because, if it hasn’t happened already, one day, you will miss a shot

Occasionally, because they know that I dabble in the photographic arts, people ask me what camera they should buy. That’s a really tough question to answer because, really, there are so many variables involved, the majority of which I cannot possibly foresee for whoever has posed the question. I recently ran across a blog post (that I have tried and tried and tried to find, to no avail) from a photographer who used to provide the best possible comparison of different camera types, models, and so on, in the hopes of providing some basis for the person to choose a camera from. It would take time, effort, and nerves (what if he recommended a camera that the person bought and then hated?). Now, however, he has a different response:

If you want to take better pictures, invest in a photography course instead.

That’s not the point of this post, but it is such an important point, I had to include it somewhere.

The point of this is to introduce all of you “I’m in the market for a camera, so what should I buy?” types, along with all you gadget-o-philes, to a brand-new camera that may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.

You see, Casio has just announced that, in a short time (about two weeks), you can buy your very own time machine.

Really.

The Exilim EX-F1 is an amazing new digital camera that has all the features you always knew that you needed in a camera because Star Trek made you want them. With this camera, you can actually get those shots that you have missed every single time before. By holding the shutter button half-way down, the camera starts silently recording 60 shots a second until you press the button, discarding all the old shots as you go. After you hit the trigger, you can then review all 60 shots from the second before you hit the button, choose the perfect one, and get rid of the rest. Or keep them all, just for kicks (or to turn into a movie). Or delete them all because the shot you really want was over a second ago and your reflexes are just that bad.

And really, it’s the camera’s ability to shoot at 60 frames a second that is so extraordinary, especially when you consider that a movie camera only shoots at 24 or 30 frames a second, and the best, professional cameras that I know of can only pull 10 or 11 frames per second. Mine only does 3 per second. Of course, you can only keep up this sort of speed for a second, but you can, of course, adjust the frame rate to give you more shooting time: 30 frames a second for 2 seconds, 20 frames a second for 3 seconds, and so on.

One very important point to make: these are not tiny little shots that you would have to think hard about whether you’d even post them on your blog because they’re so small. No, they’re fully 6 MP images. You can print posters with these suckers.

So, you can start shooting 60 frames a second right before something happens, hold the button down half-way in anticipation of something happening, or you can set the camera down and let it shoot the good stuff all by itself. That’s right: if you ask it to, it will sit there for hours (if you’re battery is charged sufficiently, I’m sure), wait for something to move, and shoot a 60-fps burst all by itself. Catch all the great action that comes along when you are not there.

Did I mention it does full-HD movies with stereo sound? Or shoot ultra-high-speed movies for ultra-slow-mo playback? We’re talking up to 1200 frames per second here…that’s some serious speed!

Of course, with the good comes the bad (including the $1000 price tag, which actually sounds quite reasonable). Get the rest of the skinny from the NY Times (along with a nifty, and actually entertaining, video of the EX-F1 in action).

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