It’s been a couple of years now since the last super-skinny camera came along, the Sony DSC-T7. We loved it. It was ridiculously thin and yet felt incredibly solid. Trouble is, it’s skinniness was also its undoing – most people found it impossible to hold steady, resulting in more than the average number of blurry photos.
Thus the first super-skinny camera was also the last... until now. Casio’s new Exilim EX-S10 is a slender 15mm thick, which is slim enough that you won’t feel it in your pocket. But does it suffer from the same problem that doomed this breed the first time round?
Not learning from mistakes
In a word, yes. The very same problem of camera shake afflicts the S10 – you simply can’t hold it steady, especially with cold hands. To compound the situation, the slimming-down process seems to have meant there was no room for image stabilisation of any kind. The result is that you’ll find many images at slower shutter speeds with ghosting.
The S10’s images themselves are blessed with lovely, vibrant colours and reasonable detail – not class-leading, but not terrible. Less pleasing is the fact that the quality degrades so sharply at ISO 400 and above. Most of its competitors falter at ISO 800, but by 400 the Casio has such prominent digital artefacts and noise that you’ll wish you’d used the flash.
Actually, the flash performance isn’t that bad, certainly out-gunning the likes of the Panasonic DMC-FX100 in that department. Sadly, it can’t match the Panasonic’s excellent optical image stabilisation.
Another redeeming feature is the beautifully simple menu system, with one button press giving you access to the main settings – quality, ISO, EV, flash and the like – down the side of the screen. There’s also a dedicated button to start video capture, which is a nice touch.
Oh dear, we’ve mentioned the screen – it’s, ahem, not too great. Okay, it’s terrible. Not many cameras costing over £100 have screens so wishy-washy and smeary.
It’s difficult to criticise the EX-S10, because Casio has made such a lovely camera to hold and – screen aside – it’s a joy to use. The problems come when you look at your pics later and find the blurring and grain.