The H20 is a very good general purpose camera that consistently produces very good to excellent images and video clips with very little effort on the part of the individual behind the camera.
Timing and speed are among the most important considerations when assessing digital camera performance. The H20 comes in right in the middle of the herd; it isn't the quickest digicam in its class, but it isn't the slowest either.
Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused)
|Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR||0.01|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX75||0.01|
|Casio Exilim EX-H20G||0.01|
|Canon PowerShot G12||0.04|
AF Acquisition (press-to-capture, no pre-focus)
|Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR||0.19|
|Casio Exilim EX-H20G||0.23|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX75||0.28|
|Canon PowerShot G12||0.50|
This digicam (which should appeal primarily to travelers and casual shooters) is quick enough to capture youth sports and the decisive moment - in most cases, but it probably is not quick enough to capture pro or extreme sports.
The H20 is driven by its EXILIM Engine HS which features a 1/2.3-inch square pixel CCD sensor and two parallel image processors for quicker and more efficient operation.
Many techies will already have GPS devices in their cars, but the EX-H20G provides a portable (in the field) system to track position, outdoors or indoors, against map data stored in the camera's on-board memory. Push the dedicated GPS button on the camera's top deck and the EX-H20G will display a map with the shooter's precise location and the photos and movies taken at any place on that screen map. Tourists rejoice, the Exilim EX-H20G is pre-loaded with 10,000 sightseeing spots around the globe. When in the vicinity of one of these world class photo ops, the EX-H20G will automatically alert shooters.
The H20 doesn't provide an uplink connection to the web, so there is no way to add maps or update stored data. If you live in a provincial backwater (like I do) rather than in one of the world's great cities the maps are large scale and very generic. Whenever I accessed the GPS system the camera would display a map that covered north central Kentucky and south central Indiana (centered on Louisville) for about 100 miles in every direction. A two hundred mile radius map on a 3.0-inch screen provides little information that is actually useful.
For those travelers who regularly visit London, Paris, NYC, L.A., Chicago, Beijing, Tokyo, and Rio the H20 will provide a truly portable GPS system that will locate the user precisely and then display a smaller scale map and the quickest routes to major tourist attractions in those cities. The H20's GPS system reacts fairly quickly - providing a map in something between two and three seconds after pushing the dedicated GPS button on the cameras top deck.
The H20 features the same TTL Contrast Detection AF system as it sibling the H15. The H20 provides several focus modes including: Intelligent, Spot, Multi, and Tracking. The H20's AF is dependably accurate.
The H20's built-in multi mode flash provides an acceptable selection of artificial lighting options, including Auto, Flash off, Flash on, Soft Flash, and Red eye reduction auto. Flash recycle time (with a fully charged battery) is between 4 and 5 seconds.
The H20's image stabilization system reduces blur by quickly and precisely shifting the image sensor to compensate for minor camera movement. Image stabilization allows users to shoot at shutter speeds up to three f-stops slower than would have been possible without it. Image stabilization can also be useful when shooting dimly lit indoor venues where flash is inappropriate.
The H20 draws its juice from a Casio NP-90 rechargeable lithium ion battery. Casio provides no battery life claims, but based on my use of the camera over a two week period I'd put battery life at something between 200 and 250 images on a single charge.
The H20 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory media, but provides no built-in memory.
The H20's f/3.2-5.7 4.3-43mm 10x optical zoom (equivalent 24-240mm) has 11 elements in 10 groups with one aspherical element. Many premium tier point-and-shoots offer zooms with maximum apertures of f/2.8, which makes the H20's f/3.2 maximum aperture just a bit slower than much of the competition. When the H20 is powered up, the zoom extends from the camera body automatically, and when the camera is powered down, the lens retracts into the camera body and a built-in iris-style lens cover closes to protect the front element. Zooming is smooth and relatively quiet. Minimum focusing distance (in super macro mode) is just shy of three inches. The H20 needs between 3 and 4 seconds to move the zoom lens from the wide angle end of the zoom range to the telephoto end of the zoom range.
The H20's zoom is surprisingly good even though it displays some minor corner softness, but there's no vignetting (dark corners). Barrel distortion (straight lines bow out from the center of the frame) at the wide-angle end of the zoom range is above average, while pincushion distortion (straight lines bow in toward the center) is below average at the telephoto end of the zoom range. Chromatic aberration (also known as purple fringing) is very well controlled. Here's an interesting feature - enable the Exilim EX-H20G's Single Frame SR Zoom function and the 10x zoom becomes a 15x zoom that (according to Casio) maintains the same image quality level as the 10x zoom, but with a 35mm equivalent telephoto focal length of 360mm.
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