The Casio Exilim EX-S10 looks similar to its relatives. It has an Exilim logo embossed on the left side of the front. At the edge of this side is a loop that barely protrudes from the camera body; this is for the wrist strap. In the upper left corner of the camera is a printed Casio logo next to a rectangular built-in flash that is flush with the camera body.

The right side of the S10’s front is occupied by the 3x optical zoom lens and its thick silver barrel. The lens has its specs printed along the outer edge: "Exilim Optical 3x, f=6.3-18.9mm, 1:2.8-5.3." To the upper right of the lens is the autofocus assist lamp. To the lower left of the lens is a hole that makes up the mono microphone.

casioS10front.jpg

Back

The back of the S10 has the 2.7-inch LCD screen on the left side with the Exilim logo peeking over the upper left corner. On the right side of the camera is a small strip of undersized controls. In the upper right corner of the back is a small circular button with a red dot in its center. This is the movie recording button. Below it are two tiny buttons for playback and shooting. The multi-selector is beneath this; it has a central selection button and a tiny hard-to-press ring around it. The multi-selector is truly awful, especially when trying to scroll to the left, where there is a slight increase in elevation from the LCD screen. Below the multi-selector are two buttons for menu and Best Shot (labeled "BS").

s10backLCDoff.jpg

**Left Side

**The left side of the camera is free of features. It has only a chrome strip for decoration running down the center. The skinny profile of the camera can be seen from this angle.

S10left.jpg

Right Side

The chrome strip from the left side runs over the top and down the right side. A wrist strap loop sits here.

s10right.jpg

Top

The top of this digital camera boasts its resolution along the chrome strip: "10.1 Megapixel Digital Camera EX-S10." There is a shutter release button near the right side, and a zoom ring surrounds it. The ring is tiny and has a tiny knob on the front for rotating it. The knob is very sharp and feels awful to touch. To the left of the shutter release/zoom ring combination is the miniscule power button, which is recessed into the camera body and very hard to push.

S10top.jpg

Bottom

The bottom of the camera isn’t very exciting. It has the battery and memory card compartment under where the right hand pinches the camera. Nearly centered is the single jack, and the tripod socket is its neighbor.

S10bottom.jpg

Viewfinder

The Casio S10 does not have an optical viewfinder on its tiny body, but does have a 2.7-inch LCD that it uses to display a live view. The LCD has good resolution, and its refresh rate is smooth enough to capture people walking without blurring. Anything faster than a power-walk gets a little blurry, but this is typical on compact digital camera LCD screens. You can change the display information on the live view by pushing the top of the multi-selector, which is also labeled "disp" for "display." Pushing this hides the file information, shows basic information, and shows full shooting info with a live exposure histogram. Overall, the LCD’s view shows good contrast and resolution.

LCD Screen

S10back-LCDon.jpg
The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has a 2.7-inch Super Clear LCD screen. The "Super Clear" designation is an upgrade from last year’s model, and the S10 has much wider viewing angles and seems to repel fingerprints. The screen hardly catches any glare and shows great contrast, except when viewed from very extreme angles.

The LCD has 230,160 pixels and provides a smooth view of images. The size of the screen is not 4:3-formatted, so when standard images are viewed in the Playback mode black vertical bars appear on the sides. In the Live View mode, there is a "panel display" on the right side that acts as a Function menu.

The brightness of the LCD can be adjusted in the Setup menu to Auto 2, Auto 1, +2, +1, and 0. The Auto 2 function automatically brightens the LCD in bright lighting, while the Auto 1 function is a more subtle brightening meant to save battery power.

Overall, the S10’s 2.7-inch LCD screen looks good and works well. You might have to get used to the strange format, though.

Flash

The camera’s built-in flash is located closer to the left of the front than the right, where the lens is located. Despite its off-axis placement, the rectangular flash doesn't appear to be too off-centered in images. Granted, this is primitive testing on the convention show floor. From those pictures, though, the Casio S10’s flash looks decent.

It looks good for portraits within about six feet as long as the Flash mode is set to Soft flash. Other Flash modes include Auto, Off, On, and Red-Eye Reduction, all found in the panel Function menu. All of the modes fire a tiny preflash, but the one on the Red-Eye Reduction mode is more pronounced and adds about 1.5 seconds to the shutter lag. The lag is annoying, but the alternative is to have red eyes. One of the pictures I snapped of the Casio rep had garish red eyes; it was shot with the standard Flash mode.

The standard Flash modes aren’t very quick. It takes about seven seconds for the camera to reboot between shots taken using the flash. There is, however, a flash Continuous mode that allows three frames to be shot in a second with a less powerful flash. The continuous flash light can reach 1.31 to 5.9 feet with the lens zoomed out and only 3.28 feet when zoomed in. This is so weak that it will hardly be useful for photographing anything except your own hand flying across the frame.

The standard flash isn’t much more powerful. It can reach from 0.66 to 9.12 feet zoomed wide and 1.31 to 4.92 feet zoomed to telephoto. Most slim digital camera flashes can light up more. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T100, for instance, can reach 12 feet zoomed wide and 9 feet in telephoto. The S10’s flash power can be adjusted on a +/- 2 scale in the menu, but it doesn’t reach farther than 9.12 feet. The Casio S10’s flash just isn’t its best asset.

Zoom Lens

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has a 3x optical zoom lens that extends outward from its slim body in three segments. This digital camera has a 6.3 to 18.9mm range that is equivalent to an unimpressive 36 to 108mm in the 35mm format.

Other slim digital cameras have internal lenses, instead sacrificing other features, like a larger aperture. The Sony T100, for example, has a 5x internal lens but a max aperture of f/3.5 in its 0.88-inch body. The Nikon S51c has a 3x internal optical zoom lens and f/3.3 aperture in its 0.8-inch body. The Casio S10’s external lens keeps a nice wide aperture of f/2.8 when zoomed out and f/5.3 when zoomed in.

Casio’s lens is constructed from six lenses in five groups and includes one aspherical lens. The glass is protected by two pieces of plastic that are about as thick as flower petals. These close over the glass automatically when the camera is turned off.

The zoom control surrounds the shutter release button and has a sharp knob on the front that supposedly makes it easier to turn. I suppose it does make it easier to turn than a smooth ring, but you’ll sacrifice your finger in the process. The knob has sharp edges that nearly puncture you. If you’re not thick-skinned, don’t even try to zoom. The control isn’t very sensitive; it allows you to stop at only six focal lengths throughout the 3x range.

When the zoom ring is pushed, a horizontal bar graphic appears on the bottom of the LCD screen. The lens moves smoothly when zooming in and then stops at the 3x optical max. If you push the ring again, you can delve into the digital zoom realm to 3.6x. Pushing yet again activates the full digital zoom – and horrible pixilation that comes with it – up to a combined 12x (4x digital zoom + 3x optical zoom). Zooming out is another story. The lens seems to breathe and backpedal a little bit before settling on a focal length.

Most digital cameras – including the Nikon S51c and Sony T100 – now have optical image stabilization. A few years ago, this was a rare feature. Unfortunately, the Casio Exilim S10 does not have optical image stabilization. It has digital image stabilization, or what Casio calls "ASR" for "advanced shake reduction." The digital image stabilization system isn’t as effective at minimizing blur as optical systems.

Overall, the Casio S10’s 3x optical zoom lens isn’t its strongest component. Its control ring isn’t very sensitive and it hurts to even zoom a little. The 3x range isn’t very impressive, either.

Model Design / Appearance

The Casio S10’s most valuable feature is its sexy design and diminutive size. A lot of other features, such as comfortable handling and more on-camera controls, are sacrificed for size.

The S10's stainless steel body comes in four bold, glittery colors: red, blue, silver, and black. Many manufacturers offer trendy digital cameras in multiple colors. For instance, the Kodak EasyShare V1003 comes in an array of nine colors, and the Fujifilm FinePix Z10*fd* comes in five very bold colors.

From standing at the Casio booth for a few hours and hearing people’s comments about this camera, I made one surprising observation. I was surprised that most people gawked over the colors rather than the features. "Ooooo, I like that silver. It looks more like chrome. Very sophisticated." CES attendees aren’t the general public; it’s electronics industry analysts, manufacturers, and press. I thought for sure anyone over 16 would appreciate features like the face detection more than its availability in silver, blue, red, and black. I learn something new at every CES. Apparently colors are one of the big trends.

Casio calls the S10 its "wearable card camera." It would make an awfully large necklace, but it is light enough to wear, I suppose. The stainless steel camera does have a sophisticated look – and, ooooo ahhhh, comes in four colors.

Size / Portability

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 is the company’s crown in its "pursuit of thinness," as the press release put it. It is only 3.7 inches across, 2.1 inches tall, and 0.6 inches thin (94.2 x 54.6 x 15mm). At its thinnest point, it is only 0.54 inches (13.8mm). This qualifies it as a bona fide product of the Exilim "card" lineup. The booth rep at the show said this camera is 25 percent smaller than last year’s model.

The Casio S10 is flaunted as the world’s thinnest 10.1-megapixel camera, a phrase also found on the Samsung NV24HD’s press release. The Samsung’s has a qualifier though: it is the world’s smallest 10.1-megapixel camera that also has an ultra-wide 24mm lens. The Samsung NV24HD measures 0.7 inches thin compared to the Casio S10’s 0.6-inch width.

Without the card and battery, the Casio S10 weighs slightly less than 4 ounces (113g). The small size and light weight make it a perfect candidate to stash in a pocket and carry anywhere. But the "pursuit of thinness" comes for a price. The camera may fit comfortably into your tight jeans’ pocket, but it will be a pain to handle and is more likely to break than sturdier, thicker models.

Handling Ability

The Casio S10 is so thin that you pretty much have to pinch it to get any sort of handle on it. The S10 is a flat rectangle with rounded edges and no evidence of a hand grip or even a finger grip. There aren’t even attempts: no plastic bumps or textured surfaces. The Exilim logo on the front of the camera provides some traction, as do the controls on the back. But this is in no way comfortable. The S10 is a "wearable card camera" made for only occasional picture-taking. Handling is a difficult endeavor.

Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size

If there was a prize for the tiniest controls ever, it would likely go to the Casio S10. It has a power button that isn’t much larger than the tip of a pen and is recessed into the body so much that it’s hard to push on. None of the other controls are much better.

There is a movie button on the upper right corner of the back that makes it possible for you to record videos without entering a menu first. This is convenient, but the button is so high up on the camera body that it’s hard to start and stop videos without supporting the camera with both hands – which is nearly impossible because there’s simply not enough space for two hands to share this property.

There are four tiny circular buttons on the back with a multi-selector in the middle. The multi-selector is the worst I’ve seen in years. It is crammed up to the right side of the LCD screen, which is raised up slightly. That slight raise in the camera body makes it hard to jam a finger in and push the selector to the left. I could scroll left only about 30 percent of the time.

Rounding out the controls is the shutter release button, which is the only decently-sized control, but isn’t domed and doesn’t otherwise protrude. It is surrounded by the zoom ring with its sharp knob that nearly severs your finger when you try to zoom.

All in all, the controls will make you hate this camera.

Menu

This Casio has a similar menu setup compared to previous Exilim digital cameras. Its oddly formatted 2.7-inch LCD screen leaves enough space at the side for a "Panel" menu, often called a Function menu on other cameras. This menu gives you quicker access to frequently used features such as image size. The panel menu can be turned on and off in the Setup menu. When on, it appears at the right side of the LCD screen with its options fanning out to the left. You can make the menu options appear by pushing the central selection button in the multi-selector.
 

The background of the menu is semi-translucent, and many of the options come with live views. The options in the Panel menu are repeated in the Recording and Quality menus, so turning off the Panel menu won’t make options simply disappear.

  

There are three tabs in the standard menu button-accessible menu: Recording, Quality, and Setup. The Recording and Quality menus are shown above, while the lengthy Setup menu appears below.

 

The Casio Exilim S10’s multi-selector has perhaps the worst navigation in the digital camera market. It is almost impossible to scroll to the left, so I found myself trying to scroll right through to the other side of the submenus. Frustrating! The menus themselves are in a readable font and are fairly intuitive, although a bit long.

Ease of Use

The Casio S10 is intuitive for those familiar with Exilim digital cameras. All of its exposure modes are grouped in one place – found by pushing the "BS" button. But if you’ve never heard of a Casio camera and don’t know what "BS" is, would you think to look there for the list of modes? Once that is figured out, it’s much easier to use. When scrolling through Scene modes, there are sample photos and brief explanations available to help you choose the right one for the situation – and there’s a Scene mode for everything on this camera. The most difficult thing about this camera is its handling and control. The S10 is so small that it requires you to pinch it rather than really grip it. The control buttons are incredibly small too, making it nearly impossible for anyone with fingers larger than Popsicle sticks to use.

Auto Mode

The Auto mode would be more appropriately titled a Program mode, because it offers full access to the manual controls on this digital camera. There are hosts of automated Scene modes, but no true Auto mode.

**Movie Mode

**The headlining feature of the Casio S10 is its Apple-friendly Movie mode. It records at several resolutions in the H.264 format up to 4GB at a time. There is wide 848 x 480-pixel video, standard 640 x 480-pixel video, and e-mail-friendly 320 x 240-pixel video. The top two resolutions record at 30 fps, but the smallest records at 15 fps.

The mono audio is recorded in the AAC codec "enabling replay on Apple’s iPod and other such devices," according to Casio’s press release. The videos can be dragged and dropped to iTunes and then to iPods or iPhones or other Apple devices. Casio states that the video works "seamlessly" with iLife’08. This is an advantage over other digital cameras’ movie modes that require you to reformat the video before uploading to YouTube.

The Casio S10 has a movie button that is separate from the shutter release button so that movies can be taken at any time without having to enter a menu. This is convenient and also allows you to take full-resolution photographs during the video. This feature isn’t flawless. When you take a picture, there is a jump in the video. Casio’s video seems to close the gap around the picture, though, so the video is strung together and there is no black-out, but definitely shows a jump in the action and audio.

If you want to use the YouTube Movie mode, you will have to enter a menu. It is grouped in the Best Shot modes along with the Silent and Prerecord Movie modes. Despite their presence in the menu, you still have to use the designated movie recording button instead of the shutter release. The Prerecord mode works well for those can’t-miss shots, like catching the birthday boy’s face as he walks into his surprise party. The mode records continuously and saves about three seconds before you push the shutter release button down, and then continues until you push it again. The Silent Movie mode records 15 fps and casts a sepia color tone – and doesn’t record audio.

The digital image stabilization is available, along with digital zoom, but there is no optical zoom available. Movies can be played back with VCR-like control, and the volume can be adjusted so you can hear it on the mono speaker. In the Playback menu, you can create motion prints that are like 9-frame filmstrips or pull single frames for low-resolution images. You can also cut video clips at the beginning, middle, and end.

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 will likely attract the younger generation that carries iPods around in their pockets while "wearing" their skinny cameras. The ability to upload videos to Apple products by dragging and dropping will make this a popular camera. It can also upload easily to YouTube, another big plus for the generation of photographers who are social networkers. The actual quality of the video is still to be determined. It looks decent on the 2.7-inch screen – albeit funky colored, although that could be from the flashing blue lights above my head – but we’ll pass on more details once we get this into our imaging lab.

Drive / Burst Mode

The Casio S10’s Continuous mode can be found in the Panel and Recording menus. Drive options include Normal, High Speed, Flash Continuous, and Off. The speed of this little camera isn’t very impressive; Casio publishes its startup time at 1.2 fps and its normal speed Continuous mode at one second between shots. That seems conservative. Maybe this is just a preproduction qualm, but the S10 I looked at took nearly two seconds between shots in the normal Continuous mode. The High Speed mode was much faster at 4 fps, but the resolution was sliced to a nearly unusable 1600 x 1200 pixels. The burst lasted for a long time, though: I took about 40 shots and the camera was ready to go for more. There is also a Flash Continuous mode that takes 3 fps but limits the flash power to about arm’s length, making it very impractical. 

The self-timer delays for 10 and 2 seconds, or for 10 seconds with a three-shot burst.

Playback Mode

The Playback mode is accessible from the button to the upper left of the multi-selector. Images are shown one by one and can be scrolled through with the frustrating multi-selector that doesn’t seem to move the way I want it to. It is very difficult to scroll left with the tiny size of the selector and its hard-to-push ring. Navigation is awful, but viewing images themselves isn’t so bad. The 2.7-inch LCD and its good resolution are conducive to viewing images.

You can zoom in up to 8x on images with the zoom ring. You can also zoom out to a 12-thumbnail index view and even view a calendar. Below is the Playback menu with its vast editing and viewing options.
 

The dubbing option is the voice memo that can record up to 30 seconds for each image. There are lots of features in the Playback menu for editing and printing. The layout print feature is something only found on a handful of digital cameras. The dynamic range expansion and keystone options are rare, too. The Keystone option allows you to tilt photos that are slightly off-kilter. The Color Correction mode always employs that feature before correcting the colors for some reason. There is no simple automatic fix, like on some digital cameras.

Leaving the Playback mode isn’t as simple as entering. Pushing the playback button again doesn’t work. Pushing the shutter release button won’t do it, either. You have to push the button with the camera icon on it to return to shooting. That makes sense on this camera, but isn't how it’s done on most compact digital cameras.

**Custom Image Presets

**Casio digital cameras are known for their liberal amounts of Scene modes. The Casio S10 is no exception, with 36 Best Shot modes. The list appears when you push the "BS" button to the lower right of the multi-selector. The list shows 15 scene selections per page, with each scene showing up as a sample photo. When you scroll onto a scene, the text title appears at the bottom of the LCD and you’re given the option to zoom in for "details" or an explanation of what the mode does. The explanations aren’t anything mind-blowing. The "For YouTube" mode states: "Record video optimal for YouTube."

Get ready. Here is the list of BS modes on the Casio Exilim EX-S10:

Auto, Portrait, Scenery, Portrait with Scenery, Self-Portrait 1 person, Self-Portrait 2 people, Children, Sports, Candlelight Portrait, Party, Pet, Flower, Natural Green, Autumn Leaves, Soft Flowing Water, Splashing Water, Sundown, Night Scene, Night Scene with Portrait, Fireworks, Food, Text, Collection, Auction, Backlight, Anti-Shake, High Sensitivity, Underwater, Monochrome, Retro, Businesscards & Documents, Whiteboard etc, Silent, Prerecord Movie, For YouTube, Voice Recording, and Register User Scene.

The Register User Scene allows you to create your own combinations of the exposure settings, a feature that has been implemented on many Exilim digital cameras of yore.

Manual Control Options

The Casio S10 has a small handful of manual controls. Many appear in the panel function menu that can be turned on and off in the Setup menu. If you are one who never cares to change the ISO, then turn the panel off and enjoy the unfettered view.

Focus

Autofocus – The Casio S10 has a through-the-lens contrast detection autofocus system. It has nine points, but all the points are crammed together in the central quarter of the frame. There are three autofocus areas: Spot, Multi, and Tracking. When the default multi option is chosen, all nine autofocus points show up as gray boxes in the frame. When the focus is detected, a few of the boxes that are focused turn green. The gray boxes always remain, though, obstructing the view.

The autofocus system seems slow on this camera. Granted, it’s a preproduction model: the speed could change by the time it hits store shelves. But the model on the show floor took about three-quarters of a second to focus and take a picture.

For low light, there is an autofocus assist lamp that can be turned on and off in the Setup menu. The Focus mode can be changed from Autofocus to Macro, Pan focus, Infinity, and Manual focus. In the standard Autofocus mode, you can focus as close as 40 centimeters. That shortens to 15 centimeters in the Macro mode. That is shorter, but isn’t as close up as most digital cameras that can focus as close as 5 centimeters.

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has an extensive face detection system, but it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. The menu had me excited. The menu included Family First, Normal, Off, Face Detection Setting (Speed, Quality), Record Family, and Edit Family options. The face detection system can potentially recognize up to six faces, which isn’t much compared to competitors. Canon’s PowerShot digital cameras can recognize up to 35 faces at a time.

Back to the menu. The Family First option allows you to set the camera so it recognizes your family members and prioritizes their faces before other people’s faces. The normal face detection doesn’t prioritize. You can set the system to be speedy or accurate in the face detection setting (why can’t I have both?!). For the Family First option to work, you have to record pictures of your family members (up to six); you can then edit faces in the last option.

When I played with the S10 I got it to recognize two reps at the Casio booth. The camera didn’t recognize profiles; subjects had to be looking directly at the camera. This technology seems old, as newer systems this year from Fujifilm and Canon allow faces to be recognized even at different angles. Another caveat: the faces have to be large in the frame.

Overall, the Casio S10’s autofocus system is slow, and its extensive face detection system is disappointing compared to the options in its menu.

Manual Focus – This is the only feature that doesn’t seem to be working on the preproduction Casio S10. This is likely due to its preproduction status, because it turns on the tracking autofocus system rather than the manual focus. It can manually focus from 15 centimeters to infinity.

ISO

The ISO sensitivity can be automated, but there are also several manual ISO controls in the Recording menu: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600. These are all available at full resolution. There is a High ISO Sensitivity Scene mode listed among the Best Shot modes so you can take pictures in low light without using the weak flash. It uses the ISO 1600 setting and doesn’t shrink the image size like some high sensitivity modes do.

White Balance

The Exilim S10 doesn’t have anything fancy with its white balance options. No white balance adjustment or compensation or anything. In fact, the S10 doesn’t even put the white balance in the convenient Panel menu; it hides it in the standard Recording menu. Options include Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Shade, Day White FL, Daylight FL, Tungsten, and Manual. The presets are available in the Playback mode to change the color tint post capture. The Manual white balance provides more accurate colors in any lighting, though. It can be set by following the on-screen prompts, framing something white, and pushing the shutter.

Exposure

Program auto exposure is available on the Casio S10, so if you like to have control over shutter speed and aperture then this isn’t the camera for you. Exposure compensation is available in the Panel and Recording menus on the typical +/- 2 scale. A live exposure histogram can be viewed while shooting and one can be seen in the Playback mode when the display is set to do so.

Metering

The metering options are buried in the Recording menu. They consist of the typical offerings: Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted, and Spot. Multi-Pattern is the default and worked just fine in the dim convention center.

Shutter Speed

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has an electronic and mechanical shutter that flips in a range of 1/2-1/2000 of a second in most exposure modes and slows down to 4 seconds in the Night Scene mode. This is a typical range for a compact digital camera that automates its shutter speed.

There is an interesting "auto shutter" feature that "automatically detects the right moment and takes the photo," according to the company’s press release. You can set the camera to detect blur and take the picture when there is less blur, detect panning and take the picture when there is no horizontal blur, and detect smiling to theoretically get just the right shot.

This is a bad feature waiting to happen. Or did it happen already? The idea is that you’ll never miss a shot again, but relying on a camera the size of your credit card to automatically get the shot isn’t a great idea, either. Indeed, this feature didn’t work well. I set it to detect a smile. I waited and waited and nothing happened. Then I figured out you have to push the shutter release button once for it to even start detecting. Once I did that, it recognized the booth rep with the face detection system. It also recognized her shoulder as a separate face. Hmm. She smiled and nothing happened. She leaned over to help someone and it took the picture. Rats. Missed the smile and got a horrible picture of a leaning booth rep.

Aperture

The Exilim 3x optical zoom lens has a max aperture of f/2.8 when zoomed out and f/5.3 when zoomed in. The two-step aperture can shrink as small as f/7.9. The aperture cannot be manually adjusted; the camera automates this.

Picture Quality / Size Options

The Casio S10 has a 10.1-megapixel image sensor that measures 1/2.3 inches. It allows you to take JPEG images at Fine, Normal, or Economy compression. Image sizes include 3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432 (3:2), 3648 x 2048 (16:9), 3072 x 2304, 2304 x 1728, 1600 x 1200, and 640 x 480 pixels. In Playback mode, images can be resized to smaller sizes than what the original was shot in. For instance, a 10-megapixel image can be resized to 7-megapixels, 4-megapixels, and VGA in the Playback menu. Trimming is also possible in the Playback menu.

**Picture Effects Mode

**The S10 can compete with the best of them when it comes to picture effects. It has a slew of options in the Recording and Playback menus. The Recording menu allows you to photograph with all kinds of color filters: black & white, sepia, red, green, blue, yellow, pink, and purple. You can also adjust the contrast, saturation, and sharpness on +/- 2 scales with full steps. There are no live views when choosing these, though, so you’re on your own to figure out its effects. There are Monochrome and Retro Scene modes that are basically color effects for black & white and sepia.

In the Playback menu, you can change the tint of the color by switching the white balance mode – only the presets are available, of course. You can also adjust the brightness on a full-step +/- 2 scale and correct colors. There is also a rare Keystone option that corrects tilted images and straightens them out. The Casio S10 has more options than most digital cameras with its impressive effects in both the Recording and Playback modes.

Connectivity

Software

It isn’t known exactly what type of software will come with the Casio S10. The Casio V8 also has the YouTube mode, and it came with a program called YouTube Uploader for Casio software. It was convenient once set up, but required some initial patience to input the YouTube password and other information. It is expected that the same program will come with the S10, along with iTunes or something to transfer videos to other devices.

Jacks, ports, plugs

There is only one jack on the bottom of the camera. It is nearly centered and looks like it would stand up nicely in a camera dock, but Casio said there is no dock for this camera. You must lay the camera on its side to plug it into a computer, printer, or other device. I’m not a fan of the bottom-positioned jack because it leaves the camera vulnerable to dings and scratches from laying it on its side. The single jack has USB/AV functionality.

Direct Print Options

The PictBridge-compatible digital camera can create DPOF orders in its Playback menu. You can scroll through images and select which ones you want and then choose how many prints you want from 0-99. A date stamp can be added, as well. If this isn’t enough, there is a motion print feature in the Playback menu that allows you to create a 9-frame filmstrip on a print. You can also pull single frames from videos, but the resolution won’t be very good. In the Playback menu, there is also a "layout print" feature that creates a scrapbook-like page with either two or three images.

Battery

The Casio S10 comes with the NP-60 rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It gets 280 shots per charge and comes with a wall-mount charger. The battery lasts for about one hour of video. There is a three-tiered battery indicator on the LCD screen. The battery fits into a tiny slot in the bottom of the camera alongside the memory card.

Memory

There is only enough internal memory to hold a single full-resolution image: 11.8 MB. The camera can also accept SD, SDHC, MMC, and MMCplus media. A 1 GB SD card can hold up to 151 full-resolution images. Images can be moved from the internal memory to the card and back through the Playback menu.

Other features

Voice Recording Mode – There is a Voice Recording mode that allows you to record up to 10 hours of monaural audio. It is found in the Best Shot menu.

Dynamic Range Expansion – There is a dynamic range expansion feature in the Recording mode that also shows up in the Playback menu. It has Expand +1, and Expand +2 options to bring details out of the shadows. Some of Sony’s digital cameras have a similar feature, which they call DR-O, but it only works in the shooting mode.

Portrait Refiner – This consists of two noise filters in the shooting menu that try to eliminate blemishes by smoothing over pixels.

Value

The Casio S10 sells in the North American market for $249, which seems a fair price and perhaps even a bit low. Many manufacturers hike the price up on their slim and trendy cameras just for the sake of style. Luckily, Casio doesn’t bank on people paying more for style. The conservative $249 price is fair for what this camera is: a thin 10.1-megapixel camera with a host of Scene modes and scant manual controls.

Who It’s For

Point-and-Shooters – The Casio Exilim EX-S10 is a flat and stylish point-and-shoot made for these consumers.

Budget Consumers – The S10 is Casio’s least expensive slim digital camera and may just get this group salivating.

Gadget Freaks – There aren’t any gadgets that will attract these consumers.

Manual Control Freaks – There is a serious lack of manual control on this camera; this won’t be impressive to these folks.

Pros/ Serious Hobbyists – This won’t even be a passing thought.

Conclusion

The Casio Exilim EX-S10 has a lot of cool features and a very sexy body, but a few very unfortunate characteristics. The ability to drag and drop into iTunes will be convenient and the YouTube uploading program will save a few minutes for budding videographers (who happen to use tiny Casios). There are scores of editing features and effects, but if your fingers don’t get chopped off by the sharp zoom ring, then they will get confounded by the awful multi-selector. The buttons are too small and the camera is so skinny that you have to pinch it to keep from eating the pavement. Yes, being skinny is cool. But a little meat on the bones is a functional thing, too. Handling is a painful endeavor on the S10.

The S10 has some speed issues. The Burst mode and autofocus systems are very slow and the face detection system doesn't come through as promised. Granted, this is considered a preproduction camera because it doesn’t come out until March. There is still time to fix these problems. But almost all of the features on the S10 were fully functional at the show – as in, nothing froze up and no dancing bears appeared on the LCD when I recorded a video (the only exception was the manual focus that turned on the tracking autofocus). We have to give Casio the benefit of the doubt though when it comes to performance, and we don't have our imaging labs in our pocket when checking cameras out at conventions.

Performance aside, though, the tiny buttons and horrible handling are enough to scare me off – even if the $249 price tag is tempting.

Meet the testers

Emily Raymond

Emily Raymond

Editor

Emily Raymond is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Emily Raymond's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

Shoot us an email