April 1, 2010
Casio EX-G1 Camera
Shockproof and waterproof within limits
I am hard on cameras. I carry them in a pocket with keys and change. I leave them sitting in sunlight or cold. However I have never dropped one on land, tile, cement, or into water. The Casio EX-G1 is protected from most of these things. Not keys or change in the same pocket. Maybe this will come later. The look and feel of the G1 is different than any camera I have tested in the past. It comes in Black or Red. I received a Red one for these tests.
The G1 weighs 5.4 oz. with batteries and memory card and measures 4.1” by 2.5” by .78”. It is all angles and buttons. The protection capabilities are modeled on the Casio G-Shock Watch and the G'zOne phone. The specs claim it will survive multiple drops of 7 feet and water depths of 10 feet for 60 minutes. It will survive cold weather at or above 14 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C). The G1 is a 12.1 MP camera with most of the usual bells and whistles that come with a Casio Camera. Since I was worried I called my contact a Casio and confirmed all of this to be true. Let’s see how the tests worked out.
In the Box:
The G1 Camera
Battery – (NP-80)
Power Cord for charger
4 Long Screws for the Protectors
2 Short Screws in case you lose the two that are already in the camera
CD with User guide and other software
Quick Start Guide
NOTE: You must provide your own memory card.
If you want to really protect the camera from drops you need to install one of the included Protectors by removing 2 short screws from the end nearest to the lens and, after placing the Protector correctly, use 2 of the provided long screws to hold it in place. (Save the short screws just in case.) This had to be very simple if I could do it. If you only plan on using it for underwater shots limited to less than 10 feet you can skip the protector as that has nothing to do with waterproofing. You then need to insert the battery after charging it and a Micro SDHC memory card (not included) Set the time, date, and other basics and away you go.
I did my first sort of chicken drop from about 2 feet. The camera landed on some tile in the kitchen with a sickening thump. The G1 was fine. My next drop was from 6 feet on concrete with the same positive result. I dropped the camera 17 times during the tests. I never got really comfortable with that test but the camera did not fail. Please note that I am not throwing the camera just letting go of the carry strap.
Since all functions need to be waterproof the USB 2 port is in the USB/MiniSD area. There is easy access to these features. The Camera lens is non-movable. That makes for better waterproofing as it is protected inside the camera. The 3X Optical zoom is very good. As with most Digital cameras the Digital zoom requires a tripod or some sort of stabilizing like bracing it against a post or fence. The 2 separate buttons for Zoom in and Zoom out instead of a rocker control are a good feature. The Best shot button on the top of the camera gives you easy access to that option. Point the camera at your subject, press the BS button, and the settings are made to give you the best results for current conditions.
Here is a short slide show of my underwater test object.
My water tests were somewhat less than I had planned. Call me a wimp but 60 degrees and 25 miles per hour winds in Key West is not my idea of a pool day. 54 to 63 was the prevailing temperature for the last several months. I know the rest of the country was lower but I don’t care. I decided to run some underwater tests using our bathtub (about 22 inches of water) and a small plastic My Little Mermaid statue given to me by a daughter long ago. See my Flickr site for many more photos and videos. I was amazed at the clarity of the results. Even the optical Zoom during video underwater shots worked perfectly.
The Casio EX-G1 is as stated by Casio. It works well and is safe under water. It is resistant to hard drops. I did not have the nerve to stick it in the freezer but I assume it will handle the recommended low temperatures as well as it did the other stress tests.
The MSRP of $299.00 seems a little steep (It can be found for as low as $239.00) but the built in protections are well worth it, So is its versatility under water. I have been assured it works just as well in salt water as it does in a pool or a bathtub. If you are looking for a camera that works in most any environment and is protected against most any bumbling user the Casio EX-G1 is the one for you. It is also a great conversation starter.
For more on the Casio EX-G1 CLICK HERE
For more Casio products CLICK HERE