Casio’s Unlikely New Lens Material Delivers Sharp Optics in a Superslim Package.

Most so-called credit-card-size digital cameras have nice form but limited function--no zoom, small LCDs, and low-resolution sensors. Casio hit the sweet spot between design and performance with its 0.66-inch-thick EX-S100 ($400).

by Greg Broom

Greg Broom

The EX-S100 features the thinnest 2.8x optical zoom you can get, by using an entirely new lens material: ceramic. It can be formulated with fewer defects than glass, reducing color aberrations. And because ceramic is harder than glass, it'll make a skinnier lens that won't flex as it extends and retracts. A thinner stack of lenses allows more light to reach the sensor. The zoom has the power for close-ups, and the CCD is good enough for 8x10 prints--these are the requirements for a well-rounded camera. The EX-S100 is the slimmest pocket shooter to meet them.