Micro Casio EX-F1 Review -- part 2 at DVinfo.net

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HD from Nikon D90, other still photo cams (except EOS 5D Mk. II, LUMIX GH1).


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Old December 20th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #1
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Micro Casio EX-F1 Review -- part 2

When folks talk about controlling exposure they often say they want to independently set shutter-speed and iris. For example, 1/60th and f/5.6. To the novice this sounds important. But, is it?

I now have two Best Shot Presets that work for video. One does indeed keep speed around 1/60th in bright light. And, one does keep the F-stop around f/5.6 in bright light.

The former Preset keeps motion strobing to a minimum, but the F-stop goes to f/16.

The latter Preset keeps diffraction effects to a minimum, but shutter speed goes up to /320. (As the iris gets smaller than about f/5.6, details get fuzzy.)

Using a single Best Shot Preset, I can't get both 1/60th and f/5.6. So is there a problem with a DSLR that can't do this? No. Even if I could set both -- which is what folks seem to want -- the picture would be many stops over-exposed -- even if I could manually set ISO to 100.

The real issue is that these cameras don't switch in the proper ND filter. But, one can easily pop-on an ND filter. Now, either Best Shot Preset will work. True, I won't get exactly 1/60th or exactly f/5.6. But, I will be able to minimize both strobing and diffraction loss.

Thinking outside the box (camera) may work for other DSLR type cameras that seem at first to not offer the control one wants.

PS: Casio has already issued one firmware update to offer a Best Shot Preset that provides 5-seconds of video pre-buffering. So we know firmware can be added. It would be great if they could add several video oriented Presets.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 11:17 AM   #2
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Best Shot

Steve, what 2 Best Shot modes are you using and how are you setting your presets?

I just shot a promo video for a resource center using the Panasonic DVX 200a and Casio F1. I can really tell the difference in quality between the 2 cameras. As part of the video I shot a night scene with cars passing their sign. I am really impressed with the low light video I got with the F1
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 02:57 PM   #3
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I just shot a promo video for a resource center using the Panasonic DVX 200a and Casio F1. I can really tell the difference in quality between the 2 cameras.
1) Other than low-light -- in what ways were they different?


2) I'm still choosing presets, but here is an overall statement. In almost every case the BS that works for me needs to be modified before shooting: saturation, sharpness, and/or contrast.

The good thing is if you leave MENU at QUALITY and click UP -- you get to these settings fast.

Of course, everytime the camera goes to sleep or powers down -- the BS has to be reset.

So, I've turned-off sleep and used the longest time before shut-off.

3) The CONTINUOUS AF mode MAY mean there is no need to press the shutter button half-way to get focus. Just press LOCK. BUT that means another menu item to change!

Also, I've always assumed that the shutter button sets both focus and exposure -- so maybe the shutter button needs to be pushed. I need to run this test.

Moreover, with stills the shutter button gets pressed all the way after the AF and AE are set. To shoot video -- you don't. So when you let-up on the shutter button are the AE and AF lost before you can press LOCK? Must check this too.

4) Then there is the trade-off issue. The BS that keeps the speed to 1/60th closes the iris to 1/16th. Does this destroy image detail?

5) The BS that keeps the iris to a nice f/6 lets the speed go up to 1/160th. How much strobing does this cause?

6) How bad is the strobing at 1/320 which is the setting made with no BS -- and hence no settings to be worried about?

7) I find high contrast outdoors (snow) is overexposed. Will a wider Dynamic Range solve this? Does Dynamic Range even apply to movies? And, it is another menu setting that would need to be set!

8) Lastly, I haven't shot in an ordinary (200W-300W) tungsten light situation. How well will the F1 do?

I can get a Canon SX1 IS via Singapore. It SEEMS a perfect camera. But, one person reports it simply can NOT be used under available light as the noise above ISO 200 is horrible. He says the F1 is far better. (But, the Canon shoots a wide 28mm and has wonderful OIS. Plus, a flip-up LCD. These are important to me!)

One thing is clear -- the Casio is the ONLY camera without serious rolling shutter artifacts! The D90 is horrible and the Canons not much better. The Sony EXMOR CMOS chip is the key to both low noise and minimal rolling shutter. Nikon and Canon simply don't have the CMOS technology in their still photo group. It could be years before these match the Casio.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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Casio F1

1)Other than low-light -- in what ways were they different?

The Casio is so much clearer when you zoom in and set your focus then reframe. The detail is better. The AWB is spot on. I believe it is the clear focus and detail that make the picture more pleasing.


2) I'm still choosing presets, but here is an overall statement. In almost every case the BS that works for me needs to be modified before shooting: saturation, sharpness, and/or contrast.

This is the same for me. In bright sunlight, there is not much contrast so I set the F1 to +2 contrast. When there is lots of contrast, I set the contrast to -2. This opens up the dark areas. Also if I want to lower the highlights, I adjust the dynamic range to +2. In every shot I set the saturation to +2. I leave the sharpness alone. The camera is so clear I don’t add to it. Another way I lower the highlights is with EV.



3) The CONTINUOUS AF mode MAY mean there is no need to press the shutter button half-way to get focus. Just press LOCK. BUT that means another menu item to change!

The fastest way I have found to get consistent focus is to use manual focus. Then reframe. If I have lots of light and I am in a hurry, I will use the autofocus then quickly switch to manual and the focus stays. I have noticed that in low light, if I use the autofocus then switch to manual the focus changes. I think this is because the camera needs a certain amount of light to autofocus. In low light manual focus has always worked for me. I only lock the AE. The focus does not change when I am in MF. I use BS Night Scene for all my indoors and night shots.


7) I find high contrast outdoors (snow) is overexposed. Will a wider Dynamic Range solve this? Does Dynamic Range even apply to movies? And, it is another menu setting that would need to be set!

Yes, dynamic range +2 crushes the highlights. I have tried 90% of the submenu items and they all apply to video in BS mode.

8) Lastly, I haven't shot in an ordinary (200W-300W) tungsten light situation. How well will the F1 do.

If I use BS mode night scene and SD, the video is very good. I have a Lowell Pro Light that I can bounce off a reflector in an interview and get good video.

Again, this is not a one camera fits all. But I am using it more and more. The amount of control it gives me is wonderful.

Some things I wish Casio would change: At this time, I cannot monitor the audio the camera is capturing. Also the zoom is not as smooth as the Panasonic. I would also like to make my own BS video mode. I dislike having to reset the camera everytime I turn it on.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 08:03 PM   #5
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Casio F1

I made this chart to help me understand the BS modes.

BS Modes: The difference? Fast shutter speed, slow shutter speed, Hue, digital noise reduction at slow shutter speeds.

1. Portrait-Enhanced flesh tones (Hue ?) The Portrait Refiner option in Quality can be set to Noise Filter +2, Noise Filter +1 and Off. This smooths out skin tones.
2. Children- Enhanced Flesh tones, fast shutter speed
3. Sports- Fast shutter speeds
4. Candlelight – Soft sharpness, tungsten white balance, slow shutter speed. The camera automatically performs a digital noise reduction process at slow shutter speeds.
5. Party – Fast shutter speed
6. Flower- Macro Mode, high saturation
7. Pet –Fast shutter speed
8. Natural Green- hard sharpness, high saturation, enhance green hues
9. Autumn Leaves- Hard sharpness and high saturation enhance red hues
10. Soft Flowing Water- slow shutter speed The camera automatically performs a digital noise reduction process at slow shutter speeds.
11. Splashing Water- Fast shutter speed
12. Sundown- Infinity focus, Red filter, Daylight light balance
13. Night Scene- Slow shutter speed, infinity focus The camera automatically performs a digital noise reduction process at slow shutter speeds.
14. Night Scene Portrait-Slow shutter speed. The camera automatically performs a digital noise reduction process at slow shutter speeds.
15. Fireworks-slow shutter speed, infinity focus The camera automatically performs a digital noise reduction process at slow shutter speeds.

I believe the digital noise reduction at slow shutter speed is helping low light video.
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Daniel Thornton View Post
The fastest way I have found to get consistent focus is to use manual focus. Then reframe. If I have lots of light and I am in a hurry, I will use the autofocus then quickly switch to manual and the focus stays.

I have noticed that in low light, if I use the autofocus then switch to manual the focus changes. I think this is because the camera needs a certain amount of light to autofocus. In low light manual focus has always worked for me. I only lock the AE. The focus does not change when I am in MF.

Yes, dynamic range +2 crushes the highlights. Also if I want to lower the highlights, I adjust the dynamic range to +2.

This is the same for me. In bright sunlight, there is not much contrast so I set the F1 to +2 contrast. When there is lots of contrast, I set the contrast to -2. This opens up the dark areas.
Looks like Dynamic Range may be adjusting the Knee with +1 being about 90IRE and +2 about 80IRE. So this is very useful in bright, hi contrast situations.

Contrast seems to working at the low-end. +2 would Black compress while -2 would be Black expand.

For those of us that want the maximum latitude, DR = +2 and Contrast = -2. Then CC in post.

I would tend to reserve Saturation of +1/+2 for overcast days. Again, I like white-pink faces not pink-red faces.

One good thing about non BS mode is that CONT AF and EIS AS are both set. I tend to trust AF more than my eye when it's so bright I can't see clearly. (With glasses even the VF is way too tiny.) Which means the only button I need to press is AE/AF lock.

On a tripod, I would use MF.

Tonight I'm going to look at video on a monitor to see if ANY setting reduces motion judder.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 06:49 AM   #7
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Casio F1

For those of us that want the maximum latitude, DR = +2 and Contrast = -2. Then CC in post.

This is a great idea, I will try it.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #8
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For those of us that want the maximum latitude, DR = +2 and Contrast = -2. Then CC in post.

This is a great idea, I will try it.
Wow! No time for long post, but this last night I saw video that looks equal to a digital stills. Amazing camera, even with only 100W light.

The picture is inherently "flat" which is very good for CC. But, you are correct, increasing the Contrast and Saturation makes the raw video look much better.

I tried settings to raise and lower shutter-speed. NO difference in terms of strobing. I'm beginning to think one will have to use a 4X ND filter to force the speed down to add some nice motion blur.

NO Rolling shutter!

See video at:

http://exposureroom.com/members/DVC....a53658e04bd19/
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Old December 24th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #9
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Steve, do you know about Samsung HMX20 HD camcorder, which have same Sony CMOS 1/1.8" imager as EX-F1 ? Three Camera Shoot Out - Sony V1, Samsung SC-HMX20C, Canon HV20 on Vimeo
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