Start-up time is impressively fast, capturing the first image in less than 2 seconds despite the distance the lens has to expand out of the slim frame. With a PNY 4GB SDHC card, shot-to-shot time is 3 seconds.
The burst mode captures about 40 images in one go, snapping at a steady speed for just over a minute. That's about 0.7 frames per second at high resolution, which isn't particularly inspiring.There is a high-speed mode, which captured more than 1,100 images in one go, powering on for more than six minutes. Up until roughly the 4-minute mark, the high-speed burst blasted 3.3 frames per second, which is a creditable speed -- but each image is only 2 megapixels. We'd have preferred more of a compromise between speed and image size.
The flash-enabled burst mode is somewhat misleadingly named. We expected the flash to continually cycle as images were captured, but in fact this mode simply fires the flash once, capturing three images.
In compacts this small -- especially those lacking image stabilisation -- noise was always going to be an issue. We found ISO 200 is grainy even in flat patches of colour, while ISO 800 manages to be both horribly speckled by noise and illegibly smeared by noise reduction. ISO 1,600 is just horrendous, but that's par for the course.
Interestingly, Casio has included two noise filters. We struggled to see much difference in our test shots; images were still gritty, but to be charitable, the contrast-y red and blue noise looked somewhat toned down. There are also two expanded dynamic range options, but again we couldn't discern much difference to them.
Still, colour is faithful even without these options. Portraits are friendly, and although the lack of image stabilisation means snapshots aren't always as sharp as we'd like, tinkering with the exposure compensation and flash intensity in tandem yielded some good results. Low-light performance is pretty poor because of those noise issues, but the adjustable flash made warm, unbleached low-light images possible.
Call us shallow, but we judged the Casio Exilim EX-S10 on superficial first impressions. We thought that the slender frame and underwhelming specs would add up to another uninspiring point-and-shoot. The giant screen was the first clue that it was more than that, with the video record button, options sidebar and tweakable features showing an admirable attention to detail.
There are other 10-megapixel snappers that boast more features, like the Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS, but it's a full centimetre thicker with a smaller screen. With some tweaking, the Casio proved itself a creditable combination of svelte style and thinking power.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday