Casio Exilim EX-F1: Sneak Peek

Casio's newest camera is an amazing hybrid of still and video performance.

It's tough to put Casio's new Exilim EX-F1 (street $999) neatly into a box. Yes, it is a capable 6 megapixel Electronic Viewfinder camera with an amazing 60 frames per second (for one second) burst rate at full resolution. But it is also a full HD video camera at 1920 x 1080 pixels also at 60 frames per second. If that weren't enough, it is also ultra high-speed video camera, albeit at resolutions below VGA pixel dimensions. It will capture up to 300 frames per second at 512 x 384 pixels and 600 frames per second at 432 x 192 pixels. At 1200 frames per second, the video clip is limited to address-label size: 96 x 336 pixels. At 30 frames per second playback, one second of real-time equals 40 seconds of video at this highest frame rate. The videos are tiny, but incredible!

The Casio Exilim EX-F1 is headed to the Pop Photo lab for our full battery of still camera tests as I write this, but we couldn't resist experimenting with 1200 frames per second video first. We're sure that there are practical reasons for capturing 1200 frames per second video -- ranging from scientific studies of waves, reactions, and such, to analysis of sports motion of world-class athletes to refine a serve, swing, pitch or entry position during a high dive -- but the pure "wow" factor of bullet time has a universal appeal.

There's no audio, and focal distance is locked; and in our initial experiments, bright daylight works best for capturing high-speed video. We're still experimenting and learning about this cool camera. Stay tuned for our Certified Lab Test, but for today, enjoy and be amazed by our three video samples, Ice Cube (below), Egg Drop, and Fire!

We downsampled slightly to compress the videos to a manageable bandwidth while striving to preserve as much detail as possible. No clip is larger than 2 megabytes, but please be patient while the video loads.

ICE CUBE

We've added blue food coloring to the water to make it more dramatic. It took a couple of tries to get this just right. Embarassingly, we completely missed the glass on a couple of occasions. And dropping the cube near the edge of the glass makes for a more chaotic and assymetrical splash. Total real-time excluding fade-in/out: Just over 1 second.

EGG DROP

That's a scalding-hot cast iron skillet left on a gas grill for half an hour. Then we added a pat of butter and let that melt, and here comes an extra-large egg, cracked 18 inches above the pan. Total real-time excluding fade-in/out: Just over 1 second.

FIRE
That's your basic book of matches. And here comes a flame. Followed by smoke, sparks, and more flames in a dazzling cascade of action and reaction. Total real-time excluding fade-in/out: Just over 4 seconds.

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