Behind its Exilim lines, Casio cameras are well known for making ultra compact models. According to a Techno Systems Research report, Casio cameras ranked ninth worldwide in number of units manufactured in 2007. Casio had almost 7 million units manufactured, good for a 5.3% market share.
As with many of today's top digital camera manufacturers, Casio did not start its company based on cameras. Instead, Casio was known as a calculator manufacturer, and the company continues to make calculators, watches, and mobile phones, in addition to digital cameras. Casio was founded in 1946 in Tokyo, Japan, as Kashio Seisakujo. Casio has several group companies around the world, including Casio America, which is headquartered in Dover, N.J.
Casio's first digital camera was the VS-101, released in November 1987. Casio did not manufacture film cameras. Other milestones from Casio in digital camera technology include:
- A digital camera with an LCD monitor, the QV-10, in March 1995.
- A camera with 1 megapixel of resolution, the QV-5000SX, in April 1998.
- The world's first wristwatch with a digital camera included, the WQV-1, in June 2000.
- The thinnest digital camera in the world at the time, the Exilim EX-S1, which measured around 0.5 inches in thickness when it appeared in June 2002.
- The first cell phone containing a 3.2-megapixel digital camera, the A5406CA, in June 2004.
- The thinnest 10-plus megapixel digital camera in the world at the time, the EX-S10, which measured 0.59 inches in thickness when it appeared in February 2008.
Today's Casio OfferingsCasio primarily offers digital cameras for the beginning photographer and consumer markets, although the company does offers some high-speed models for more advanced photographers.
- Exilim Card. Exilim Card models are ultra compact models that all similar to the dimensions of a credit card, measuring less than 0.75 inches in thickness. Exilim Card cameras typically cost $200-$400, and they all use rechargeable batteries.
- Exilim Zoom. Casio's Exilim Zoom line of cameras aren't quite as thin as the Exilim Card models, but they typically measure between 1 and 0.75 inches in thickness. They also typically contain larger optical zoom lenses than Exilim Card models. You'll find Exilim Zoom models ranging from $150-$300.
- High Speed Exilim. Casio's High Speed Exilim models are the closest the company comes to digital SLR models. Most of these models can shoot a dozen or more still images per second, and they can shoot high-speed movies, too. One model can shoot 30 still images per second and movies at up to 1,000 frames per second, for example. Some High Speed Exilim models look like digital SLR models, while others look like ultra compact models. These cameras range in price from about $350-$1,000.
- Related products. Casio also manufactures cellular phones, watches, calculators, electronic dictionaries, label printers, musical instruments, projectors, cash registers, and other industrial items. Casio sells a few digital camera accessories for its models through the company's Web site, including batteries, chargers, cases, cables, and memory cards.