I have been arguing that the digital SLR cameras and video camcorders are converging. Casio EX-F1 shooting at 60fps-frames per second embodies that trend. Okay the Casio EX-F1 does not have interchangeable lenses – rather users are “stuck with” a 12x zoom lens that performs like 36 to 432mm 35mm equivalent. Not quite as wide as this party would like but lots of telephoto capability. Likewise the sensor at 2816 x 2112 pixels seems a bit under-powered when one considers that most digital SLR are providing twice that capacity these days. And the ISO ratings also appear to be nominal: ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600. True the camera has three autofocus modes, built-in image stabilization, and a variety of white balance and shooting modes for different lighting conditions. But really, what is the great shakes in this camera?
Well is it a Still or Movie Camera ?
The great shakes are the following specs:
• 2816 x 2112 at 60fps burst of 1 second
• 2816 x 1872 (3:2) at 30 fps burst of 2 seconds
• 2816 x 1586 (16:9) at 15fps burst of 4 seconds
• 2304 x 1728 at 6 fps burst of 8 seconds
• 2048 x 1536 at 6 fps burst of 10 seconds
• 1600 x 1200 at 6 fps burst of 15 seconds
So this means one can get 60 – 6Mpixel pictures of fairly quality in 1 second or 15 per second for 4 seconds – same quality. I can think of a lot of candids and dynamic-motion shooting situations where this type of bracketing or tracking capability would be wonderful. And for a lot of sports, newspaper or website shooting the 6Mpixel images will have to be trimmed by a factor 2 or 3 before use. Suddenly one can see huge potential for EX-F1
But the EX-F1 Movie clips are nothing to sniff at as well. One can record HD 1920×1080 at 60 fps and higher quality 1280×780 clips at 30fps. Second. I have yet to find reviews of the comparative performance of the Casio EX-F1s HD movie performance. However, I have seen some of the lowend resolutions clips at astonishing 300 to 1200fps -and again for website or YouTube use these images are stunningly useful. Here are the specs:
• Standard: 640 × 480 (30 fps)
• HD: 1920 × 1080 (FHD HQ/FHD Normal, 60 fields per second), 1280 × 720 (HD LP, 30 fps)
• Hi-Speed: 512 × 384 (300 fps), 432 × 192 (600 fps), 336 × 96 (1200 fps)
One can also see diversity of reactions in both the digital SLR and the camcorder communities. Check out this reaction at Gizmodo. But at $1000, it appears Casio has come up with some potentially very disruptive and innovative technology. I know now that my Panasonic Lumix is on the fritz and the repairs appear to be prohibitive. So I am seriously looking for a Web-friendly DSLR. But to get movie taking capabilities as well – suddenly this camera is well worth investigating. I shall update readers as soon as I have managed some hands on experience.