Casio Exilim EX-100 Premium Compact - Almost An All-Round Performer

Launch SRP: S$1199

Introduction, Design and Handling


Many people assume that any tech gadget with the latest and most impressive hardware should therefore be the best. It’s an easy way for consumers to compare products. For example, a camera with a 20-megapixel sensor should theoretically outperform one with a 12-megapixel sensor.

But having the best hardware doesn’t always equate to having the best performance and value, and that’s why not every company aims to compete in the specs race. Casio has adopted this approach with it recently announced Exilim EX-100, where it’s marketed more as an ideal lifestyle companion rather than a camera boasting the latest and greatest hardware.

But that’s not to say the EX-100 has lackluster features. The camera has the ability to shoot at F2.8 throughout its zoom range, and also has Casio’s Intelligent Bracketing function, which shoots nine continuous images while varying the settings of two parameters such as contrast and saturation.

Wait a minute, a Casio camera you say? You may not associate Casio with leading digital compact cameras, but the Japanese company is looking to change that with the Exilim EX-100.

For those who aren’t familiar with photography, the wider the aperture (in the EX-100’s case it’s F2.8 and the smaller the figure, the better), the more light you can capture. This is useful in low-light situations as a wider aperture lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed, which helps reduce camera shake in your pictures. A wider aperture also helps you keep your focus area sharp and crisp while your background gets blurred as though it has been post-processed in your photo editing software. Also known has "bokeh" effect, it helps capture an aesthetically pleasing shot where it gives the shot more depth and presence to what matters most in your photo.

It’s common for a compact camera’s aperture to narrow down as you zoom in closer to your subject. Unlike a standard compact, the EX-100 is able to shoot at its widest aperture even when you’re fully zoomed in, which is very useful in maintaining all the advantages of a wide aperture and taking advantage of it in no matter the zoom level used.


Design and Handling

Just for illustration purposes, pictured here is the Casio EX-100 (left) and Panasonic TZ-60. The Panasonic TZ-60 is a compact superzoom with 30x optical zoom, but the Casio EX-100 has the ability to shoot at F2.8 throughout its 10.7x optical zoom. As you can see, the Casio EX-100 has a thicker lens barrel to account for the larger glass needed for the constant wide aperture. The Casio EX-100 isn't a direct competitor of the compact superzoom category, but it does have some features that make it a suitable travel compact.

In terms of height, the Casio EX-100 is slightly taller than the Panasonic TZ-60. The Casio EX-100 is thicker as it also comes with a tilt display.

The first thing that you will notice about the EX-100 is its size. The camera is chunkier than your average point-and-shoot. But that’s because the EX-100 comes with a display that can be flipped up, which increases the overall dimensions of the camera. And don’t forget, when a camera has a wider constant aperture, the glass used in its lens construction is generally larger and heavier.

The EX-100 does have a reassuring heft to it, and the die-cast magnesium body also contributes to its solid and sturdy feel. There’s a textured finger grip on the front, which helps with holding onto the camera. We would have preferred it to be rubber instead of plastic though. The EX-100 comes with a control ring, and you can assign various functions to the ring such as setting white balance, ISO and zooming in and out like how you would with a DSLR lens.

The Exilim EX-100 has a textured plastic grip on the front. A rubber one would have provided more grip, but the current grip does its job pretty well.

The EX-100 with its lens fully racked out. Also note that you don't have to worry about maintaining a lens cap - it's part of the camera's design.

Thoughtfully, there’s a shutter button on the front, below the lens, which can come in handy for taking selfies with the screen tilted up. It can also be used during playback mode. For example, while you’re viewing images on the camera, the front shutter button can be assigned functions such as sending the image you’re viewing to a smartphone over Wi-Fi, which does help to save time and button presses to select an image and manually sending it over.

The top plate of the camera is pretty standard with the power button, zoom lever, mode dial and a pop-up flash.

The display cam be flipped up to take selfies. Flipping up the display will also power on the camera when it's powered off.

There's also a built-in stand beneath the display so you can set it on a surface when taking timed shots or selfies. These are small enhancements that bring about better camera usability for the masses.

On the rear you have the 3.5-inch 921,600-dot LCD display which can be can flipped up or down as mentioned earlier. Flipping up the screen when the camera is turned off will also power up the camera. The display isn’t touch-enabled, so you will have to use the d-pad to select settings and set the autofocus area. There’s a built-in stand right behind the display, which you can use to set the camera on a surface for timed shots.

You'll also find a textured thumb rest on the rear, with the ring button below it. The ring button lets you assign functions to the control ring as iterated earlier.

The Good
Shoots F2.8 throughout entire zoom range
10.7x optical zoom
Useful Intelligent Bracketing Mode
Good imaging quality
Selfie friendly features
The Bad
Chunky size
Heavier than standard point-and-shoots
No touchscreen