The Casio Exilim EX-G1 is one of the latest ‘rugged’ cameras on the market, capable of taking a beating and a dip. After writing about the potential this tiny waterproof point and shoot has in the aquarium world back in January, the kind folks at Casio sent us a unit for review. After two months […]
The Casio Exilim EX-G1 is one of the latest ‘rugged’ cameras on the market, capable of taking a beating and a dip. After writing about the potential this tiny waterproof point and shoot has in the aquarium world back in January, the kind folks at Casio sent us a unit for review. After two months with this camera, I can confirm it has the ability to capture some unique underwater aquarium images while also proving to be a reliable everyday point and shoot..
The EX-G1 is a 12.1 megapixel camera that can withstand temperatures down to 13F, drops from 2.13m, and more importantly for aquarists–the EX-G1 is waterproof at up to 10ft for one hour. The camera features a 38-114 mm equivalent lens, with a minimum focal distance of 10cm (~4″). This allows macro-like images to be taken of corals and fish, however, we found the autofocus system had some speed issues [note: auto,manual, macro, pan and infinity focus modes are available]. The Exilim EX-G1 also offers a variety of camera modes called “Best Shot’ functions which adjust exposure and white balance settings.
Like most point and shoots the EX-G1 is not a low light camera. This model does offer ISO ranges from 64-3200, but don’t plan on going past 400 for fear of serious noise degradation. Additionally I found the video worked well in bright daylight conditions, but failed to impress under indoor lighting or aquarium lighting. I would love to see this camera pack in 1080p resolution video (something begining to be offered on newer P&S)–for now it offers 848×480 @ 30fps. For additional stats on the camera, see here.
The on/off button is slightly reset preventing any accidental changes. To the right is the ‘Best Shot’ button which takes you to the best shot menu screen.
It’s not until opening the box that you realize how deceptively small and thin the Exilim EX-G1 is. Handling the camera took some getting use to, but carrying it around did not. At just 0.78″ thick it is easy to slip into your front pocket and run out the door.
In the above photo you can see the word ‘open’ with a small arrow pointing upward. With a simple twist the gear releases the sealed compartment that holds the flash memory and USB output.
The camera boasts a large 2.5″ LCD screen that looks great on the stats listing. Unfortunately the resolution could be improved. When used underwater it is difficult to tell if an image is truly in focus, even when in manual mode. For general landscape and portrait shots it served its purpose, although we opted to err on the side of taking more images just in case. Fortunately the camera comes with 35.7mb of flash memory built in and accepts microSD and microSD SDHC memory cards, allowing the Exilim to hold plenty of photos.
One of the best features I found with this camera is the lack of shutter lag. Once the button is clicked the photo is nearly immediately taken. Using a class 6 microSD card it took just over 2 seconds for the camera to write and be ready for the next shot. Not bad at all.
In the aquarium, the auto focus system can struggle locking in on what coral or animal you intend. Manual focus proved best for my needs. It takes some tinkering to get good shots under the blue halides, but I found the camera’s auto white balance to be fairly accurate. The photo below was only adjusted for color using Aperture’s auto color correction and then resized / watermarked in photoshop.
A close up of the photo above. Sharp, color accurate images like this can be difficult to capture in the aquarium. It took ~20 shots of the same coral before getting this one.
Outdoors the camera was much less finicky and the larger contrasting shapes played to the AF’s advantage. Here are a few additional pictures from an overcast Chicago day. Color rendition is spot on and contrast is not bad. Wideangle images show some distortion (see building below) and considerably softer at the edges.
At $219 the Casio Exilim EX-G1 is a mid-priced point and shoot camera that can take its fair share of abuse while also capturing good quality images. Low light performance leaves something to be desired, but this is not uncommon for its camera class.
For the aquarists, the ability to take pictures underwater is a major bonus, but I would not base a purchase on this ability alone. It is a great everyday camera that you don’t have to baby in bad weather conditions… and can also capture your favorite Acropora should the occasion arise. Currently Amazon has this camera for $219 with free shipping. If you’re looking for a compact everyday camera the Exilim EX-G1 is not a bad choice.