The FH20 has a smaller, lighter body than the rather bulky F1, something far more in line with other recent super-zoom cameras such as the Nikon P90 or Olympus SP-590UZ. It’s still quite far from petite, measuring 122.6 x 81.4 x 84.5mm and weighing a hefty 585g including four AA alkaline batteries, but it is very solidly made and the large comfortable rubber-coated handgrip provides superb handling. Of the super-zoom cameras I’ve looked at recently it’s certainly the nicest to hold.
In terms of performance it almost goes without saying that the EX-FH20 is very impressive, although it’s a bit slow to start up and shut down again, taking a little under four seconds for either operation. However in single shot mode at the highest resolution it can shoot very quickly, managing a frame every 1.3 seconds. I’ve already covered the camera’s remarkable performance in its numerous continuous shooting modes.
As usual with Casio cameras the autofocus system is very fast, and operates very well in low light or at longer zoom ranges, although like many zoom cameras it has some problems coping with both low light and extreme magnification. The camera has a bright green AF assist lamp with a range of about two metres for shooting in very low light conditions.
The Casio Exilifilm FH20 is a very versatile camera, but as is often the case with hybrid or multi-purpose gadgets it doesn’t do any one task particularly well, when compared to dedicated single-function products. It can shoot HD video, but not as well as a camcorder; it can take still images, but not as well as other recent super-zooms. Even its party-trick high-speed capabilities are eclipsed by its own stablemate the EX-F1, or the slightly cheaper FC100. It’s quite a nice camera to use, but is that enough?
While the Exilim EX-FH20 is an attractively designed and well made camera with superb handling and outstanding performance. It has some almost unique features, and although the high-speed continuous shooting is great for action photography, the 1000fps video mode is little more than just a novelty. Image noise can be problem.