Casio Exilim EX-H30 [mac] full review

Fielding a comparably modest 12.5x optical zoom, equivalent to 24-300mm in 35mm terms, supported by CCD shift stabilisation, this Casio Exilim EX-H30 makes up for what it lacks in length with the joint-highest resolution on test at 16.1 megapixels.

It matches the Olympus SZ-20 in that respect, while resembling the Nikon S9100 in design and control layout. As with the Canon, photos and video are composed via a 3in, 460k dot LCD, although here, the aspect ratio is the typical 4:3 rather than 16:9. Just under an inch wide, the Casio will slide snugly into a pocket. Mirroring the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20’s Extra Optical Zoom facility, the Casio’s zoom can be further extended by a factor of 1.5x to an equivalent 18.8x. The other thing in its favour, is a best-in-class 1,000-shot battery life.

A press of the top plate on/off button and the EX-H30 powers up in just over a second; a mechanical whirr soundtracks the lens as it extends to maximum wide-angle setting. Like Canon, rather than burying its shooting mode options within screen menus – which are busy and occasionally puzzling – Casio has included a dedicated dial that acts as a time saver. Two auto modes include Premium Auto – this automatically enhances shots in-camera to save recourse to Photoshop.

There are plenty of best-shot scene modes, a silent mode for stealthy snappers, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual options too. Video shooting gets its own camcorder-style record button, though resolution is 1,280 x 720 pixels at 24fps, and no HDMI output.

Quick and responsive, the Casio’s images are colour rich and detailed, requiring little adjustment; exactly what you want from a point and shoot. Travellers will enjoy the easy Slide Panorama mode selected via the top-plate dial. Press down on the shutter release button and pan in the direction indicated through a maximum arc of 260° to the sound of the shutter rapidly firing.

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