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

Launch SRP: S$1199

User Interface, Camera Performance and Conclusion

User Interface and Camera Performance

The EX-100’s user interface is quite easy to navigate. Pressing the Set button will bring up a list of shooting settings such as white balance and ISO. The EX-100 also comes with the usual assortment of preset modes, but the EX-100 takes it further with its Intelligent Bracketing mode.

We’re sure most of us have experienced situations where there’s a small window of opportunity such as shooting a fast-moving object. Unsure of whether the camera’s Auto setting will do a good job, we usually have to shoot in manual mode while having to decide the shooting settings such as aperture, white balance or contrast within a short span of time.

The EX-100’s Intelligent Bracketing mode helps by shooting nine images continuously while varying the settings of two parameters such as contrast and saturation. The good news is that all nine images are saved so you can choose the best-looking image of the bunch, while not having to worry about having to get the settings right on the first try.

For those coming from a smartphone shooting background, not having a touchscreen to set the autofocus area may feel a bit restrictive. But you do get the set the size of the AF area, as well as move it around the screen with the d-pad. The bad news is that you can't set the AF point while shooting in Best Shot mode or Premium Auto. So setting the AF point is restricted to the manual shooting modes and the Program mode. And if your camera happens to be set in Spot focus mode, it may not occur to those less familiar with photography that you cannot move the AF point, which is set in the middle of the screen.  

The EX-100 has an optical zoom range of 10.7x, and we found the image stabilization performed quite well even at the longest end. In terms of resolution the EX-100 scored 2,000 (vertically and horizontally). When shooting up to ISO200, the camera does a good job of keeping noise to a minimum while still retaining details. Between ISO200 and ISO400 noise starts to creep in, while details start to meld together when you hit ISO800. Images right out of the camera possess colors that are quite accurate and vibrant without being overly saturated. Besides the below photo spread, you can find even more examples of it imaging quality in our earlier preview article.

The EX-100's larger camera size also affords it a larger battery, and its battery life is rated at 390 shots, which is more than the standard premium compact camera. 

Below are sample photographs shot with the Casio Exilim EX-100. The photos have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for the full-resolution images.

 

Conclusion

When it comes to features, the Casio EX-100 definitely does not lose out. The ability to shoot at F2.8 throughout its 10.7x optical zoom range is something that you will appreciate when shooting in low light and achieving bokeh effects at any zoom level. The EX-100 also makes things easy for the casual shutterbug with its variety of shooting modes and its Intelligent Bracketing mode. The latter mode shoots nine images that have varying settings based on two pre-set parameters, which gives users a wider selection to choose from based on a single framed shot, without having to worry about getting the settings for the parameters right and reduce the chance of missing the right moment. You can vet your photos at leisure to choose your most preferred shot.

While the upcoming Sony RX100 III III is one of the few that does match up to the EX-100 in terms of wide aperture when shooting at the longest end, the RX100 III sacrifices reach as it only offers 2.9x optical zoom. The Exilim EX-100 would make a great everyday camera if it weren't for its size and price. Its size can be attributed to the tilt display, the size of its 10.7x optical zoom lens and its big glass (a common feature of lenses that can shoot at wide apertures throughout their zoom range), but some might not be able to accept a point-and-shoot that's larger than the smaller mirrorless system cameras.

What the EX-100 has going against it most is its price. At S$1,199, the EX-100 is much pricier than most of the competition. This also leads to another problem where the EX-100 is a jack of all trades but master of none.

Users expecting the best image quality and noise control will gravitate towards the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III and its 1-inch sensor. For those who prefer a more subdued price tag but with reasonable performance, there’s the Panasonic Lumix LX7 or the Panasonic Lumix LF1 which offers a bit more reach (7.1x optical zoom) but has a smaller aperture at the long end (F5.9). The Canon PowerShot S120 is also another good alternative.

And because of the EX-100's price tag, it also steps into the territory of entry level mirrorless system cameras. With compact models such as the NX Mini and Panasonic GM1, you do wonder where the Casio Exilim EX-100 truly stands. But then again, not everyone likes switching out lenses, so the more casual shooters may prefer a solid point-and-shoot over a mirrorless system camera.

This is exactly where the Casio EX-100 sits - to offer best point-and-shoot camera for travel that blends good imaging quality that bests any superzoom compact, selfie friendly with tiltable screen and shooting functions, has a reasonable zoom range and being able to shoot at F2.8 throughout for artistic photo captures (bokeh effect). If you can look past its asking price and chunky build, the Casio EX-100 fits the bill perfectly for users who need a carefree camera that will go the distance and cover most of what's needed for shutterbugs without needing to venture into advanced cameras, managing lenses or even knowing photography techniques.

8.0
Performance
8.5
Design
8
Features
8.5
User-Friendliness
8
Value
7.5
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
Pricey