Casio EX-G1 Review

February 17, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Casio EX-G1 is the latest tough camera on the block, the first such model from Casio, and currently the World’s slimmest shock-resistant, waterproof, dustproof digital camera. Measuring just 0.78-inch thick, the all-action EX-G1 can be used at depths at 10 feet / 3 meters for 60 continuous minutes, survive falls from seven feet / 2.13 meters and withstand temperatures as low as 14°F / -10 °C. Other key features include 12 megapixels, a 3x (38-112mm) internal zoom lens, 2.5 inch LCD screen, interval shooting and multi-image capture. The Casio EX-G1 is available in black and red priced at £279 / $299.99.

Ease of Use

For those who like their gadgets small, slim and ever so slightly fiddly - in contrast to an exterior toughness - there's the 12.1 effective megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD incorporating Casio Exilim EX-G1, resembling a conventional point-and-shoot pocket camera that's had a fight with a compactor.

Its body shape, wider at one end than the other, and so with sloping edges, also recalls the imperfections of Mother Nature - a discarded piece of slate or flint perhaps found on a countryside ramble, particularly in its gritty grey-black incarnation we had for review. Yet the various ultra-modernistic dials, knobs and controls give it the impression of a Swiss army knife re-imagined for a Terminator or latest generation Batman movie. So while from some angles it looks a bit odd, from others the EX-G1 appears very cool indeed.

Feeling solid when gripped in the palm despite its svelte dimensions and depth of a mere 19.9mm - which Casio is claiming as the 'world's thinnest profile' - the camera is further shock resistant to drops of up to 2.17 metres (Casio's own testing), weather and waterproofed to depths of three metres for up to an hour, plus dust-proofed and freeze-proofed to -10°c, though such low temperatures will impact on battery performance.

We were a little surprised to find that despite the overall rigid nature of the build, complete with industrial-style bolts on the faceplate a la Panasonic's FT1, the glass protecting the lens had been left exposed to fingerprints and fluff that quickly attached itself when fetching it in and out of pockets. Given the premium £279 suggested UK retail price (premium for a point and shoot at least), surely a slide open and shut automatic metal lens cover could have been implemented?

In fairness the EX-G1 has everything else, the lens surrounded by a resin lens ring to protect from impact, plus dampened mount and reinforced glass with a multi coating to (theoretically) avoid reflection. The wide angle 3x optical zoom provided, equivalent to 28mm-112mm in 35mm film terms, is internally stacked so that at no point does it protrude from the body and so into harm's way. An acrylic plate protects the LCD from water pressure and shocks, being, claims Casio, 1.5x thicker than a conventional LCD panel.

Perhaps as a hint at the kind of owner it is trying to attract to the EX-G1 - adventure sports enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies aside - Casio has opted for a microSD card beloved of mobile phone users for its chosen storage media. That's even though there looks to have been room for a conventional SD/SDHC card slot instead. Thankfully then it has thoughtfully supplied a proper SD-sized adapter to provide compatibility with older desktop card readers.

This being a Casio, hand holding for those who just want to point and shoot comes in the form of its multiple Best Shot scene modes. These are individually user selectable, as well as being collectively incorporated into the camera's Auto Best Shot (BS) mode.

Casio EX-G1 Casio EX-G1
Front Rear

This is presented alongside regular auto, and all are discovered with a fingertip press of the top-mounted 'BS' button, at which point the user is presented with a series of on-screen thumbnails displaying the various options so as to avoid any confusion whilst trying to navigate an alpine pass on a pair of skis at the same time. Choices include time lapse stills (at intervals of 10 or 30 seconds, one or three minutes) and movies (intervals of three, ten, 20 or 30 minutes), the common-use regulars of portrait and landscape settings, alongside snow and beach and underwater options - that's 26 Best Shot options in total if you include regular auto and voice memo mode.

Movies of 840x480 pixels in widescreen ratio are Motion JPEG format with mono sound, with a continuous duration of up to 10 minutes if a sufficiently large card is inserted to expand the minimal 35.7MB on-board memory. Helpfully a 2GB microSD card came supplied with our review sample, which allows for around 20 minutes. Macro close ups down to a distance of 10cm from your subject can also be achieved - as long as the camera can be held steady enough, with mechanical image stabilisation providing a limited degree of back up. Otherwise light sensitivity is fairly broad for what is otherwise a standard-issue point and shoot compact, running from an equivalent ISO 64 up to ISO 3200.

If you do take an awkward tumble with this camera there's solace to be taken in the fact that - hopefully - only your limbs will end up broken. The EX-G1 is protected by a two-layer construction that comprises a stainless steel outer body and waterproof 'inner body' constructed from polycarbonate reinforced with fiberglass to absorb impact.

While the above all sounds like good news, and vaguely exciting with it, as we mentioned in our intro, operation of this Exilim is due its compacted nature ever so slightly fiddly, even without the addition of ski gloves.

The on/off button is recessed into the top plate and has a ridged top to provide purchase, which is fair enough, but it is very small indeed. Next to this is the Best Shot button, which might have been better placed at the camera's rear, as several times I mistook this for the power button when my attention was focused on subject rather than camera.

There's no mistaking the shutter release button however, raised a little higher and being the largest one here, inset into a circular chrome outer disc like a cog in a wheel. It is little details like this that give the EX-G1 its at once futuristic yet industrial (strength) look and feel, arguably the best thing about it.

Press the power button and the camera powers up in just over a second, 2.5-inch LCD screen fading up from black to relay the image before your lens with an accompanying beep of affirmation that you're ready to frame your first shot and get shooting.

Casio EX-G1 Casio EX-G1
Front Front

Of course there's no optical viewfinder as an alternative, and, though the quality/visibility of the screen is fit for purpose there is some corner shading visible when composing pictures indoors against neutral backdrops. Go on to take a shot and, with ever so slight shutter lag in its default single shot mode, a maximum resolution Fine quality JPEG file is committed to memory in around three seconds; an average showing then.

Whilst the front of the camera is an austere looking affair with lens, a barely visible pin prick housing a built in microphone, plus bright white AF assist/self timer lamp and built-in flash all featuring, once again this is a camera on which fingertips can stray into shot if the user isn't too careful, due to the lens' location at the top right hand edge of the faceplate, and the lens itself at no point extending beyond the inner shell.

With the sloping top plate matching in its minimalism, it's the back of the EX-G1 and right hand edge where a rotate of a nicely chunky dial causes the catch for the cover protecting the card port to open, that attracts the user's interest.

We've been spoilt of late by three inch screens on compacts so the 2.5-inch variety here feels a tad small, though as we've noted it does the job. Like Panasonic's G-series Micro Four Thirds cameras, Casio here includes a dedicated record button for the shooting of videos rather than stills, the advantage being that the user doesn't have to duck out of a particular mode to select a video option - hit the record button and you're away and filming. Neat!

Just below this and top right of the screen itself, standing barely proud of the body is a toggle switch for operation the zoom, square shaped pads provided for alternating between wideangle and maximum telephoto in capture mode, or enlarging portions of an image or displaying a series of thumbnails in playback/review.

The action of the optical zoom is responsively swift, yet smooth and virtually noiseless, traveling through its range in a couple of seconds, with the option to extend this further into the realm of the digital zoom/crop if so desired (and implemented via the menu button).

Beneath the zoom control is a slanted but otherwise self-explanatory playback button for reviewing captured images, and underneath this again a four-way directional control pad with ridged unmarked set button at its centre for affecting any changes made in conjunction with a press of the menu button just beneath. Rather than having dedicated functions attributed to its four corners as on the majority of rival compacts, here there are just markings for 'display' at 12 o'clock on the pad and a joint image delete or flash adjustment option at six o'clock.

Casio EX-G1 Casio EX-G1
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Press this central control button without pressing the menu button first and alternatively a Canon-alike toolbar appears at the right of the LCD display. This presents key shooting options running from top to bottom. As the user tabs through these choices a side bar extends from right to left across the screen showing the various sub-options for each setting.

From the top, there's the ability to choose resolution and image ratio - from 12 megapixels down to three megapixel stills or VGA (640x480 pixels) video - and subsequently widescreen, standard format or Long Play video options. Next icon down, we again get a chance to adjust flash - auto, off, forced on, soft flash (for portraiture) and red eye reduction - and next choose from the self-timer options. These include two, ten seconds or a 'x3' option which counts down to the first image being taken and subsequently takes a further two shots a second apart - useful when you want to include yourself in a group photo and hedge your chances of everyone with their eyes open in at least one image.

Continuing down the side toolbar we next come to the auto focus options - starting with intelligent auto focus and moving onto spot and multi area focus options, plus AF tracking for moving subjects. Next up is light sensitivity, ISO range extending incrementally from ISO64 to ISO3200, and following this, the ability to activate a record light - via the same lamp as for AF assist/self timer - very useful for shooting video in lower light.

It's worth mentioning that a side press of the control pad also provides access to two in-camera digital effects: 'make up', a beauty mode type function which predictably smoothes skin on the face to give it that waxwork-about-to-melt look beloved of American fashion magazines, and 'vivid' landscape, as it sounds this is an automatic method of boosting blues and greens in an image.

Moving to the base of the EX-G1 now, we find a screw thread for attaching the camera to a tripod at the far right, plus a very thin elongated flap covering the battery port dead centre. Raising this almost requires breaking a fingernail as the catch for its release is small and tight, whilst extracting the lithium ion rechargeable battery for recharging is similarly fiddly as the cover remains almost at right angles to the body leaving little room to get a pair of fingers in to retrieve it.

Also tricky to remove is the microSD card from the slot at the camera's side, though this is as much to do with the miniscule dimensions of the format itself as not a lot of room provide by its surrounding features.

So the Casio EX-G1 is a camera of two halves; where it is fast to respond in some areas it is slight irritating as regards others. Don't expect any more than a cool looking snapper and you won't be disappointed. But can the same be said of this Casio's image quality? Read on to find out…

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Casio EX-G1 isn't a camera for those who care about excellent image quality first and foremost, nor, given the mediating factor of its rough and tough shell that commands a premium in itself, is it priced as such. However, even on a bright day, colours appear slightly washed out and images have a definite digital look and feel to them. Though on-board prompts may helpfully inform the user that when selecting maximum 12 megapixel resolution they'll be able to make poster sized prints, there are far more suitable devices with which to do so.

Predictably in lower light it's hard to hold the svelte camera steady enough to get a pin sharp image, and so it proves when shooting at maximum telephoto setting in daylight. Because of the G1's odd, slanted body design, when shooting handheld it's additionally easy to forget to keep horizons straight and level - as the natural inclination is to hold it in a slightly different way to the conventional oblong shaped alternative.

When shooting at maximum wideangle there's some quite severe and very obvious loss of focus towards the edges of the frame while under bright conditions, pixel fringing is problematic when shooting landscapes, as is lens flare. Faced with such challenges images more closely resemble video grabs on occasion than photo quality stills. This is very much a 'snapper' for those who are themselves happy snappers, it delivering slightly fuzzy snaps with a casual grasp of exposure and white balance.

In terms of low light performance it won't be a surprise to hear this Casio is no star, though with a lack of visible noise up to and including its ISO 800 setting it's no abject failure either. However at ISO 1600 detail is noticeably softening across the entirety of the image, and at ISO 3200 the image is beginning to take on a watercolour effect, detail smudged as noise processing kicks in.

Whilst the above all sounds quite negative, we're of course being picky and it is possible to achieve decent results with a bit of playing around. Basically take three photos of every subject to get one sharp and properly exposed.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-G1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso64.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)



Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Casio EX-G1's 3x zoom lens provides a limited focal length of 38-112mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-G1 handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review, with some purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Casio EX-G1 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 10cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The flash settings on the Casio EX-G1 are Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Soft Flash, and Red Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (38mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (38mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (112mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (112mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither setting caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Casio EX-G1's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which isn't good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/60th second at ISO 400. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Casio EX-G1 camera, which were all taken using the 12.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 848 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 34 second movie is 53Mb in size.

Product Images

Casio EX-G1

Front of the Camera

Casio EX-G1

Isometric View

Casio EX-G1

Isometric View

Casio EX-G1

Rear of the Camera

Casio EX-G1

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Casio EX-G1

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Casio EX-G1

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Casio EX-G1

BRear of the Camera / Best Shot

Casio EX-G1

Top of the Camera


Casio EX-G1

Bottom of the Camera

Casio EX-G1
Side of the Camera
Casio EX-G1
Side of the Camera
Casio EX-G1
Front of the Camera
Casio EX-G1
Front of the Camera
Casio EX-G1
Memory Card Slot
Casio EX-G1
Battery Compartment


Casio's Exilim camera range, like its digital watches, has always valued style as highly as actual substance. And here, with the EX-G1, the manufacturer is in danger of leaning too heavily toward the former at the latter's expense.

Its near indestructible qualities means that it does battle with the similarly priced and specified likes of Canon's PowerShot D10, Panasonic's FT series Lumix, Olympus Mju Tough range - all of which deliver a more reliable image performance - not to mention cheaper but still stylish water-resistant alternatives from Pentax in the WS80 and Fuji in the Z33WP if splashing about in the pool is more your thing.

Ultimately where the EX-G1 is a letdown is as regards the wildly variable quality of its images - it's too inconsistent a performer to rate highly. Photos at times looking like 'grabs' from camcorder footage with a very obvious digital look and feel. It feels like we've come much further than that now, and as a result the performance here seems like a throwback to an age when people were tediously posing the question 'do you think digital photography will be the death of film?'

On a more positive note the Casio EX-G1 has a very cool design and control layout and is fun to use - it's just a real shame that the sense of frustration when you feel when downloading the resultant images to your desktop means that the lion's share of its pluses are quickly forgotten.

3 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 2
Value for money 3

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Casio EX-G1 from around the web. »

While Casio has been in the consumer electronics business since the company was founded in 1957, their first Exilim digital camera reached market fairly recently in 2002. Expanding upon their "card", "zoom" and "high speed" camera product lines, the company has recently introduced the "G" or "endurance" line with the EX-G1 compact digital. The G1, billed as the world's slimmest shock-resistant digital camera, builds upon Casio's earlier forays into durable products with watches and mobile phones.
Read the full review »


Toughness Construction Shock resistance: Up to 7 feet
Waterproof: Up to 10 feet
Freezeproof: up to -10°C (-14°F)
Recording Element (12.1 million total pixels; 12.10 million effective pixels)
(1/2.3 inch square pixel primary colour CCD)
Recording Format Still Image: JPEG (Exif. Ver. 2.2), DCF 1.0 standard; DPOF compliant
Audio: WAV (mono)
Movies: AVI (Motion JPEG), IMA-ADPCM (mono)
Recording Medium microSD Memory Card, microSD SDHC Memory Card compatible
Recording Capacity Movies: Recording Time; Maximum Recording Time per File: 10 minutes/ MicroSD Memory Card 4GB; Approx. 39 min 57 seconds (WIDE)
Still images (JPEG): MicroSD Memory Card 4GB; Approx. 490 shots (Fine)/ 935 shots (Normal)/ 1399 shots (Economy)
Image Resolution Still images: 12M (4000 x3000), 4000 x 2656 (3:2), 4000x 2240 (16:9), 8M (3264 x 2448)x 5M (2560 x 1920), 3M (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480)
Movies: WIDE (848X480)/STD (640x480)/LP (320x240)/YouTube (640x480)
Movie recording time is limited at 10 minutes
Image Deletion One image, all images
Lens f=4.9(W) to 19.6(T) mm (equivalent to approx. 28 to 112mm in 35mm format)
11 lenses in 9 groups, including aspherical lens
F=6.66 to 19.98mm (equivalent to approx. 38 to 114mm in 35mm format)
Zoom 3x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (12x total when used in combination)
HD Zoom: 18.7X (image size: 640 x 480 pixels)
Focus Mode Macro mode
Pan focus
Auto focus
Manual focus
Infinity mode
Focus Range Infinity: (W)
Macro: Approx.10cm to 50cm
Manual: 10 cm to infinity
Auto: Aprox. 10cm to Infinity
Exposure Metering Multi-pattern, centre weighted, spot by CCD
Exposure Control Program AE
Exposure Compensation -2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Shutter CCD electronic / mechanical shutter
Shutter Speed Auto : 1/2 - 1/1250 second
Night Scene : 4 - 1/1250 second
(Depending on user's setting of Camera)
Aperture F3.9(W) - F8.9(W) (ND filter is being used.)
*Using optical zoom causes the aperture to change.
White Balance Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day white FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB
Sensitivity Movie: Auto
Still Image: ISO64, ISO100, 1SO200, ISO400, 1SO800, ISO1600, ISO3200
(SOS/ REI) *SOS: Standard Output Sensitivity. *REI: Recommended Exposure Index
Recording Mode Movie with audio
Image Stabilization Mechanism
Recording Functions Snapshot, Marco, Self-timer, Dynamic Photo, Continuous shooting(Normal Speed CS/High Speed CS), BEST SHOT, AUTO BEST SHOT, Make-up mode, Landscape Effect, Auto shutter, Face Detection, Interval mode, Movie(Wide Movie, Normal Movie, Prerecord Movie, For YouTube and Interval), Voice Recording
Self-Timer Triple self-timer
10 seconds or 2 seconds
Flash System Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Built in flash memory (image Area): 35.7MB
* Built-in memory capacity after formatting.
Flash Charge Time: Approx 4 seconds
Approx. Flash Range Approx. 0.1 - 2.4 m (W), 0.5 - 1.1 m (T)
* Range is affected by optical zoom
Monitor 2.5 inch TFT colour LCD (Super Clear LCD), 230,400 DOTS (960X240)
Playback Functions Playback Zoom(8X), Multi-image Screen, Calendar Screen, Start-up Images, Rotate, Re-size, Trimming, Copy, BGM Slideshow, Brightness, White Balance, Red Eye Correction, Layout Print, MOTION PRINT
Other Focus Type: Contrast Detection, Auto Focus
AF Lamp Assist: Yes
AF Area: intelligent, spot, multi or tracking
Focus frame and control panel customisation
Video output (NTSC/PAL)
Timekeeping Date and time recorded with image data; auto calendar up to 2049
World Time 162 cities (32 time zones); city names; date and time; daylight saving time
Input/Output Terminals Built-in speaker (mono)
Built-in microphone
USB / AV connector
USB USB 2.0 (Full-speed) compatible
Power Requirements Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-80) x1
3.7V DC, Approximately 3.0W
Dimensions 103.5(W) x 64.2(H) x 19.9(D) mm
(excluding projections ; mm at thinnest point)
Weight Approximately 154g (Including battery and Memory card)

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