The Casio EXILIM Series of High-Speed Cameras

A consumer-priced series of high-speed products is the Casio High Speed Exilim series. They are still cameras that will make short movie clips at rates such as 300, 600 or 1200 frames/second.
Unfortunately, most of the high-speed Exilim cameras seem to be obsolete already! Check around to see if any are left in local stores or at online dealers.

High Speed Video on the Cheap (Submitted by Pat Cooney)

Models & Prices

(Nov. 2009)

Prices in the table were found at on November 23, 2009.
From here on I'll refer to them by the numbers that are in parentheses in the table.

1 is the original 1200 fps model and still costs $1000 which exceeds my definition of cheap.

2, 3, and 4 use exactly the same 9.1 MP sensor so image quality and light sensitivity will be about the same for all of them. This is a small-size sensor so image noise will be quite noticeable under any but the best light.

2 was announced 9/16/2008 and currently costs $310 at Amazon. It is the camera that you may have used at one of our LivePhotoworkshops. It has a 20x optical zoom.

3 and 4 were announced 1/8/2009 and so are relatively "new". At 1000 fps they each capture a movie that is 224 x 64 pixels, while the older camera 2 "only" does 224 x 56 pixels. Oh wow!

All the other HS video modes seem identical on all three, namely 480 x 360 at 210 fps and 30->210 fps, and 224 x 168 at 420 fps (the most useful mode for our kind of use IMHO).

3 has a 5x optical zoom which pokes out of its relatively small camera body.

4 has a "folded optical path" 3x optical zoom that does not poke out so it is the smallest camera of the family.

All three offer manual focus and white balance (good for us).

2 offers manual exposure (also good for us) but it looks like 3 and 4 lack the ability to "lock" the exposure though they do offer +/- 2 stops of exposure adjustment.

Fortunately each of these cameras has a tripod socket for steady movies.

Full PDF manuals for all four cameras are available at
As with any such camera, I'd advise buying an extra battery and keeping it charged. Some users on Amazon report short battery life.

More Information

See also Dean Baird's sample movies. There is a video made with a Casio EX-FH20 on the Vernier website. To see how to correct for the slow-motion time scale of an Exilim movie when doing video analysis, see Time_Scales_In_High-Speed_Video_Analysis.

Comments posted on the PHYS-L listserv (reproduced here with permission)

Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2009 20:28:07 -0500
Hi, My name is Peter Erbland, I am one of three physics teachers at Framingham High School in Massachusetts. We acquired a digital camera (the Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1; full details at that allow us to make HD videos at 60 frames per second and make lower resolution videos at 300, 600 and 1200 frames per second. We have already used this to recreate higher resolution videos for our standard lab videos (free fall, projectile motion, conservation of energy, momentum). We have made high-speed videos to show inertia and we plan to use it to show the motion of a speaker vibrating at a single frequency and a guitar string vibrating at different frequencies. But I feel we have not been able to utilize the high-speed aspect as well as I think we should be able to. I know that there have been commercial grade high-speed video cameras out there for years and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience using high-speed video to make a typically difficult physics concept more readily accessible. Have you created videos? What concepts have you illustrated? How did this enhance the students' understanding? Does anyone know of or has anyone created a repository of good high-speed physic videos that can be used by video analysis software? YouTube, for example, is loaded with videos people made at high frame rates, but they are rarely scaled and rarely show useful physics. Also, does anyone else have any specific experiences with this particular camera that would be useful to share? We have found that at 300 frames per second and higher, the cycling of the fluorescent lights becomes visible and distracting. We now use either sunlight or halogen lamps to light up the scenes. We have also found it useful to also have some software (such as QuickTime Pro) that allows you to rotate the images. I think as the technology becomes more readily available and accessible, there will great deal of opportunity for this tool in physics classes. However, we are still trying to figure out how to best use it.