Casio EX-H15 Review

April 28, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Casio EX-H15 is the successor to last year's EX-H10 pocket super-zoom camera, offering a 10x wide-angle zoom lens with a focal length of 24-240mm and CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism. The 14 megapixel EXH15 boasts a headline grabbing battery life of 1,000 shots, a large 3.0-inch LCD monitor with a resolution of 460,000 dots, and 720p HD movies. The new Engine 5.0 image processor increases operational speed by 30%, while the Premium Auto mode automatically optimises settings for exposure, ISO speed, focus, blur correction, tonal range, colour balance, and even noise reduction. Available in black, gunmetal grey, brown and pink, the Casio EX-H15 retails at £249 in the UK and $299.99 in the USA.

Ease of Use

A step up from the EX-H10 model, Casio is describing this year's reincarnation in the metal and plastic bodied EX-H15 as the world's first high speed - thanks to the incorporation of a new fifth generation Exilim Engine - high zoom compact camera (hence the 'H' in the model name). At £249 it's one of the more reasonably priced options in its class, which also includes Panasonic's TZ series, Canon's PowerShot SX210 IS, Kodak's Z950 and Samsung's WB500 and WB650 models, to name but a few.

The EX-H15 boasts a zoom of the 10x optical variety, starting out at a wideangle 24mm equivalent in 35mm film terms, which should make it as adept at landscapes and group portraits as candid close ups from afar. Because of this broader than average 24-240mm focal range, like its similarly equipped competitors it's inevitably slightly wider in depth (29.3mm with protrusions, officially) and overall bulkier than cameras with more modest 3x or 5x zooms.

On the plus side, this makes achieving a steady grip when shooting handheld that much easier. It feels reasonably weighty for a pocket model too at 206g with battery and optional SD/SDHC memory card inserted (with 73.8MB internal capacity to fall back on), and sturdily constructed also.

And as well as including an extra helping hand to avoid blur in the form of CCD shift stabilization, the EX-H15 ticks the boxes for the latest must haves in other areas, including a 14.1 effective megapixel resolution from a 14.48MP 1/2.3-inch square CCD and large 3-inch LCD with better than expected 460,800 dot resolution screen. There's also - of course - 1280x720 pixels HD movie recording.

To set it apart from the competition it includes a couple of the technologies that Casio has been pushing of late: a unique Dynamic Photo function that allows cutting and pasting from one image shot in continuous shooting mode to another, and an extra long battery life - here claimed to be a whopping 1,000 photos from a single charge. Impressive stuff, when the competition averages about 250. The EX-H15 also includes the image adjusting Premium Auto function alongside regular auto, plus - like the EX-Z550 snapshot we reviewed in tandem - 'Art Shot' functionality.

Casio EX-H15 Casio EX-H15
Front Rear

As this sounds, various artistic digital effects are selectable from within its comprehensive range of around 40 Best Shot scene and subject settings - accessed with a press of the dedicated 'BS' button - and applied to ape a watercolour, oil painting, sepia tinged print or crayon drawing. A gimmick perhaps, and yet the results are surprisingly effective, being of particular use to those of us not skilled enough to achieve similar in an image editing package.

So from the front the EX-H15 appears smart if conventional in its design, our review sample coming in standard issue silver. That lens starting at a wider than most 24mm equivalent is squirreled away and protected within the body when the camera is inactive helping maintain as compact-as-possible dimensions for portability, top right of which is a small window for the self timer lamp/AF assist.

Top left of the lens is a small pinprick housing the built-in microphone and, adjacent to this, a narrow window housing the integral flash. There's a slight concession to a grip provided bottom left of the faceplate with a raised edge providing a purchase point for a couple of fingers as your thumb comes to rest on a pad or four small raised nodules at the rear, leaving forefinger free to hover over the shutter release button. In truth though you'll want to use both hands to hold the camera as steady as possible when shooting.

Moving to examine the camera's top plate, the shutter release button is in turn encircled by a lever for operating the zoom. Next to which we find a recessed, small, on/off button. Press this and the model powers up from cold in just over two seconds, lens extending to maximum wideangle setting from its storage position within the body. With a half press of the shutter release button the camera takes a brief moment to determine focus and exposure, AF point highlighted in green accompanied by a bleep of affirmation. Go on to take the shot and with no discernable shutter delay, maximum resolution images are committed to memory in just over a second, screen momentarily blanking out and then presenting a preview of the capture shot. That's commendably swift for this class of camera.

The EX-H15's zoom is fast to respond, though its adjustments and transitions are accompanied by a rather loud mechanical buzz; still it powers through its 24-240mm equivalent focal range in just less than two seconds if you keep a finger on the 'trigger'. The fact that the zoom is operated by a control placed in this position has another advantage: it leaves room at the top right of a camera back (where a zoom rocker switch might otherwise be located) for a dedicated video record button.

The final two controls on the camera's top plate are for auto stills capture - alternating in a single press between regular and premium auto - and, to its right, a button that gives direct access to the camera's on-board effects filters for make up and vivid landscape mode. These buttons feels slightly extraneous here as such features are otherwise secreted away within the BestShot scene modes (here also given their own 'BS' button) on other Casios.

Casio EX-H15 Casio EX-H15
Side Top

Through their inclusion the EX-H15's manufacturer obviously reasons that potential users are either going to taking portraits of spotty individuals needing such blemishes smoothed out through software processing, or landscapes in the main, though we didn't notice a great deal of difference between shots taken with the latter setting active and the camera's default auto mode anyway. Nevertheless, Casio's own press blurb states that the reasoning behind the camera is a simple one: to make it easier to create and share photos, and the former features, together with the larger screen, fall into line with that intention.

That ease of use extends to the higher than average 3-inch LCD on the backplate, which, in the absence of an optical viewfinder is bright and clear in terms of visibility. Swallowing up four fifths of the available space, remaining controls are ranged in a row top to bottom on the right. We've already mentioned the convenience of the one touch video record button - although, scandalously, the optical zoom isn't accessible in this mode - beneath which is a further pair of buttons, one above the other, for stills capture and playback, the user able to swap between such modes with a single press of each.

Under this again is a familiar control pad, with 'set' button at the centre for implementing chosen menu options. With the pad marked 'display' at its 12 o'clock setting and featuring delete and flash control at six o'clock, operation is again straightforward. As on the EX-Z550, users get a choice of the usual flash settings, including red eye reducing option, along with a soft flash cutting.

Press that central 'set' button meanwhile and a toolbar of essential shooting functions appears on the right hand side of the screen, running top to bottom. Again, as a time saver this conveniently avoids having to dip into the menu folders proper and search for basic options. From the top we have the ability to determine image quality and pixel count, flash (again) and focus options (AF, macro focus, infinity focus and even a manual option: the latter presenting a histogram and an adjustable focus distance of between 50cm and infinity). AF modes are further adjustable between intelligent AF, spot, multiple area and AF tracking. Next down the toolbar are the selectable light sensitivity offerings of between ISO64 and ISO3200, and, down one option again, choices of self timer between 10 and two seconds and a further kind of self timer bracketing option that fires three consecutive shots with an interval of a second between each. It's here too that face detection can be turned on or off, and exposure compensation adjusted between -/+ 2EV.

Beneath the EX-H15's control pad is, finally, another stacked pair of buttons, for the self explanatory menu mode and the less immediately obvious 'BS' (BestShot) scene and subject modes, the latter's comprehensive line up identical to that included on the EX-Z550 model. So here too the photo thumbnail illustrated Best Shot modes govern all the familiar subjects from portraits and self-portraits through pictures of autumn leaves, fireworks, flowers and food, plus backlight and high sensitivity modes joining the yet-more-creative Art Shot modes mentioned at the outset of our review. We even get help here with taking ID photos for passports, photographing business cards and presentation boards, along with a pre-record movie function for anticipating action sequences.

Casio EX-H15 Casio EX-H15
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

A press of the 'menu' button meanwhile and EX-H15 owners are presented with three menu sub folders that can be tabbed between: record, quality and set up. Within the record menu photographers can switch between 4fps and 10fps continuous shooting modes, call up a nine zone compositional grid to practice the 'rule of thirds'. Within the quality folder as expected resolution of both stills and video can be adjusted to suit the intended end purpose. It's under the 'quality' heading that we also find an alternative means of manually adjusting exposure (+/- 2EV), white balance, ISO (ISO64-3200), metering (multi zone, centre weighted or spot) plus applying a palette of colour filters to variously warm or dampen the image. Sharpness, saturation, contrast and the intensity of the flash can further be tweaked. As with the very similar set up offered by the Z550 model, this is more than we expected for the EX-H15's class.

In Set Up mode meanwhile, users have the ability to turn Eye-Fi connectivity on, should they have a suitable Eye-Fi media card loaded that will provide automatic wireless uploading whenever they come within reach of their desktop PC or laptop. Otherwise operational sounds, start up visuals and time stamps can be governed in this mode as expected, though like us you're probably most likely to access it to format the card in use and quickly delete all the images contained therein.

While operationally, that's about it for the EX-H15, on the camera's right hand flank next to a lug for attaching a wrist strap we find a protected port for a single yet dual purpose AV/USB output. No HDMI here for hooking the camera directly up to a flat panel TV though, which is slightly disappointing as this too is fast becoming a must have feature, even for modestly priced compacts such as this.

The base of the camera meanwhile features a slightly off-centre screw thread for attaching a tripod, just next to a shared compartment for battery and card. Whilst we didn't get close to the 1000 images the company promises in terms of battery life, the camera was still working and showing two of three bars remaining on its indicator when the Z550 model we were using at the same time - good for the standard 250 shots - had given up the ghost.  So, the upshot is that this is a camera you could take away on holiday for a week and not have to worry about packing a charger and compatible plug too.

Whilst this ensures that the EX-H15 stacks up as a viable low(ish) cost option for those looking to make use of the expanded creativity a broader than average focal range allows, how about the images produced themselves? Do these go the distance too, or fall short of expecttions?

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14.1 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

As with most Casio compacts, warm, well-saturated colours are the order of the day. Generally there was little in the way of visible blur from camera shake, though inevitably we did get the very occasional soft shot, particularly when shooting at the telephoto end of the zoom. Pixel fringing was also evidenced on close inspection between areas of high contrast, though again this can be expected so passed the test for acceptability.

We noticed too a slight loss of definition towards the corners when shooting at maximum wideangle setting; again not totally unexpected, given the much wider than average 24mm equivalent, as is some visible barrel distortion - disguised much better when shooting natural landscapes rather than man made ones.

With a broad light sensitivity range starting out at ISO 64, up until ISO 400 a sharp level of detail is maintained, fractionally softening when we come to ISO 800, and more pronounced a degradation on close inspection between that setting and ISO 1600. The latter is still very usable however - not bad at all a performance from this class of compact.

At top ISO 3200 detail has softened across the image to limit the appearance of noise and it is beginning to take on a fuzzy, watercolour-like effect. Again the Casio EX-H15 delivers far from the worst showing we've seen at this setting - especially given the high pixel count on offer.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Casio EX-H15. 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

Chromatic Aberrations

The Casio EX-H15 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with a small amount of purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg


The Casio EX-H15 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 7cms 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-H15 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 (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (240mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (240mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red Eye Reduction 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-H15'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 4 seconds at ISO 64. 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-H15 camera, which were all taken using the 14.1 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 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 31 second movie is 111Mb in size.

Product Images

Casio EX-H15

Front of the Camera

Casio EX-H15

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Casio EX-H15

Isometric View

Casio EX-H15

Isometric View

Casio EX-H15

Rear of the Camera

Casio EX-H15

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Casio EX-H15

Top of the Camera

Casio EX-H15

Bottom of the Camera

Casio EX-H15

Side of the Camera


Casio EX-H15

Side of the Camera

Casio EX-H15
Memory Card Slot
Casio EX-H15
Battery Compartment


As with most big zoom compacts claiming to be all in one solutions, the pluses surrounding the Casio EX-H15 - extended creative options due to that broader focal range - outweigh the negative of slightly wider physical dimensions. And it's worth remembering that just a couple of years back you would have to buy an enthusiast-targeted bridge model to get anything like the lens reach offered here. Now similar results can be achieved with a simple to operate pocket point and shoot. Marvelous!

It seems shortsighted however that the optical zoom isn't accessible when filming video - especially when it's the camera's main selling point - but then the mechanical buzz of the lens' operation would undoubtedly be picked up if it was. This is much noisier in operation than on competing models, such as Canon's PowerShot SX210 IS, and is one of the few black marks against Casio's big zoom Exilim, the other being lack of HDMI output, though this isn't a deal breaker.

That broad focal range, high resolution and a decent battery life do ensure that the Casio EX-H15 should be on the list of anyone looking for an able travel companion that can return decent results with the minimum of fuss and prior knowledge. It may not be the prettiest or coolest device out there, but it's practical and sometimes that's all that matters.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4


Number of Effective Pixels 14.10 million
Image Sensor   1/2.3-inch square pixel CCD
Total Pixels 14.48 million
File Format Still Images JPEG (Exif Version 2.2, DCF 1.0 standard, DPOF compliant)
Movies AVI format, Motion JPEG, IMA-ADPCM (monaural)
Audio (Voice Recording) WAV format (monaural)
Built-in Flash Memory (Image Area)*1 73.8MB
Recording Media SDHC Memory Card, SD Memory Card*2
Number of Recorded Pixels Still Images 14M (4320 x 3240), 3:2 (4320 x 2880), 16:9 (4320 x 2432), 10M (3648 x 2736), 6M (2816 x 2112), 3M (2048 x 1536), VGA (640 x 480)
Movies HD: 1280 x 720 (30 fps) / STD: 640 x 480 (30 fps) / LP: 320 x 240 (15 fps)
Recording Capacity (Maximum Image Size Setting) Still Images (JPEG) SD Memory Card 1GB*3 Approx. 103 shots (Fine) / 199 shots (Normal) / 298 shots (Economy)
Movies Recording Time Maximum Recording Time per File: 29 min
SD Memory Card 1GB*3 Approx. 4 min. 22 seconds (HD)
Continuous Shutter High-speed Continuous Shutter Approx. 10 frames per second at 1280 x 960 pixels
Approx. 4 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels
Flash Continuous Shutter Approx. 3 frames per second at 1600 x 1200 pixels (Up to 3 shots)
Lens Construction 11 lenses in 10 groups, including aspherical lens
F-number F3.2 (W) to F5.7 (T)
Focal Length   f = 4.3 to 43.0mm
35mm Film Equivalent Approx. 24 to 240mm
Zoom Optical Zoom 10X
Digital Zoom 4X (40X in combination with optical zoom)
HD Zoom 67.5X (image size: 640 x 480 pixels)
Focusing Focus Type Contrast Detection Auto Focus
Focus Modes Auto Focus, Macro Mode, Super Macro, Infinity Mode, Manual Focus
AF Area Intelligent, Spot, Multi, Tracking
AF Assist Lamp Yes
Focus Range*4 (From Lens Surface) Auto Focus Approx. 15cm to infinity (W)
Macro Approx. 7cm to 50cm (First step from widest setting)
Super Macro Approx. 7cm to 50cm
Infinity Mode Infinity (W)
Manual Focus Approx. 15cm to infinity (W)
Exposure Exposure Metering Multi-pattern, center weighted, spot by imaging element
Exposure Control Program AE
Exposure Compensation -2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
Shutter Type   CCD electronic shutter, mechanical shutter
Shutter Speed*5 Auto 1/2 to 1/2000 second
Night Scene 4 to 1/2000 second
Aperture*4 F3.2 (W) to F7.5 (W)*6
White Balance Auto WB, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, Manual WB
Sensitivity (SOS/REI)*7 Still Images Auto, ISO64, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400, ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200
Movies Auto
Other Recording Functions Image Stabilization Mechanism CCD-shift image stabilization
Premium AUTO Yes
Make-up Mode Yes (12-level steps)
Landscape Mode Yes (Vivid Landscape: 2-level steps / Mist Removal: 2-level steps)
Handheld Night Scene Yes
Lighting Function Yes
BEST SHOT   Yes: 42 scenes
Dynamic Photo Yes
Art Shot Function*8 Oil Painting, Crayon, Water Color
Multi-motion Image*8 Yes
YouTube™ Capture Mode Yes
Voice Recording Yes
Face Detection Yes
Auto Shutter Yes
Self-timer 10 seconds, 2 seconds, Triple Self-timer
Built-in Flash Flash Modes Auto, Flash Off, Flash On, Soft Flash, Red Eye Reduction
Flash Range*4 Approx. 0.2 to 5.0m (W), approx. 0.5 to 2.8m (T)
Monitor Screen 3.0-inch TFT color LCD (Super Clear LCD), 460,800 dots (960 x 480)
Timekeeping Functions Date and Time Recorded with image data
On-image Time Stamp Function Yes
Auto Calendar To 2049
World Time 162 cities in 32 time zones, city name, date, time, daylight saving time
Input/Output Terminals   USB/AV port
USB Hi-Speed USB
Microphone Monaural
Speaker Monaural
Power Requirements Rechargeable lithium ion battery (NP-90) x 1
Battery Life Number of Shots*9 (CIPA Standards) Approx. 1000 still images
Dimensions (CIPA Standards) 102.5 (W) x 62.1 (H) x 29.3 (D) mm, 24.3mm thick excluding lens
Weight (CIPA Standards) Approx. 206g (including battery and memory card), approx. 162g (excluding battery and memory card)
Bundled Accessories Rechargeable lithium ion battery, lithium ion battery charger, AC power cord, USB cable, AV cable, strap, CD-ROM

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