Casio Exilim EX-F1
Tales of Testing
Theodore Gray, PopSci "Gray Matter" Columnist
I was about to buy a bulky high-speed camera setup costing upward of $5,000 when the EX-F1 came along. It's magical—essentially snapping pictures before I push the shutter button (by auto-filling its memory with 60 six-megapixel photos every second). And it captures slow-motion video at up to 1,200 frames per second. The resolution and image quality aren't as high as in a pricier rig, but the EX-F1 is small enough to carry everywhere. As a result, I've caught explosive chemical reactions, the acrobatics of dragonflies, and a host of other things that happen at faster-than-human speed.
Casio's coup was recognizing that the necessary tech—fast image sensors and processors, big memory buffers to hold the images until the memory card records them—already existed in consumer-grade camera components. And it bet correctly that amateurs like me would trade a little quality to get their hands on this kind of high-speed power.