Digital cameras. Everyone seems to have one, and boy aren’t they great! Instant gratification. But can your still or video camera shoot 1200 frames per second? Uhhh probably not. Casio realized this little gap in the market and recently released their EX-F1. Its not a budget camera coming in at $1000 msrp, but what you get for that money is something that would have cost much more way back in 2007. It also packs essentially two high speed cameras in one, providing both still and video capture abilities. This is something that is more and more common in prosumer and consumer digital still cameras. This camera has the unique ability (for now) to capture extremely slow motion imagery at up to 60 frames per second for still imagery and an eye-popping 1200 fps in its movie mode. It can also capture video at 300 fps and 600 fps. The trade-off for such stunning effects is resolution. The 1200 fps mode gives you an image that is only 336 x 96 pixels. Shooting at 600 fps gives you a 432 x 192 pixel image and at 300 fps the image is 512 x 384 pixels. So these are not movies you would want to display on your 50″ plasma TV. But, despite the image size compromise, you gain an almost unprecedented ability to capture imagery in a consumer camera that the naked eye could not perceive. The results are very, very cool and interesting. I suggest you take a look at the samples at Casio’s website and prepare to be a little astounded. Even the small images shot in the 1200 fps mode are cool to watch on a computer screen. And in case anyone forgets, the camera also shoots stills, which is its primary function. The 6 megapixel camera can snap up to 60 images per second, which is also not too shabby. All of this high speed, slow mo imagery is done with the help of a single high-speed CMOS 1/1.8″ sensor. It offers 12x optical zoom and can shoot in RAW mode along with the ubiquitous JPEG. All of this is very nice. In case anyone decides they would rather shoot more “normal” looking video, the camera can deliver HD resolution video at 30 fps (1280 × 720) and 60 fps (1920 × 1080). Video is captured in MOV format using H.264/AVC and IMA-ADPCM (stereo) audio. As if all of this was not enough, Casio offers an Other Functions link at the camera’s international website. It has a best shot feature, face detection, auto bracketing and multiple recording modes (including all manual).
For institutions and departments that do work in the visual arts, this camera may well be worth a hard look. It offers some truly innovative and unique features for capturing imagery that can be used in disciplines ranging from engineering to anthropology.
Complete tech specs can be found here.
Keene Haywood (University of Texas@Austin – DIIA)