Casio gets tough with its first ruggedised camera. But can this compact hard man take refined photos?
Are you a butterfingers that likes the idea of taking photos? Then you’re probably the core market for a ruggedised camera like the new Casio EX-G1, which comes with a toughened shell, internal zoom lens and waterproof body to ensure that, no matter what you chuck at it – or where you chuck it – it’ll keep on snapping away.
Casio claims the EX-G1 can withstand a fall of 7ft (or 2.13m), and our tests (basically, we dropped it on the floor a few times) support this.
No matter whether it plummeted onto carpet, tiles or wood, the camera started up again and got straight back to business, with no physical signs of damage whatsoever.
It’s also waterproof to a depth of 3m, and again, a good dunking didn’t diminish the camera’s abilities one jot. The sealed flaps are designed to protect the microSD memory card, USB port and battery, and seem to do the job, although we did find the card to be slightly damp when we pulled it out.
Okay, so we’ve established that the Casio EX-G1 is tough – but being built like a tank is pretty much irrelevant if you can’t take decent pictures on it.
Happily, the camera passes muster on the photo front – just about. Sporting a 12.1MP sensor, the EX-G1 can turn out nice sharp, clean images if the conditions are right, but more often than not we found our snaps to be a little washed out and, in some cases, massively ruined by flare from the sun.
Colours just don’t pop as much as we’d like, and the 3x optical zoom doesn’t deliver a whole lot of reach either – but that’s forgiveable given the way the lens has to be integrated into the body for toughness’ sake. You can’t shoot ultra-close up macros either, as the minimum focus distance is around 10cm.
And despite having those 12.1 megapixels at its disposal, the EX-G1 can’t serve up HD video. SD footage is your lot here.
We weren’t blown away by the camera’s screen either, which is fuzzy and low-res, and not much use for reviewing your photos. To see how good (or bad) they are, you really need to load them into a computer.
Lastly, there’s the issue of the styling. Casio has modelled the G1 on its G-Shock watches, giving it an idiosyncratic, chunky and manly look that shouts ‘extreme sports’ from a great height. We’d prefer something a tad more elegant, but at least it’s a slim, lightweight body – perfect for slipping into the pocket of your jeans (or waterproof combats).
If you’re looking for toughness, the EX-G1 has plenty of it. When it comes to other talents, it finds itself drifting towards average. It’s a decent camera, but nothing outstanding.
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