(Pocket-lint) - Every year the latest Exilim camera from Casio seems to get smaller and its latest model has made no exception to the rule. The size of a credit card (thanks to Casio opting for this model to be the first to feature a ceramic lens rather than a glass optical one) the EX-S100 fits your pocket easily, measuring only 17mm thick. Even better, it offers a very compact 2.8x optical and 4x zoom and a large 2in LCD display on the rear. Somehow, Casio has made enough room for a rechargeable battery and even an SD Card slot.
Following other Exilim cameras, the EX-S100 is an all-metal stainless steel affair apart from the buttons and battery casing and this makes for a very solid build that also gets a great wow factor when you get the camera out to use it.
At 3.2 megapixels the camera is ideal for party snaps and general pictures rather than high-end photography. A nice feature, however, is that the camera offers a “Best Shot” mode that sets the camera for the optimum setup for the shot in question. With 23 pre-programmed scene modes to choose from, you're not going to get stuck for choices. Within three presses of the D-pad, we had the camera's exposure compensation, white balance, and other settings all configured accordingly to the shot we wanted to take.
Everything is here from portrait to night scenes and overall the camera coped well with the test images we took. Images did suffer from some noise, especially when tones were similar, however for a 3.2 megapixel camera the results are still very good.
Images are either saved onto the in-built 9.3Mb of internal memory or to an SD or MMC card, unfortunately not included in the box. It's annoying that camera manufacturers are moving this way and even though the camera is only 3.2megapixels its still annoying that you'll have to buy an additional card straight away as in the cameras finest mode you be able to save a total of five images.
The EX-S100 connects to either a PC or a Mac via a USB1.1 docking station and the docking station also acts as the charger. In addition to the charging capabilities the you can also turn the unit into a photo viewer and the camera can be set up to preview the images as soon as its docked.
When the camera first arrived in the office, we have to admit we were sceptical about whether or not we could take good pictures. Why were we sceptical? Because of the camera's compactness and the new ceramic lens.
In tests however, this is far from the case. Images overall are very good for the megapixel count. We did experience a small amount of noise when contrasting colours where against each other, and when shown at full size. However as a model that is sold as an all-purpose camera, we were very pleased with the results overall. Even better for the party set, the camera is good looking enough to earn the envy points. Top Marks.