We can see why so many thought the Casio F1 was an DSLR: it looks like one from the front. The lens is large and doesn’t have a flimsy plastic cover, like most compacts. The lens has a nice blue rim around it along with some specs: "Exilim Optical 12x, f7.3-87.6mm, 1:2.7-4.6, 62mm." Above the lens, the Casio logo can be seen on the flash – similar to Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, and about every DSLR on the market. The hot shoe can be seen at the top, too, making the F1 look even more like a DSLR. The hand grip has a nice textured rubber on it, a shutter release button, and a zoom ring. Near the top of the valley between the hand grip and the zoom lens is an autofocus assist lamp.
The back of the Casio EX-F1 is typical of a compact. The 2.8-inch LCD screen is on the left side and buttons occupy the right side. The LCD is flush with the camera body, and the Exilim label is printed at the bottom of the LCD. Just above the LCD is the electronic viewfinder, which protrudes slightly. There is a diopter adjustment dial to the left of the viewfinder and a hot shoe on top.
To the right of the viewfinder is a small indicator light, and two oval buttons sit in the same neighborhood. The playback button sits on the left and the movie shooting button, marked with a red camera icon, sits on the right. These buttons look borrowed from Casio’s more compact Exilim digital cameras. The thick drive dial’s grooved edge is visible above the buttons. Another grooved dial for exposure modes sits at the top of the right side. In the upper right corner of the Casio F1’s back is a designated movie button, similar to the MovieSnap button on the Canon PowerShot S5 IS. This allows you to record movies at any time – no matter what mode the dial is turned to. Surrounding the movie button is a switch that moves through the different Movie modes: HS (high speed), HD (high definition), and STD (standard).
To the left of the F1’s movie button are a series of plastic bumps meant to add some handling support. To the right of the LCD are several more buttons: EVF/LCD, display, and menu. There is also a traditional multi-selector with a set button in the middle. The selector is a single ring that can be pushed in four directions. Around the edge of the multi-selector is a rotary dial with tiny grooves so it can be rotated easily. This is a nice feature that allows users to scroll through menu items and, more importantly, the enormous amount of images taken with the 60fps burst rate.
There are several buttons on the left side of the Casio F1’s lengthy lens. The grooved rubber zoom ring and metal rim of the lens can be seen. Behind it, on the main part of the body, are three buttons for Focus mode, backlight compensation, and exposure and focus lock. The camera is branded below the buttons: "Digital Camera EX-F1." Above the buttons, Casio printed a plug for the camera’s best feature: "60 fps continuous shooting." On the wider portion of the camera body is a neck strap eyelet at the top and a rubber flap on the bottom that covers jacks and ports. There are several ports beneath the flap: USB/AV, HDMI, AC, and a port for an external microphone.
The right side isn’t very glamorous. It’s divided in the center, with a smoother black plastic surface near the back and a textured rubber that wraps around onto the front. This surface makes for better handling on the grip. Near the back is a small memory card door. At the top of this side is the neck strap eyelet.
From a bird’s-eye view, the Casio Exilim EX-F1 shows its L-shape. The 12x optical zoom lens is quite long. The end of the lens has a rubber grooved surface that rotates and can be used to zoom, focus, or choose the burst speed – whichever you choose in the Setup menu. Behind the lens is the flash unit, which looks long and allows it to pop up high and cover a decent area.
The Exilim label graces the flash unit. Directly behind the built-in flash is the hot shoe. On the left shoulder of the camera is a neck strap eyelet. There is also a small flash button, perhaps for changing the Flash mode, but it didn’t work on the pre-production model. The right portion of the L-shape has two dials on it: a black plastic drive dial has positions for the following Burst modes: Bracketing, Prerecord, Single, High Speed, Continuous, and Flash Continuous. Directly to the right of this dial is a slightly smaller chrome exposure mode dial. Positions on the mode dial are Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, Auto (in actuality, it’s more of a Program mode), and Best Shot.
On the right shoulder of the camera is a matching neck strap eyelet. Above the mode dial is the chrome power button, and the shutter release button sits at the apex of the hand grip. The chrome shutter release button is surrounded by a black zoom ring.
The bottom of the EX-F1 shows just how long the lens is. The rubber grooved surface wraps around the entire lens, and the base of the camera seems to bow forward under the lens for added support. Directly beneath the lens is a metal tripod socket. Under the hand grip is a compartment for the battery.