The Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 shoots full-resolution bursts at up to 60 frames per second.

You've seen photos that freeze the action as a cricket ball hits the bat, a race car bounces over a curb, fireworks burst in the sky, or a droplet splashes into a glass of milk. Even a hobbyist photographer can take shots such as these easily with the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1, which captures up to 60 fps (frames per second) and offers several ways to exploit this unique ability.

On a trip to watch cricket, we loved the mode that prerecords frames as you half-press the shutter release. The camera saves the images only when you click the button the rest of the way. We could easily set up a shot and wait for the action. If the batsman missed the ball, no problem - we just released the button and tried again next time.

When we caught a glorious stroke, we could review the sequence on the bright 2.8in LCD to choose the clearest shots of the ball hitting the bat and bouncing away. However, we found we often missed the next ball while we were busy selecting the images, or even while waiting for all 60 images to be stored on our SDHC media card.

The Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 also makes shooting video a joy. It can record full 1080i HD video as well as video in standard TV format. However, we had most fun at the cricket filming high-speed video. The camera can shoot reduced resolutions at up to 1200 fps, but 300 fps is plenty to reveal the slow-motion contortions of a bowler sending down a ball.

If the image-stabilized, 12X-zoom makes sports photography a breeze, the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1's automatic face detection ensures that portraits are in focus and accurately exposed; you get a full set of manual modes, too. The built-in flash has two light sources - a regular strobe and an LED source for longer bursts. You can also attach an external flash to the hot shoe. One drawback: the wide-angle view is too narrow for dramatic scenery shots or large family portraits.

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The Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 shoots full-resolution bursts at up to 60 frames per second.

The Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 has a solid feel, with mostly sensible controls and feedback, but we often hit the three buttons to the left of the lens by mistake. We like that you can configure the ring around the lens to adjust the focus, zoom, or frame rate. We usually hate electronic viewfinders, but we frequently found myself using the tiny screen to compose shots accurately, despite its lack of realism.

The sensor's 6Mp resolution may seem low these days, but it's a reasonable compromise to achieve the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F's high frame rates. Image quality stood up very well to models with 8 megapixels or more in our lab tests, showing fine exposure and low levels of distortion. The chunky lithium ion cell pumped out enough power to cope with all 500 of our battery test shots. That's important because you can use a lot of juice just waiting for the right moment, let alone shooting many shots in succession.

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Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1: Specs

  • 1/1.8in high-speed CMOS Type CCD
  • Standard: 640 × 480 video (30fps)
  • still image file formats: RAW (DNG*1), JPEG (Exif Version 2.2), DCF 1.0 standard, DPOF compliant
  • Movie: MOV format, H.264/AVC, IMA-ADPCM (stereo)
  • 2.8in wide TFT colour screen
  • Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-100) x 1, AC adaptor (optional)
  • SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCard plus compatible
  • 671g
  • 127.7x79.6x130.1mm
  • 1/1.8in high-speed CMOS Type CCD
  • Standard: 640 × 480 video (30fps)
  • still image file formats: RAW (DNG*1), JPEG (Exif Version 2.2), DCF 1.0 standard, DPOF compliant
  • Movie: MOV format, H.264/AVC, IMA-ADPCM (stereo)
  • 2.8in wide TFT colour screen
  • Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-100) x 1, AC adaptor (optional)
  • SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MultiMediaCard plus compatible
  • 671g
  • 127.7x79.6x130.1mm

OUR VERDICT

At £699, the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 isn't cheap. But for subjects such as sports and wildlife photography, where high frame rates and HD video stand out, it could be worth every penny.

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