, a burst mode can be handy for capturing subtle changes of expression, but expressions don't change 30 times per second; a burst speed of 3 fps is fine for that type of shooting. It would be nice if Casio had included a slower, more traditional burst capability in addition to the high-speed burst.
The EX-FC100's rechargeable lithium ion battery handles all those burst features well. In PC World Test Center battery evaluations, this Exilim shot 317 photos on a single charge, earning a battery-life rating of Very Good.
Like most point-and-shoots, the EX-FC100 can shoot video (standard- or high-definition) with sound. Video quality is very good, though you cannot use optical zoom while shooting video (typical for the video features on most cameras).
The EX-FC100's video features also exploit the camera's ability to record full frames at high speed. In addition to its normal video mode, a separate high-speed video mode lets you shoot 480-x-360 video at 210 fps, 224-x-168 video at 420 fps, or 224-x-64 video at 1000 fps. The video plays back at a 30-frames-per-second rate, meaning these high-speed modes allow you to record slow motion. You'll probably find the 210fps mode the most useful, as it yields the frame size that's closest to normal SD video. While the 1,000fps mode is interesting, the extremely odd frame size and low-quality results make it only marginally useful.