Casio Exilim EX-H15 2011

The flashiest camera in our test by a considerable margin is the Casio Exilim EX-H15. On paper, it’s a fine option, with the widest lens here and a staggering battery life making it ideal for extended trips. But against the prestigious snappers, does it compete?

Technical stuff
Phil: For striking landscapes, a wide-angle focal length is a must. It lets you fit bags into the frame without having to take a couple of steps back (which often isn’t possible!) while the field of view can produce remarkable vistas. The Casio Exilim EX-H15 has the widest wide-angle lens on test at 24mm – perfect for landscapes. As it features a 10x optical zoom range, you’ll be able to get in pretty tight at 240mm, though it’s the shortest reach of the five on test. The EX-H15 also features a Landscape mode, with the Vivid Landscape feature analysing the image and intensifying key colours to produce an image with more punch than normal. There’s also Mist Removal, reducing haziness or mist. To activate Landscape mode there’s a dedicated button on the body to access it quickly without the need to dive into the menu. This function also accesses a ‘Make Up’ mode for flattering portraits.

On the hill
Simon: It’s a solid little thing, the Casio EXilim EX-H15 – but there’s a lot going on. The buttons on the back are close together, which makes operation with cold hands a bit of a fiddle, and you tend to hit the wrong button when wearing gloves, I find. It’s not exactly smooth and quiet, with the lens creaking and buzzing as it slides out and focuses, but other than that it is a quite splendid camera to use. And then there’s the toys: 42 automatic shooting modes, some of which are strangely specific, some less strangely so. Whatever you want to photograph, it’s in here: from eBay goods to crayon-effected landscapes to a truly bizarre ‘action’ mode that isolates a moving figure in a scene. It’s certainly clever, and when you get the hang of it it’s easy to use – but is it any good? Sadly, image quality let the Casio Exilim EX-H15 down a little: while generally good (as all these cameras are), shooting in Auto mode produced visibly noisier images than others, with a bit of fringeing (a blue glow) around areas of high contrast. Not bad at all – but not quite as good as the best.    

Resolution 14.1 megapixels
Lens 10x optical 24-240mm
Image stabiliser yes
Modes Auto, Landscape, Make Up modes, 42 scene modes
Weight 206g
Dimensions 103x62x29mm
Storage media SD/SDHC Movie mode HD 720p, 30fps
Monitor 3 inches, 460k dots
Connectivity USB

The Casio Exilim EX-H15 is an incredibly fun camera packed with features, well-built and phenomenally frugal – but sadly outgunned on image quality.

Review by Phil Hall of Digital Photo magazine and Simon Ingram of Trail magazine
First published in Trail magazine February 2011