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on May 12, 2009
Ok, I don't know why others are giving this camera a low review. Perhaps they haven't played with it enough. I have only had this camera for about two weeks. I gave it to myself for a birthday present cause it was time to get rid of my old Nikon 3.2 mp camera and I am about to spend a semester in France and throughout Europe doing some field work for my Master's thesis.
First of all, the sheer size of this camera is amazing (its smaller than my ipod video). I was originally going to get the s10 but was unable to find it (I guess they're not selling it anymore), but quite honestly 2 mp difference is no big deal. 12mp is more than enough. I have gotten so many compliments on this camera so far just because of its size and the fact that it has 12mp rather than 10 or even 8.
I think the picture quality is outstanding! I have been playing with it practically everyday taking pictures of anything and everything to get a good test out of it. So far, all these pictures look very very nice. One thing I like to do with cameras is play around with its settings. This camera, although it has a Best Shot Feature (pre-programmed settings for certain situations), I'm the type of person who likes to experiment with those settings anyway. This camera allows you to do that with the best shot feature and it has a manual feature so that you can adjust everything! I hate cameras that won't let you mess with its pre-programmed settings cause let's face it they don't always get it right! Then the best part is, you can save these settings that you've created and the camera will remember them for you.
One thing I see in these reviews is that the picture quality is bad. The s12 (as I'm sure with other casios) has a "quick shutter" setting. This setting will immediately take the picture before it has a chance to focus (why you would do that I'm not sure). You can turn this off! That was one of the first things I changed when I started playing with it.
The HD videos this camera takes are very impressive! I have posted a couple of them on Youtube (look under my name: vsa23). They look fantastic on our 52" HDTV! Have not run into any problems like the sound not being in sync with the video.
My ONLY complaint about this camera is that when the camera is on "Best Shot Auto Focus" (the lowest, easiest, setting for grandma), the focus makes very loud almost scratching noises because it is constantly focusing. I took the camera back, exchanged it for a new one, and even tried the store's two displays and they all seem to do that. Perhaps this is something that will change with the later s12s that come out. But in all honesty, I don't use that setting anyway (not that I'm a pro or anything), so it doesn't bother me too much.
All in all, I am very happy with this little camera! It does everything I need it to do (which is really to primarily take pictures) and it offers so much more than I need at the same time (make up setting, dynamic photo, smile shutter, face detection, youtube capture, and more!). If you're looking for a very nice camera with lots of features in a small compact travel-friendly camera then this one is a very good choice. I will be posting some of my sample photos on Amazon's customer images thing. Hope you all find this review useful!
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on May 5, 2009
This Casio EX-S12 was chosen over other compact cameras in the US market, due to its tiny size and price. My intention is to find a super compact but decent camera for my wife to travel with, where a full size DSLR is not desirable.

The camera started up quickly but does take about 2-3 seconds between shots (not bad considering that I had the automatic flash on and it'll take time to charge up the capacitor). The buttons and the menu are intuitive and easy to figure out. The camera is packed with features that I'll never use, such as BestShot, Youtube, Dynamic Photo, smile recognition, etc. On the other hand, I do find the historgram and the tripod mount highly benficial.

Battery life seems to be good. Although it didn't make sense to have a compact camera, but the battery charger is as big as the camera itself, with a long power cable to the outlet. It's a generic detachable cable so I'll replace it with a shorter one (or shorten the one provided). I've not tried if I can charge the battery by using the USB cable only.

As for the resulting photos, it does a great job with portraits as I'm impressed with the smooth and natural skin tone that it produces. I had no problem with noise with the normal ISO setting. It produces beautiful, peaceful pastile color for landscape photos as well. I did not play with any camera setting to adjust the internal processing, but you'll probably need to do so if you want photos with more contrast and more punch. It's not an issue with me, since I can always post-process the files later via Photoshop. As with most point-n-shoot, too bad it doesn't create RAW file format.

I tend to use the wide side rather than telephoto with my photography style. Thus, I hardly use the zoom feature. This camera has the 36mm equivalent, which is about the normal human's view point so images aren't distorted much. Not an ultra-wide, but not bad.

The on camera flash is okay for a tiny camera, and the output is adjustable. I do rather see a PC port added with the future model, so I can shoot with an off-camera flash.

As for the HD video, it works fine. Originally, I tested it with an old SD card and was suspicious if audio and video were in sync. Later, I put in a better SDHC card and had no issue with the video. The video in HD mode started up quickly, but it's limited to 10 minute clips (due to size limitation of FAT32 file format as with other point-and-shoot?). You'll have to remember to find a break to stop-and-restart quickly before the 10 minute is up.

Be sure to get the biggest and fast SDHC card that you can get. My old 1GB SD card was filled quickly with about 7 minutes of HD video and few 12MP photos. Also, due to its tiny dimension, be sure to use the hand strap.
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on July 4, 2009
I usually shoot with a DSLR and wanted to get a new small camera to carry around and replace my 5 year old Pentax Optio S4i. My main criteria for picking the camera were weight, HD video capture, image quality, and ease of use. I've since updated this list to include image stabilization.

The casio s12 is one of the smallest cameras you can get. Reviews also said the camera was snappy. Looking at reviewer's test shots showed it had very good image quality, so I picked one up.

I wanted to like this camera. I tried to like this camera. But in the end the camera is just too unreliable to be used as a point and shoot. The images typically look very good on the camera's screen, but on a large monitor they were often under saturated, auto white balance was off, and most importantly they were frequently out of focus. With this camera, you need to pre-focus with a 1/2 shutter press before taking a picture. Far too often, the camera would never focus - even in sunlight. The only time there was reliable focus was when the subject was relatively close to the camera (a couple yards or less away) and cooperative. When the focus worked correctly, the picture quality was still not perfect (harsh chromatic aberration) but was admittedly much better than average. I cannot figure out why the focus is so hit or miss. Perhaps it is operator error or lack of image stabilization. It may even be that the camera defaults to focus a few feet away when its autofocus algorithm fails. This would be fine for taking a picture of your friends sitting at a table with you, but it does not work if you are zoomed-in on your kids playing in the yard.

The HD video quality was fairly good for nearby subjects. It did suffer from lack of any image stabilization technology and it is doubtful anyone would be using this camera for shooting video with a tripod. With a camera this small I really think you need some form of image stabilization.

I will return the Casio and try one of the new Canon's or the Lumix FX-35/37/48 (or even the new Pentax w80). I would only recommend the Casio for someone who primarily shoots nearby, cooperative subjects. Those images seem to come out OK most of the time and even excellent once in a while. This camera would not be my recommendation if you want to capture your kids candidly. If you like the Casio style or feature set, perhaps the Casio Z400 will be better since it has image stabilization, a longer zoom, and perhaps some updated firmware.

Positives:
* Easy to use
* Great feature set
* Small (but not too small) size
* Great set of 'best shot' modes, including a unique whiteboard and business card mode which can replace your scanner
* Unlimited length HD video capture in AVI format (good for Windows) at 24fps. The lack of 30fps in HD mode wasn't noticeable.
* Good build quality with excellent LCD screen
* Good low-light focus lamp
* Potential to take some very good pictures

Negatives:
* Very unreliable focus and sometimes unreliable white balance
* Terrible printed user manual (but the online manual is very good)
* No standard cable connections on camera for USB
* No digital video out from the camera
* Some of the in-camera features just did not work reliably. Most notable is the feature where you can subtract the background from around your subject and place the subject in another image.
* Lens not very wide (~36mm)
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on April 4, 2009
OK, here is the non-techie's verdict on this camera... I really like it and rate it a SOLID FOUR STARS !!!
I will leave the techie's to discuss all the pros and cons of the specs. In a nutshell, here are my thoughts:
1) It's definitely mini and fits easily in a shirt pocket.
So bring one along in your pocket and you'll always
be ready for a Kodak...oops! "Casio Moment"
2) I was all set to buy the silver one, but when they
took it out of the box, it looked way tooo shiny!
Like the color of bright, polished tin... so I
asked to see the other colors and bought the gold,
champagne, beer-colored one. It looks fantastic.
3) WITHOUT the manual, I played around with the MENU
and the various buttons and got everything working
to my liking within 30 minutes. And I am no
techie!
4) OUTPUT: Yes, the photos and videos ROCKED for this
mini-camera. Expensive, separate-lens, high-end
cameras will take BETTER photos, but these are
DEFINITELY VERY GOOD! Colors are vibrant!
5) BEST SHOT - Pre-programmed settings for outdoors,
night, and about 20-other almost-any-event. This
is a fun gadget and let's you focus on the
subject/s while this little cam does all the
work.
6) PRICE: Definitely OK for all that you get in that
size!
7) C'MON !!!.. I said enough... go out and buy one!
YOU will be HAPPY you did. Trust me. It rocks!
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on November 17, 2009
In my opinion this is the best camera in this category. Before I buy any camera I review sample photos full size, which for this camera at 12mp is wall size, about 60 inches wide. I look for noise, detail and color. I have had this camera for a week and ran it through my tests and it did not disappoint. Noise in the blue sky is almost non-existent, something you would expect from an SLR. Detail in pretty good also. In daylight I just leave it in auto and it shoots awesome pictures. Indoors you could leave it in auto, but all your shots will be at 400 ISO which is starting to add noise at this level. I set it at 200 ISO indoors for near perfect noise free pictures.

I have tried some of the Best Shot settings and the landscape scenic setting is terrible, don't even bother using it because it messes up the saturation. The composite setting is cool that it pictures the subject in motion but there is not much use for it. I am yet to try all of the Best Shot settings, there is a lot of them.

Make-up function works perfectly, maybe too good. It has 12 levels of make-up. Makes my 79 year old mother look like she is 19. I would rather take pictures of the way things really are, but this is definitely a cool feature.

Low light performance seems really good, it is able to focus and take good shots.

HD video is really nice, though 24 fps is a bit choppy. You will need to learn how to take video at 24 fps. Basically you need to keep still and do not change direction too fast. The 640x480 is smoother at 30 fps and it looks pretty good also if there is enough light. One surprise for me is that it is able to zoom during video. It is not optical zoom during video it is digital zoom but it performs like optical zoom. There is no deterioration when in full zoom, and the manual states this also. This is great to be able to zoom in video. You can consider this optical video zoom since it performs the same as. The colors of the video are not as good as broadcast HDTV, but it seems almost as sharp in good lighting.

There is no photo editing software included with this camera, which is a shock to me since all my last cameras were Fujifilms and they include a great post processing software. I searched for a replacement software and found Photoscape, it is free and even better than Finepix software. At full resolution this Casio comes out with 5-6.8 mb picture file size. Well with the photoscape I can save in 70% jpg compression that brings down the file size to 1.1 mb, saves a lot of memory. I compared the difference and I cannot see any difference between the 1.1 mb picture and the 6.5 mb picture, and I am viewing them full size.
I normally keep this camera at 3:2 and Normal, again I don't see Fine as being any improvement over Normal. 3:2 is wider than normal to look better on tv's but still can be printed on a 4x6. The 16:9 seems too wide and then when you go to print them, stores like Walgreens may have a problem cropping part of the picture out of it.

I have always had Fujifilms, but Casio just seems to come out with things first and I just couldn't wait for Fujifilm to come out with a comparable camera. I am glad I made the move to Casio and I think I will stick with Casio for all my future cameras.
There is no camera this small with all these features and that takes such awesome pictures.

11/2/2015 note: In my opinion, this camera is still king of point n shoot cameras. I have purchased many cameras since and returned many of them, including a few bridge zoom cameras. One of them in 2015. Seriously, I cannot believe they have not been able to improve for the past 6 years. It is frustrating to buy a new camera in 2015 and have it not be as good as this camera from 2009. The only cameras I currently have that shoot better pictures is my Nikon D3300, and actually my Samsung Note 3 phone shoots better pictures than the Casio S12, hard to believe. Although the Note 3 does not do well in very dark rooms when shooting video.
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on July 30, 2009
I had a prior version of this camera that had a docking station to charge the battery and transfer pictures to storage. It was simple. You put the camera in the dock and that was it.

This version does not have the docking station. It requires you to remove the battery to charge it. If you remove the battery for a period of time you will lose your settings. If you have a charged backup battery and you switch it quickly, I've found the settings (date, time, quality, etc) are retained.

The picture quality (still and video) is improved from the EX-S500 I had before. The screen is much, much easier to read in sunlight. On the EX-S500 I sometimes had to hold my hand over the screen to block the light so I could see it.

What would make this camera an absolute standout is if the charger was a docking station AND could be used to charge the battery separately. Why not make it as easy as possible to charge and transfer photo's?
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on October 21, 2013
I bought this for my wife. It's a reconditioned unit, so I didn't really know what to expect. All I knew was I wanted my wife to have her Casio Exilim back in her hands and be happy. She had a different model, but it looked and acted the same. Well, acted ALMOST the same. And, ever since her camera failed (lens would no longer extend), she's been unhappy and cannot take pictures. I bought her a new camera, even smaller than the Exilim, but it had a touch screen and just didn't work like her beloved Casio. So, I took the plunge and bought this reconditioned Casio Exilim EX-S12.

It is amazing. I couldn't be happier. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect when buying reconditioned, but when it arrived, it was llike brand new. The only thing missing was the box it originally came in. But the box being used to ship it was better than the original, anyway. The camera has all the features of her old one, and for her use, it has exactly the same functions. (Actually, it has more functions, but why confuse the issue.) She's happy as a clam, and when she's happy, I'm happy. And, it's a great camera, and a Casio, and an Exilim, takes great pictures, and is tiny. Just what the doctor ordered.
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on August 29, 2009
I have to comment on an excellent camera. The Casio EX-S12 offers exceptional value in a small package.
Pros, to mention a few
- Costs about $200 from Amazon.
- Creates totally new pictures or video through object isolation or scene separation (powerful).
- Allows customizable control panel of the monitor screen.
- Supports personalized options through best shot.
- Uses the very friendly best shot selection.
- Allows personalizing Power On Default Settings.
- Creates decent pictures up to 1600 ISO where I prefer 400 ISO or lower.
- Allows HD video in 24 frames per second (pan or move the camera slowly).
- Allows SD video in 30 frames per second.
- Uses standard or legacy parts, such as, SD or SDHC memory cards, backward compatible batteries etc.
- Fits easily in a pocket.
- Blazes a new trail because this camera is hard to beat.

Cons
- Charger requires cord and charging unit rather than flip out plug (not a major problem).
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on February 1, 2010
This is a great little digital camera; just perfect for taking snap shots while traveling. It easily fits into a shirt or cargo pants pocket and is so lightweight, you will hardy notice it is there. The LCD screen is crisp and almost the sie of the camera itself. I have found it to be very easy to operate and it has proven to be good for general scenery shots, as well as close-ups of flowers and other objects. The zoom is good and it has an auto anti-shake mode. It has a very nice "best shot" feature, that allows one to optimize the photo based on the type of shot. It has a good flash and you can select whether or not to use the flash (useful in a museum). It doesn't compete with my digital SLR for its zoom capabilites, but I bought it to use on business trips and as a back-up camera. On a recent hiking trip, I found myself using it more than my SLR for standard shots, because it was so easy to use and the image quality was very good. For the business traveler, this is great alternative to lugging around a digital SLR, along with your luggage and briefcase.
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on April 12, 2011
I bought one of these in early September, 2010. In January, 2011 the lens stopped retracting, so the camera stopped operating. Casio refused to fix the problem unless I paid them nearly $100 even though there is a 1 year warranty. They were willing to let me upgrade the camera (including to the same model) for $80-120. This is the second Casio Exilim camera to have this problem in 3 months for me. I like the Casio cameras, but if they do not adhere to their warranty, send them a message and buy a camera from another vendor.
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