updated 03:45 pm EST, Sun January 6, 2008
Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1
Helping to kick off CES, Casio today released a sweeping change to its Exilim cameras aimed alternately at budding professionals and home users invested in the iTunes and iPod ecosystems. Previewed in early form at German's IFA last year, the Exilim Pro EX-F1 is not only the company's first semi-professional camera but also the fastest in the world, according to the camera maker. In still photo mode, the EX-F1 can shoot at an unprecedented 60 frames per second; though it cannot hold this rate, it can adjust the frame rate on the fly, extending shooting time while still offering a frame rate as good or better than more expensive pro models. It also offers a 1,200 FPS video recording mode for very slow motion photography without specialized equipment, Casio notes.
The 6-megapixel camera sports a non-removable lens with 12X optical zoom and a pop-up flash that can stay synchronized with the camera at up to 7 frames per second. HD video recording is also possible at a full 1080 vertical resolution with the option of HDMI output for native display on an HDTV. Casio ships this first Pro model in March for $1,000.
Four new compacts are also being introduced and are unique in their support for Apple's video ecosystem, the company claims. In video recording mode, the company's new Exilim Card and Exilim Zoom models use the H.264 format with AAC audio, allowing movies to be loaded into iTunes, the iPhone, and all video iPods. Mac users can also edit clips easily in iMovie.
Starting these point-and-shoot models, the Exilim Card EX-S10 is the world's smallest 10-megapixel camera and measures under 0.6 inches deep at its thickest point while remaining tough with a stainless steel shell; it also debuts an Auto Shutter feature across this and the other new compact models that can automatically recognize when the camera is steady, preventing accidental blur at the moment a shot is taken. It carries a bright 2.7-inch LCD and ships in February for $250.
Three Zoom models also ship soon. The EX-Z80 is considered the relative entry model with an 8.1-megapixel sensor, 3X optical zoom, and features such as Auto Shutter and face detection; the higher-end EX-Z100 and EX-Z200 up their resolution to 10 megapixels and add a 28mm wide-angle, 4X zoom lens that helps capture very close shots as well as more distant subjects than most point-and-shoots. The Z200 adds a hardware sensor-shift feature for stabilizing the image without resorting to noisier high-ISO shots. All three ship in March at prices of $200, $280, and $330 respectively.
Exilim Pro EX-F1