Olympus Camera Reviews

Olympus VG-160 Review

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Bottom Line

If you are considering a camera in the sub-$100 price range, Olympus VG-160 reviewed in this current article is one of the options. However, with this price, there are not as many features as you may expect. For example, the image quality is lower than the average level, or the responses time is slower. All of those are what you should take into the thorough consideration before you decide to buy such a camera.

Comparing a camera of this price range with high-end cameras or very expensive cameras is the thing that you should not do. Considering it among expensive cameras in the same class is recommended.

Among low-priced cameras, Olympus VG-160 has some good values for beginning photographers. One of these is its ability to work under low light conditions with the support of flash. Of course, there still remain some drawbacks, but in comparison with other sub-$100 cameras, this is one of the best choices. It is also considered one of the best camera for a child.

Olympus VG-160 Camera Review Buy

Olympus VG-160 Camera Review Buy

Specifications

  • Resolution: 14 MPs
  • Largest image size: 4288 x 3216pixels
  • Dimensions: 3.8×2.2×0.8 “
  • Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 “
  • Optical zoom: 5X (26-130mm)
  • LCD 3.0-inch, 230 thousands pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Weight: 4.4 ounces (excluding memory card and battery)
  • Movie mode: 720 pixels (HD grade)

 

 

Pros

  • Screen menus are user friendly.
  • LCD is larger than other models of similar price.
  • Fast start-up.
  • VG-160 is has relatively lower price for the features it offers.
  • Good image quality, especially when flash is on.

    Cons

  • Image quality is low, particularly when soft focus is used with chromatic aberration
  • Small zoom lens (5X) which is not usable when shooting movies
  • No full HD option,
  • Shot to shot delays
  • The control buttons are quite small, making it quite difficult to use

Detail Review of the Olympus VG-160 Camera

Image Quality

You can find it easy to print the images which are shot with this camera with the resolution of 14MP. However, the quality of the image is just ok, but not really so good because its image sensor is small. It is about 1/2.3-inch or 0.43-inch.

But remember not to compare the image quality of the Olympus VG-160 with a high-end fixed-lens camera. With the price of three or four times as much, the image quality of the Olympus VG-160 should not be compared to those ones. However, if you put it among low-price digital camera, the image quality does a better job than you may expect versus similarly priced models.

One of the best features among other features of the VG-160 is its capacity to shoot flash photos. For ultra-thin models, this capacity is not really popular. For many other cameras in the sub-$100 price range, the small built-in flash unit is a weak point which causes some problems for images, such as: washed out images and generally poor exposures. However, it is not the same for the VG-160 thanks to its flash. The VG-160 does help in cases that you want to take small group photos and portraits indoors with a flash.

If you want to create large prints, you will be disappointed with the VG-160’s image quality. The ability to create sharp focus is still a weak point despite the fact that there’s great light in the scene. This is common for almost all budget-priced cameras which aim at beginners. Some chromatic aberration happens with you photos, in which you will find it difficult to make prints of any size. Those photos are ok when you just want to share them online or via email. In consideration of all those factors, you should think about the plan for use those photos before making the purchase camera.

Beside the photography ability, video recording functions are those which you should not expect much. The full HD mode is not supported. Moreover, some of the same problems still happen with soft focus of movies shot.

Performance

The time for starting up the VG-160 is quite short. However, not every aspect of this model is as fast as this starting-up time. You still encounter Shutter lag with this camera. That is the reason why you should consider the price before buying it. There is a way to reduce the shutter lag through pre-focusing by pressing the shutter button halfway.

The most disappointment in the operation and performance of this camera is about the shot-to-shot delays. It requires you to wait for some seconds to take another photo. Even the burst modes are not what you can expect here. You will see the blank screen while you shoot photos continuously. This make it hard to frame your images suitably.

What a pity that only a 5X optical zoom lens is supported in this camera. This may disappoint you a lot because you will find it difficult to shoot almost all kinds of pictures, except portrait photos. Moreover, when you are recording movies, this zoom lens also does not help. If for some years ago, it was popular for zoom lenses of a digital cameras to be locked in place in the process of recording videos, now this become popular among most cameras in the market. However, it is not the same for the VG-160, which is a big frustration.

You can take one small advantage of this small zoom lens through reducing the time when moving through the entire zoom lens. And you will find it very fast to change from wide angle to full telephoto in less than 1 second. It is a good point of this camera.

The good battery life is a strong point of the VG-160. You can shoot about 300 images before you need to recharge the camera. Although the actual number of photos may not reach that number, but in comparison with cameras of low prices, its battery life remains better. However, the battery requires to be charged inside the camera.

Design

The VG-160 looks like most cameras in the market ultra-thin and budget-priced cameras. The rectangular shape with rounded edges and the 0.8 inches thickness make it quite common compared to other cameras.

The VG-160 has a larger LCD screen among other cameras at the same price range – a 3.0-inch LCD screen. However, don’t expect this screen to help you create sharp images. In fact, this screen is not particularly sharp enough for you to depend it fully. You can see a bit of glare on this camera’s screen. Because of this, shooting some photos outdoors is difficult. There is shortcut menu on the screen. Thanks to this, you can access the most common shooting functions of the camera quickly. This shortcut menu helps you find the manual setting easier despite the fact that there are not many manual settings within the camera.

The main menu is organized in a bad way with crazy command.  Therefore, you will not find much usefulness from it.

There are some drawbacks on the design of this camera. It will not be comfortable to use the control buttons when they are put on the back of the camera.  The built-in flash is placed on the left of the lens. You can easily block the flash with the fingers of your right hand. The zoom switch is on the black. It differs from other cameras with a zoom ring around the shutter button among the current market. There are not many options for shooting photos. With only a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, rather than the 4:3 ratio options as usual, you just can shoot photos at 2 megapixels of resolution.

You have seen a lot of drawbacks of the Olympus VG-160. However, those are all popular among cameras the sub-$100 price range. It is ok for beginners on photography. In general, this camera’s flash performance is above the average level. Despite not being perfect, in comparison with other similar low-priced cameras, this is a good option if your budget is limited.

Olympus SZ-10 Review

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Overview of the Olympus SZ-10 Camera

Among the specifications list of the Olympus SZ-10 camera, the large zoom lens which is up to 18X is a very impressive point. It is very nice to see this option for such a camera with the price under $200. (The suggested price had dropped greater than 10% right before the time of my review). It is not easy to find a camera with the strong zoom lens abilities like the SZ-10 in this price range.

The most considerable weakness of the camera is the performance of the autofocus system, which causes your photos slightly soft. If you’re intending to make very large prints with the images produced by the camera, this is not really a proper option. However, for sharing photos on the Internet or making prints of smaller sizes, you don’t need to worry about the above soft focus. The photos will be pretty nice if you shoot outdoors or use the flash for indoor conditions.

The overall performance of the SZ-10 camera is pretty fast. Except the large zoom lens, there is not any excellent area in the performance levels. In general, for such a camera of the small size and reasonable price as well as a long zoom, it is nice to find this performance with the SZ-10. Beginning photographers shall be glad with this offering.

Olympus SZ-10 Camera Review Buy

Olympus SZ-10 Camera Review Buy

You can receive a lot of values from the Olympus SZ-10, which has the small body size but offers a strong zoom lens capability. There are two color options with the body of the camera, including: black and white

Brief Review of the Olympus SZ-10 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is14 megapixels
  • The optical zoom is 18X (equivalent to 28-504mm)
  • The 3.0-inch LCD has the resolution of 460,000 pixels
  • The image size is 4288 x 3216 at maximum
  • The camera uses a Li-Ion battery which can be rechargeable
  • The dimensions are 2.6 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches
  • The camera weighs 7.58 ounces (without the inclusion of the battery and memory card)
  • The 1/2.3 in image sensor applies the CMOS technology
  • A HD 720p video mode is supported

Pros

  • It’s great to find the large 18X optical zoom lens at this price point
  • The LCD is of great brightness and sharpness
  • The image quality is nice for outdoor photography and even with the flash turned on
  • Popup flash unit is nicer than built-in flashes found with most other models
  • There are some fun features and interesting special effects with this Olympus camera

Cons

  • You’ll see some little softness with the autofocus, especially in photos shot under inadequate lighting condition without a flash
  • Response times are slower when you shoot photos in low light
  • There are a lot of stray whirring and popping noises with the camera, even when you select silent mode
  • The battery must be charged inside the camera
  • HD movie is limited to 720p quality

Detailed Review of the Olympus SZ-10 Camera

Image Quality

For a model in this price range, I can say that the image quality with the SZ-10 is very great. You can easily obtain nice images when shooting in adequate light or with the flash turned on. When there is not enough light, you may encounter the camera shake or blurriness issues. Therefore, the flash is often recommended for shooting photos indoors.

As the popup flash unit is more effective than a built-in one, the photos are better with this type of flash. If you don’t turn on this flash, it will not work, and I thought it would auto fire in proper circumstances. In fact, the camera flash doesn’t appear to fire needlessly, because this can leave your photos with some glare.

The autofocus was not as sharp as I expected. For inadequate light conditions, there was some softness with the focus. The softness won’t be clear for photos shot outdoors or under the flash when you view the images on the screen of a computer or make prints of a smaller size, but it is noticeable in prints of the large sizes. And in case that you don’t use flash for shooting photos under inadequate light, you can see the softness in prints of any sizes.

There are a lot of interesting special effects with the SZ-10, which is pretty common for Olympus cameras. Some of typical special effects can be listed such as: drawing, watercolor, punk, pop art, or sparkle. Although the performance will be slower when you’re using these effects, they do bring you fun.

One nice point with the camera is that you can select seven various resolution options for the 4:3 aspect ratio, which allows you to select the appropriate resolution for your photos. Meanwhile, there are two resolution settings only that you can select for 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

The camera has offered the 720p HD video mode for recording videos. In addition, there are two other movie resolution options. Unfortunately, you cannot use the large zoom lens for recording movies.

Performance

The large optical zoom lens is a strong point with the Olympus SZ-10 and the moving speed over the zoom range is very fast and smooth.

The performance of the camera is nice with the pretty fast response times when you shoot photos with enough light. However, if you turn on the flash or fully extend the zoom lens, there will be some delays from shot to shot. Especially, the “busy” message often appears in the screen when you use the flash. To shoot a lot of continuous photos, you should not use the playback review to help the performance better.

You may encounter some problems with the autofocus mechanism of the SZ-10 because it does not perform well under inadequate lighting conditions or when you shoot photos over extremely short distances. This is caused by the shutter lag. However, this issue is not strange for cameras using long zoom lenses and the Olympus SZ-10 is not an exception.

For shooting photos over very short distances, the Super Macro selection can be very useful. However, you cannot select this setting with the iAuto mode. You can easily have nice images with the sharpness with this Super Macro setting but there will certain shutter lag.

The performance of the auto panoramic shooting mode is not as great as I expected. Although you can capture panoramic photos horizontally or vertically which is very nice, it is very slow to operate the mode. It does take time for the camera to process the photos after they are shot.

In order to reduce the lag, you should press the shutter button halfway to have your photos pre-focused. As an extra strong point, the selected aperture and shuttering speed for the scene will be shown on the camera when you use the P or iAuto mode. You can manually control the settings in case that you don’t want auto selection. This is great to update this setting information on the camera screen.

Design

The design of Olympus SZ10 is pretty similar to that of the Olympus SZ-30MR not only regarding the small size but the long zoom lenses. Although the zoom lens of the SZ-10 is just 18X compared to 24X of the SZ-30MR, the price tag of the Olympus SZ-10 is far lower.

With the inclusion of the large right hand grip, the camera is pretty convenient to use, even you use one hand to hold the camera. You also see a raised area on the back for your right thumb.

You can see the power button, the shooting button, the ring for controlling the zoom as well as popup flash located on the top of the camera. Other buttons are positioned in the back, including: a four-way dial, a video button, a menu controlling button together with a help button. You’ll also see the LCD screen in the back panel.

A nice point with the camera is an LCD of good quality and there are five options for setting the brightness. You’ll find it easier with these options to shoot photos outdoor because sometimes there is some glare caused by the sun. The LCD screen is not really wide, but to find its size at this price point is very great.

Nowadays, more and more cameras have brought the fun aspects of a smartphone into a digital model. And with the Olympus SZ-10, three various sets of sounds are available. Theses collections may annoy someone while they are interesting for others. I like to turn off all the sounds, but you may like to use these sounds. It depends on each person.

Regarding the sounds, in a tested camera previously, even after I had selected the silent mode, there was still a lot of stray noise with the SZ10. While I was focusing the camera, it was easy to hear the whirring sound. In addition, there is a considerable popping noise whenever I turned on the flash. Regarding the noise, this is the camera which has the most significant sound among the models that I have reviewed. I am not sure whether the sounds appear in all SZ-10 cameras, but if you find it frustrating with the noises, you should consider the camera thoroughly before making the purchase decision.

You’re not going to be able to charge the battery outside the camera. Therefore, if you want to do this, you can buy an extra charger.

Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Review

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Overview of the Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Camera

If previously you have used a point and shoot model and now you want to transfer into a more high-end camera, you will be easily attracted by the Olympus E-PL1. This camera is a nice model for photographers at the intermediate level. The image quality with this DIL camera is very great. In addition, the price is pretty reasonable. It is not difficult at all to use this digital interchangeable lens (DIL) camera, too.

The size of the Olympus E-PL1 is much smaller compared to DSLR models, yet, it is very flexible in using of interchangeable lenses. In addition, the image sensor has the larger size over that of other point and shoot models. Therefore, the image quality is better. The camera also brings fun when you use it, too.

Brief Review of the Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Camera

Pros

  • The great image quality is favorably compared with that of many other similarly priced models
  • It is not difficult to use the E-PL1
  • The camera shall bring a very great value if you can look around to buy the camera with the lower price
  • The design is very attractive with the retro look
  • E-PL1 is a great option for the intermediate level

Cons

  • You can make use of the full manual controls, but it is a bit hard to figure out those controls
  • The odd position of popup flash unit is a disadvantage
  • The performance of the autofocus is occasionally slow, at least with kit lens
  • In this price range, the LCD performance is nice sunlight, but it would be greater if the size was larger and there were less glare

Description

  • The resolution is 12.3 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A. The camera uses lenses which is interchangeable
  • The 3.0-inch LCD screen has the resolution of 460,000 pixels
  • The image size is 4032 x 3024 pixels at maximum
  • The camera uses a Li-ion battery which can be rechargeable
  • The dimensions are 2.84 x 4.51 x 1.63 inches
  • The camera weighs 12.13 ounces (with the inclusion of the battery and memory card)
  • The image sensor is a Live MOS one.
  • The 720p HD video movie mode is supported
Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Camera Review Buy

Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Camera Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Olympus PEN E-PL1 DIL Camera

Image Quality

The image quality with the PEN E-PL1 is obviously better than that of most point and shoot cameras and you may think that you should have moved to this intermediate model sooner. The photography results are great not only for outdoor but indoor shooting situations as well, even under inadequate lighting condition. The image quality is sharp and the colors are accurate with this camera. You seem to encounter very few troubles with the noise problems.

The performance of the popup flash unit which is built in the camera is good almost every time, so the exposure is very great. However, you may accidentally block the flash with your left fingers sometimes due to the location of the flash, which is not in the center but the top left corner of the model. You can view this position from the black. In addition, when you’re shooting photos over short distances, some of the light produced by the flash can be blocked by the lens. Therefore, you may see some shadows in the photos. To deal with this problem, a flash unit outside the camera body shall be a nice solution.

The photos can be shot by selecting full auto or manual mode. And there is a variety of scene modes to help you obtain images of the great quality.

Performance

The overall performance of the E-PL1 is great. The initializing time is very fast and you almost see no shutter lag in images without using the flash. In addition, you won’t have to concern about the delays from shot to shot because it is kept at the minimal level with this camera. The burst modes are nice as well, so you can easily shoot a number of continuous photos. Even with the flash turned on, the level of the shutter lag with the PEN E-PL1 is far less than with other point and shoot models.

The performance of the autofocus mechanism is pretty fast for most of the time, but you may sometimes get trouble figuring out a focus point under inadequate lighting conditions. In addition, don’t expect to always have the exact focusing for every item you want, but the overall results seem not to affect so much.

Design

The reason why the Olympus E-PL1 has the smaller size over DSLR models is that it does not include mirror. Although the camera uses interchangeable lenses, in terms of the technical aspect, this is not a DSLR model. Instead, it is known as an EVIL  or  DIL model.

The camera has a retro design, which is very nice looking. It’s also a pretty thin model, which has the thickness of 1.63 inches only (without the lens). The size of this camera is far less than that of DSLR cameras. The starter lens attached with the camera is also small and it can be locked in place when you are not using the camera. This lens seems to be handy.

This Olympus camera is now available in three color options, including champagne, blue and black.

There are a number of Micro Four Thirds lenses offered with this PEN E-PL1 DIL model. While it requires you to buy some lenses separately, others can be offered as part of a lens “kit” with the boy. The manufacturer suggested retail price is $599.99 for the body attached with a starter lens, but recently, the prices have been lowered quite a bit. If you can purchase an E-PL1 kit with the price of about $500, you will be very pleasured to receive the great value from such a camera with the advance image quality like the Olympus PEN E-PL1.

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Review

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Overview of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Camera

In overall, the cameras belonging to the Olympus PEN series have been well ranked, which include the E-PM1, the E-PL1 and the E-PL3. The Olympus PEN E-PM2, one of the newest cameras is not an exception. This is another powerful small DIL (digital interchangeable lens) model.

Not only the image quality but also the performance is very nice with this camera. There are several advanced features such as the large LCD touch screen, the resolution of larger than 16 MP. All of those features have been upgraded from the previous generation, the Olympus E-PM1, also known as the Olympus PEN Mini 1.

You may not see some high-end features that should have been included with the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 such as the built-in GPS and an articulated LCD screen. The image quality is not as good as that of a DSLR model and you will have to buy it with a little bit high starting price.

This camera is still a powerful model and one of the greatest on the current market, though. You can buy the camera now at the slight drop of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $599 but its price is almost as twice as that of the Olympus E-PM1. In the case that you can bargain for a better price, this camera really deserves five stars. But actually, because the price of the PEN Mini E-PM1 has been pretty low on the current market, I feel a bit hesitated to recommend this Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2.

Obviously, the features of the PEN Mini 2 have been improved over the PEN Mini E-PM1, but regarding the price of the Mini 2, it is still not enough to justify that high price.

Brief Review of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is 16.1 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A. The camera uses lenses which are interchangeable
  • The 3.0-inch LCD is a wide touch screen with the resolution of 460,000 pixels
  • The image size is 4608 x 3456 at maximum
  • The camera uses a Li-Ion battery which is rechargeable
  • The dimensions are 2.53 x 4.32 x 1.33 inches
  • The camera weighs 9.49 ounces (with the inclusion of the battery and memory card)
  • The 4/3 Image sensor uses the CMOS technology and has the measurement of 17.3 x 13.0 mm
  • A HD 1080p movie mode is supported

Pros

  • Image quality is very nice
  • The resolution of the LCD screen is high and widescreen format is convenient for shooting movies
  • The PM2 has small and nice looking design
  • The response times are fast
  • There is a great combination between the manual and automatic settings

Cons

  • There is no built-in flash unit
  • The image quality is not as good as with a DSLR
  • You may get a bit trouble in using the LCD touchscreen
  • The suggested price by the manufacture is a little over the budget of many photographers
  • It is a wide camera, which won’t attract everyone
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Camera Review Buy

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 Camera Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2

Image Quality

The image sensor is the most important improvement over the previous PEN E-PM1. In terms of the size of the image sensor, both are the same, but the 4/3 image sensor of the E-PM1 using CMOS technology has the higher 16.1 megapixels of resolution.

You can easily obtain images of sharpness and color accuracy with this image sensor. In addition, the image quality is also better even when you shoot photos in inadequate lighting conditions, in comparison with other similarly priced models.

Although the image quality is not as good as with a DSLR camera, but if you are the one who get accustomed to capturing images with point and shoot models, you can see a considerable improvement of the image quality in all lighting conditions.

You may not need to use the flash frequently, but there is an inclusion of a flash unit outside the camera body. This belongs to the basic kit with this camera. The overexposed photos may appear sometimes when you use the flash, especially when you select the full automatic mode.

Performance

The performance of the E-PM2 is very great. It just takes you very little time to start up the camera and you almost see no shutter lag. You’re going to able to shoot 8 frames at maximum in one second and there are some available various full-resolutions in the burst modes. The performance of the autofocus is also very fast when you shoot still images. You will be very amazed with the fast performance of the PEN Mini E-PM2 if you transfer from a previous point and shoot camera.

This Olympus camera has one of the greatest LCD screens that’s available on the current market. You can be easily satisfied with the brightness and sharpness of this screen. This LCD allows you to record videos at the wide 16:9 format screen, which is very nice. However, I also find it a little bit hard to make the screen exactly understand my touching commands sometimes.

The movie recording is good with this camera. But keep in mind that when you use the zoom lens during recording movies, you may find the autofocus slightly slower than I expect.

There is a variety of special effect with the E-PM2 that you can apply to make your photos more interesting. This does brings fun when you use the camera.

Design

The look of the cameras in the Olympus PEN series seems to remain unchanged through some years recently. It has a retro design and the DIL camera body is often small. The look of these products is very appealing to me, especially when there is a great combination between the nice looking design and the list of good photography features. The camera tends to sit between a traditional film model and a digital one.

With a pretty large LCD screen which has the thickness of 3.0 inches, the body of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 is also large. The size and the weight of this camera is just slightly more than that of the Mini 1, so perhaps not many photographers would notice this tiny difference. The thickness of the separate body is about 1.33 inches, but when you attach the kit lens for shooting full telephotos, the total thickness shall be about 4 inches.

You will not see any flash unit which is built in the camera. The manufacturer performs this to lower the weight of the camera. But you can attach an external flash unit to a hot shoe of the camera. This flash unit has been offered as part of the starter lens kit. However, not many photographers may like to bring an additional accessory with the E-PM2 like this.

One strong point with the E-PM2 is its powerful battery, but this battery is also pretty thick.

You’ll find the menus on the screen pretty typical, as you have to figure out the photography functions with the button on the back panel or another way is to use the popup menus which are tied to the capturing mode you are selecting.

 

Olympus SP-100 Review

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Overview of the Olympus SP-100 Camera

Nowadays, almost cameras are similar to each other in term of the inclusion of the basic features such as the touch screen or built-in Wi-Fi. To find a camera with some completely different features is becoming much harder.

Therefore, it requires manufacturers to be more dynamic and creative to give out certain competitive advantages over other competitors.

With the ultra-zoom SP-100 camera, Olympus has attempted to include a unique feature to make this model outstanding from other ones in the market. The Dot Sight mechanism is that important feature that helps you follow objects over long distances while the cameras has a pretty strong and impressive 50X optical zoom. This interesting feature helps photographers avoid the situation in which they use long zoom lens camera and easily have a object move out of the frame while they are capturing images over a long distance and using the zoom.

You will see the Dot Sight integrated in the popup flash unit. This feature is unique and it is not included in any other camera for the consumer level.

However, there are still some considerable weaknesses with this Olympus camera. For example, the price is pretty high while the image quality is just at the average level. Therefore, if you do not intend to make use of the ultra-zoom lens frequently, you may not necessarily want this camera. But the long zoom as well as such a unique feature as the Dot Sight, the SP-100 shall be a very nice option for your consideration.

Brief Review of the Olympus SP-100 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is 16 megapixels
  • The optical zoom is 50X (24-1200mm)
  • The 3.0-inch LCD has the resolution of 460,000 pixels
  • The image size is 4608 x 3456 at maximum
  • The camera use a Li-Ion which can be rechargeable
  • The dimensions are 4.8 x 3.6 x 5.2 inches
  • The camera weighs 21.1 ounces
  • The 1/2.3 in image sensor uses the CMOS technology
  • A full HD 1080p movie mode is supported

Pros

  • Dot Sight is the unique feature with the SP-100 which is very useful for shooting moving objects over long distances
  • The camera has a 50X optical zoom
  • The interface is easy to use
  • It is easy to hold and use the camera with the large right-hand grip
  • The video capacity is nice
  • There is an inclusion of the electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Image quality is just average
  • Battery life is not really good
  • The Dot Sight’s accuracy isn’t perfect
  • The size of the camera is extremely large and it is heavy, too
  • There is no touch screen LCD or Wi-Fi feature
  • The active display is not automatically switched between electronic viewfinder and LCD
Olympus SP-100 Camera Review Buy

Olympus SP-100 Camera Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Olympus SP-100 Camera

Image Quality

In terms of the price approaching $400, the image quality with the Olympus SP-100 does not satisfy me when I see the still images produced with this camera. This may be because of the small image sensor which is just limited to 1/2.3 inches. Actually, this is the common size that you can see with most basic point and shoot cameras.

When you shoot high contrasty photos, you may notice purple fringing issues with your photos. In addition, some softness may happen when you use the telephoto setting at the maximum level.

Moreover, there is no RAW image format supported while this option is very nice when you want to shooting photos of landscapes. You also don’t have a lot of manual control modes in this camera despite the inclusion of the Manual settings in the mode dial.

The movie quality is nice with this camera. You can easily get access to the full telephoto functions of the camera while you are shooting movies.

Performance

The performance is good with the SP-100. With the large 50X optical zoom lens, you can take advantage of powerful telephoto capabilities to shoot a lot of photos over distances, especially photos of the nature.

The shutter lag, of course, cannot be avoided with such cameras with ultra-zoom lens when you want to shoot photos over distances. The full telephoto setting is nice with this camera. In terms of the performing speeding, the Olympus SP-100 is still slightly better than other models using large zooms. You won’t have to worry about the delays from shot to shot with this camera.

It takes you about four seconds to move through the whole zoom range when your zoom lens is used. This speed is pretty fast. And there are up to 50 various specific focal lengths you can use with this model.

Unfortunately, you won’t be really satisfied with the Playback mode and the photo editing feature is pretty limited with this camera.

Design

Obviously, the Dot Sight shall be an aspect that attracts the most attention from people. As mentioned above, the Dot Sight is built in the popup flash unit of the Olympus SP 100. Therefore, it requires the flash unit to be raised on the camera and the Dot Sight toggle switch to be turned on, and then the Dot Sight will appear.

When using the Dot Sight, the red sight will appear to notice you to focus the lens right at the object over the distance. This operates similarly when you maximize the zoom up to 50X. This unique feature of the Olympus SP 100 does help you to frame the moving objects precisely, especially when you set the telephoto capacity up to the maximum level because commonly, those objects easily go out of the frame quickly and you may not able to frame them again either with the LCD or the viewfinder.

The performance of this feature is pretty nice although its accuracy may not as good as one found on a rifle. There is not any telephoto capability with the Dot Sight. And because there is no connection between the Dot Sight and the camera’s lens, it is easier to use the red sight to frame the object than with the LCD screen or the camera viewfinder.

Beside the interesting feature like Dot Sight, other features with the Olympus camera are kept very basic. The menu arrangement and the on-screen menus are pretty simplistic. Do not expect to have those features too personalized.

The depth of this model is approximately 8 inches when you extend the zoom lens to the maximum level. This camera is very large and the right-hand grip is big, too. This aspect requires you to keep the camera firmly when you zoom the camera to shoot photos over distances.

 

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Review

202642

Overview of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Camera

I was pretty surprised with the price tag of this model when looking at the best aspects of this camera such as the great look and feel as well as the excellent performance level. The price tag should have been higher to justify the above mentioned great features.

The image quality of the PEN Mini, also called the E-PM1, is very great and the performance is very fast. The design of this camera is also very stylish and smart, and you can select one of several available colors. An extra nice feature is the add-on flash unit that’s located in the center for optimal performance. The PEN Mini looks pretty similar to the PEN Lite, the body of the Mini is a bit smaller and lighter and its price is lower as well. You can have a lot of fun to use this camera.

The PEN Mini simply is one of the better interchangeable lens cameras for photographers who just begins with photography or those who are less experienced photographers. For the good price tag under $500 with a starter lens, I highly recommend this camera.

Brief Review of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is 12.3 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A, uses interchangeable lenses
  • The 3.0-inch widescreen LCD has the resolution of 460,000 pixels
  • The maximum image size is 4032 x 3024
  • The camera uses a Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • The dimensions are 2.50 x 4.31 x 1.33 inches
  • The camera weighs 9.34 ounces (with battery and memory card compartment included)
  • The CMOS image sensor is measured 17.3 x 13.0 mm
  • A full HD 1080p movie mode is supported

Pros

  • Image quality is outstanding
  • LCD is of very high quality
  • Many easy-to-use features make its operation more like that of a point and shoot camera
  • PEN Mini offers a very good price and value for an interchangeable lens camera
  • PEN Mini has an understated, but stylish look
  • Centered, removable, popup flash unit is a great idea

Cons

  • Not enough advanced features for more experienced photographers
  • Larger lenses may make the E-PM1 feel a bit out of balance
  • Occasionally, flash photos will have a shadow in them from the lens, depending on the angle at which you’re shooting
  • Only lenses made for PEN cameras will fit this model
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Camera Review Buy

Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Camera Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Olympus PEN Mini E-PM1 Camera

Image Quality

The overall image quality is great with the PEN Mini. Sometimes, you may not have the images which are sharply focused or you can see a little blurriness due to the camera shake, but don’t worry because for most of the time, you will be very satisfied with the outstanding image quality of the images.

Especially, in addition to the sharpness, the realistic and extremely bright colors are for all lighting conditions, even when you use the flash. However, one drawback with flash photos is the appearance of a shadow from the lens. This shadow appears, depending on the angle you select for shooting photos. When seeing this shadow, you just need to adjust the shooting angles. Actually, this can be a bit of a hassle.

You can shoot photos at up to five different aspect ratios with the PEN Mini while it is common to have four in most other cameras. For common vertical photos, the 4:3, 16:9, 3:2, 1:1 aspect ratios are proper and 3:4 is specialized for vertical photos without having to turn the camera. One special aspect with this camera is the flexible availability of twenty different combinations of resolution and aspect ratios. The images can be shot in the JPEG, RAW, or both image formats.

There are a lot of special effects that you can use to make your photos more interesting. You can select one of them through a special menu. Some of the commonly used effects can be listed: the blurred background, color saturation, or an adjusted color tint and many other options.

About the movies recording, it is pretty easy with the E-PM1. You just need to press the movie button to start and stop the video, and there is no special movie mode. The zoom lens can work fully in the movie mode and you can control it manually.

Performance

The responses times with the PEN Mini E-PM1 are very fast in fully automatic mode and you almost see no shutter lag when shooting photos outdoors. This shutter lag is just a bit noticeable for indoor photos. In addition, you can be easily pleased with the fast autofocus although in low light conditions or when you shoot photos over a long distance, this autofocus is slow down a little bit. But in general, the performance of the autofocus is accurate all of the time.

Similar to most other point and shoot camera, there are more than twenty scene modes with the PEN Mini, which helps improve the performance of the camera’s automatic mode in certain situations. Some common scene modes can be listed as: macro, 3D and fish-eye and document.

But don’t expect to have an automatic zoom lens with the PEN Mini like a point and shoot camera. The camera requires you to manually twist the zoom ring on the lens if you want to change the zoom.

Because there is no viewfinder with this camera, you have to frame the photos with the E-PM1’s LCD screen, so it’s nice to see the PEN Mini’s LCD which is of such a high quality. Its performance is also works fast. It can remain clear and sharp as it follows moving action.

Design

My tested model is all in the silver color, even the lens housing. The design is very simple that still manages to exude the style. This is an extremely thin and light model. Actually, this is the lightest and smallest digital interchangeable lens camera I have reviewed. Despite the light weight, the camera still brings the well-built feel.

I tested the model with a starter lens which was measured 14-42mm. Compared to the thickness of the camera body, this lens was about two and a half times thicker. With this kind of lens, it kept the weight balance of the camera still good, but for a larger and longer lens, perhaps there would be a slight unbalance.

There is a tiny flash unit which is directly centered on the camera and attached to the hot shoe. It will require you to raise the flash if you want to use it. However, the flash only fires when needed, even when it is raised, in cases that you select the automatic flash mode. When the flash is closed, its low profile on the camera will be very nice for such a small camera.

There are only two buttons on the camera’s top panel, including a power button and a shutter button. The position of these two buttons is close together, so unfortunately, sometimes you may inadvertently press one button while trying to reach for the other button. You will see the info, playback, movie and a four-way button with a spin ring in the back panel’s buttons. In terms of the button layout, the PEN Mini looks more like a point and shoot camera than an advanced DSLR camera. Actually, this is easier for beginners to use the camera.

There is no mode dial or a viewfinder with this E-PM1, but it is not easy to include those items on such a small camera. Because of not having the mode dial, you will have to use the on-screen menus to set up the camera. Therefore, it is nice to see that Olympus obviously focuses a lot on designing a very nice-looking and easy-to-use model. Especially, for beginners, the explanations of each menu item are very clear on the screen when you select it. Not all the menus are visible at the beginning, so, when you get used to using the camera, you can turn on the menus which are hidden.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Review

201726

Overview of the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Camera

For those who are looking for digital cameras using interchangeable lens, one of the most popular options is the Olympus PEN family of cameras. The PEN cameras have been sold for several years currently, and there has been a wonderful collection of performance and style with this PEN family.

The latest one – the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 camera is also called the PEN Lite. It is another nice model added to the family. While the image quality is great and the performance is fast, its price is very reasonable. It has one of the best widescreen LCD that I have witnessed in the market which is targeted at consumer photographers. Besides, the camera’s aspect ratio at a rare 3:4 ratio brings you photos which are vertically aligned and you don’t have to turn the camera.

Although this is not a perfect camera because there are still quirks with flash images, it is a nice option to consider. The model will not disappoint you.

Summary of the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is 12.3 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A, uses interchangeable lenses
  • The 3.0-inch widescreen LCD has the 460,000-pixel resolution
  • The image size is 4032 x 3024 at maximum
  • The camera use a rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • The dimensions are 2.50 x 4.31 x 1.46 inches
  • The camera weighs 11.04 ounces (with the battery and memory card included)
  • It includes an image sensor using the CMOS technology which is measured 17.3 x 13.0 mm
  • A full HD 1080p movie mode is supported

Pros

  • Overall camera performance is very good
  • Camera is stylish and thin
  • Images are extremely sharp
  • Autofocus works fast and accurately
  • Widescreen LCD is one of the best you’ll find
  • Centered flash is great for producing good image quality

Cons

  • Price is a bit higher than the PEN Mini, which also was just released
  • Some images shot with a flash will have a shadow from the lens
  • In auto mode, camera sometimes selects a depth of field that’s too narrow, leaving part of the frame out of focus
  • Some menu items are hidden, until you activate them
Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Camera Buyer Review

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Camera Review for Buyer

Detail Review of the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 Camera

Image Quality

The image quality of images shot with the PEN Lite E-PL3 camera is extremely outstanding. The pin sharp autofocus is for almost all of the time. Even when a slightly off focus happens, it is still close enough to bring you most usable photos. Your photos will have the good colors and, you don’t have to worry about the camera shake at all.

In automatic mode, the performance of the camera is very good. Sometimes, the camera will try to shoot photos at a small depth of field, and part of the image might be off the focus, especially in a photo of a close distance. In this case, you just need to change into a manual mode and set a larger depth of field.

Sometimes, you might see a shadow in the image when the flash is turned on, depending on the angle at which you choose for the photo. This is another problem with the E-PL3 camera.

There are three image formats that you can select, including: RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG. Beside the rare vertical ratio of 3:4 in which you can shoot vertical photos without have to turn the camera, there are other options such as: 4:3, 1:1, 3:2, and 16:9. In term of movies recording, some different movie resolutions are available to help you make nice videos.

The performance of the movie mode with the PEN Lite camera is very good. The speed of the autofocus is fast for shooting movies and the manual zoom can be used as well. Besides, a still image photo can be taken while you are recording movie. But it will be a little bit inconvenient when it stops the movie’s recording at that spot.

Performance

You will easily find that the response times with the PEN Lite are pretty fast, which is similar with most advanced cameras. The delays from shot to shot are minimal. Just when you are use the flash, a pause happens because it requires a little time to recharge. Both the startup speed and shutter lag are very fast. Besides, the autofocus works greatly and accurately. If you can obtain an accurate autofocus with the E-PL3, the camera simply won’t fire. Therefore, you should have to move around a little bit to get the accurate focuse before the shutter button is pressed.

One very nice feature with this Olympus camera is that you can decide the duration that you want to leave the photo on screen for review before shooting it. The time range is from zero to 20 seconds, , in 1 second intervals.

With the short and wide design, the widescreen LCD with the E-PL3 seems really large. This LCD is also very sharp and you can select up to different brightness settings for your photos. Because there is no viewfinder with this camera, the good news is that the LCD is of such a high quality. You can tilt the LCD with 45 degrees around a horizontal axis in either direction. This option is great for taking photos at odd angles.

Despite the price point, the LCD with the PEN Lite is one of the greatest one that I have seen in the current market.

For those who are trying to learn the advanced photography, there are a lot of explanations of each menu feature or each mode dial option on the DIL camera screen. With the clean-looking organization and easy-to-use feature, the overall menu structure is great for beginners. However, unless you choose to display the menus, some of them are hidden. Therefore, keep in mind that you can’t find a specific feature.

To make your photos nicer, you can also apply interesting specialty features. Those features include a 3D mode, a pop art effect, dramatic effect, a diorama effect and a grainy effect.

Design

Similar to most DIL cameras, the PEN Lite E-PL3 is pretty thin and small, which is an all plastic DIL camera. Like all PEN family cameras, the model I tested was black with silver trim, is a stylish looking model. Because it is lightweight, it is very convenient to hold and use, as I thought. You may just need one hand to hold this camera if you want. However, in cases of manually turning the zoom lens, finally, you will have to use two hands for most of the time.

The power button, shutter button and mode dial along with a hot shoe are located on the top panel of the camera while the four-way control is on the back panel. And there includes a spin dial. Additional buttons such as playback and movie buttons are positioned on a slightly angled panel which lays between the top and back panels.

Different from other PEN models, the flash on the PEN Lite can be removable. This flash is attached to the camera’s hot shoe. The flash unit is not anywhere near the size of the Speedlite units which is commonly found with DSLR cameras. Despite being pretty small, the flash unit with the PEN Lite is effective. This is unlike some other PEN models, where you can see the flash in the upper right corner of the camera (as viewed from the front).

Like another great feature, the flash can be flipped down when you want to keep the camera’s size pretty small. It still sticks up a little bit, but it’s a nice design component.

One disadvantage with this centered flash is that your photos could end up with some shadows from the lens as I mentioned before, depending on the angle you choose to shoot the image. The problem will be less for a smaller lens. You should try some interesting angles to preventing the flash from causing a shadow with the lens.

There was an inclusion of a 14-42mm lens with the unit I reviewed. The size of this lens is about twice as wide as the thin PEN Lite camera body. It requires you to manually turn the lens to zoom, but both manual focus and autofocus are available with this camera.

 

Olympus TG-830 iHS Review

201760

Overview

In the past, the camera of the Olympus Tough product series are, in general, not too impressive. The relatively newly launched Olympus TG-830 iHS seems to be quite similar to those of the past in term of the design. However, the photography features and other performance aspects are much better in comparison to the older waterproof generation.

At the $200 price range, the Olympus TG-830 iHS camera model is considered a nice one thanks to its tough and waterproof features. The fast performance can satisfy you and you don’t have to concern much about the shutter lag. In terms of the image quality, I can say that this model is slightly better than most of the similarly priced cameras. Besides, there are quite interesting add-ons; for example, the GPS is supported, the LCD screen is sharp and bright and e-compass is also integrated.

With the above reviews, we highly recommend this model among many other cameras. However, there are still some drawbacks that you should be ware of. One of them is about the optical zoom lens. Because the optical zoom lens is just limited to 5X, you won’t able to take photos from a very far distances.

Except not having a large zoom lens, the Olympus TG-830 iHS is a good camera to choose. The low price, the waterproof and the tough features are all the things that can satisfy you.

Summary of the Olympus TG-830 iHS camera

Specifications

•  16 MP Resolution

•  5X (28-140mm) optical zoom

•  3.0-inch & 460,000-pixel LCD screen

•  Maximum image size at 4608 x 3456

•  Rechargeable Li-Ion battery:

 •  Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.1 inches

•  Weight: 7.5 ounces (without battery and memory card)

•  1/2.3 in CMOS image sensor

•  HD 1080p movie mode

Pros

  • Good image quality and performance among other cameras of the same price range.
  • TG-830 iHS is not difficult to use
  • The built-in LED, e-compass and GPS are all supported
  • The easy-to-use model dial is another advantage
  • The two compartments are double locked to ensure the waterproof capacity

Cons

  • The optical zoom lens is just limited to 5X
  • The design is quite identical to a point and shoot camera
  • The control buttons are small and poorly marked
  • The softness sometimes appears next to the edges of images
  • The battery life could be better
Olympus TG-830 iHS Review Buy

Olympus TG-830 iHS Review Buy

Detailed Review of the Olympus TG-830 iHS

Image Quality

The image sensor of this model is a little bit small, just 1/2.3-inch. Therefore, the image quality in general is not really great. However, at this price range, the image sensor size of the TG-830 iHS is still good enough for producing photos which have the better image quality than expected.

However, there still remains some softness near the edges of the photos. When you set the ISO at the mid-to-high level, some noise generated may cause irritation to the users. And especially, under the fluorescent light setting, the auto balances does not perform well, which cause some weird skin colors.

One good point of this Olympus camera is the accurate colors in the outdoor conditions. In the middle of the frame, the images look very sharp. Although you should not expect to make very large prints with the TG-830 his, photos of the middle-sizes and those for sharing on the internet are very great. Browsing around the internet we hardly find any complaint of this camera

The resolution of the TG-830 iHS is up to 16 MP. For cameras at the $200 price point, this resolution is considered pretty good. You can select for aspect ratios for the photos as well.

Performance

The shutter lag and shot-to-shot delays are just at the minimal level. Consequently, the performance of the TG-830 is considered pretty good among other cameras of the same prices. There are a variety of burst modes for you to select. This advantage also makes this camera a nice model.

Thanks to the very bright 3.0-inch LCD, the screen of the TG-830 iHS is above the average level among the ones of the similar prices. This bright and sharp screen is also great for shooting underwater

In addition, the built-in GPS unit and e-compass are also essential when you tend to go hiking and need a camera with those features integrated. This combination is really convenient for such a single device.

There still remains one weak point of this camera which may disappoint you. It is the small zoom lens. Because it is just limited to 5X, the TG-830 iHS is not the proper one for taking photos from a far distances. The TG-830 iHS is one of the few cameras that do not have a common 10X optical zoom lens. You want to take daily photos; this limitation may make you a little bit concerned.

But you will find the “tough” features of this camera quite nice versus those of other cameras of the same price range. Even in cases of 7-feet falling, it is still ok. The capacity of working under the water is up to 33 feet. Of course, the capacities increase when you pay higher prices for other cameras, but this capacity of the TG-830 iHS is still amazing for beginning users of a point and shoot camera who want to capture photos underwater.

One thing to take note is that if you are using the LED or GPS functionalities, you will drain the battery fast, even though there is a great improvement of the battery life of this camera.

Design

With a camera including the waterproof and tough features like the Olympus TG-830 iHS, a little bit heavy feeling is nice. And this camera does a good job with this aspect. Yet, the 1.1-inch thickness still keeps this one a quite thin camera. The hand grip part is covered with rubber, which make it comfortable to keep the camera in hand, especially in cases of being wet.

Both the two compartments of the battery and USB are double locked. Then, it creates more safety when using the Olympus camera in underwater situations. In those specific cases, a loose compartment needs to be avoided.

The mode dial is also supported in this camera, which makes you feel easier to use the model. And you’ll find it pretty simple to use with a lot of explanations appearing clearly on the screen. This is great for beginning photographers.

In terms of the appearance and arrangements of different parts, The TG-830 iHS look similar to other Olympus waterproof cameras in the past. The small lens is located in the upper right corner (if you see it from the front). The lens is also well located inside the camera; even you use the zoom lens. You will find the flash in the middle of the camera body and next to the flash lays the LED light. In comparison with other cameras in the current market, this model looks a little bit different. For most other cameras, the lens housing is in the round shape and commonly large.

Just a small frustration when using this camera is that the control buttons is small on the back panel. Because of this small size, it is not comfortable to use. In addition, the contrast of the labels on the buttons is not enough in low light conditions. Therefore, this is a little bit inconvenient.

 

 

Olympus VR-350 Review

202358

Overview

The Olympus VR-350 camera is one of the best cheap digital cameras under USd 100. This price range is very attractive to the majority of buyers. It is understandable that most people prefer cheap but good things. Even though the Olympus VR-350 camera used to be a good models a few years back, it doesn’t have many photographic options compared to modern models.

Sometimes in subnormal lighting conditions, the lack of brightness causes some hassles to produce good image quality. Under the normal lighting conditions, for example the sunlight, the VR-350 can produce images with sufficient quality for most users’ needs.

There are two good features of this camera that others of the same price point may not have: the LCD screen is up to 3-inch and it has an optical zoom lens, up to 10X. However, if your budget is limited, beside this camera, many other sub-$100 cameras  are also good alternatives.

Finally, the VR-350 can be equally compared to the VR-340. There are some different names for these cameras over different places of the world, such as: the D-750 and the D-755. You may get confused, but actually the names differ for different locations in the world. To put them into the comparison, many features of the VR-340 are identical to those of the VR-350.

Olympus VR-350 Camera Review Buy

Olympus VR-350 Camera Review Buy

Summary for the Olympus VR-350 Camera

Specifications

  • Resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 10X (24-240mm)
  • LCD: 3.0-inch, 460,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size: 4608 x 3456
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 6 ounces (without battery and memory card)
  • Image sensor: CCD 1/2.3 in.
  • Movie mode: HD 720p

Pros

  • The price of the camera is low
  • Another big advantage is the inclusion of the 10X optical zoom
  • Explanation pop-ups are clearly available on the screen, in which beginners find it easy to use the camera
  • The colors are accurate
  • The LCD screen helps create images of good quality

Cons

  • The response times is slow
  • Image quality could be better. The softness still happens for certain photos
  • The menu is not arranged in a good manner. And the options of the menus are limited
  • The control buttons are not large enough
  • There are few movie options

Detail review for the Olympus VR-350 Camera

Image Quality

Although the resolution of this camera is up to 16 megapixels, you should not expect too much from this aspect. The image quality of VR-350 is still not really good. One of the reasons is that the image sensor is only 1/2.3 inches. That number is small. Beside the small image sensor, some other electronic hardware which are under the average level also contribute to the bad image quality of this camera.

One of the most frustrating problems is about the softness of the images. You may expect sharp images. However, occasionally some slight blurriness shall make you concerned. Do not let the images on the LCD screen or of small prints fool you. You will get noticed when seeing those images with larger prints or on a computer screen. The images are quite significantly softer than you may expect.

You will find it having good colors accuracy. Although it is comparable to the image quality of other more expensive cameras, it is an excellent choice compared to others of the models of the same price range, especially when you are using flash mode.

There is one disappointing fact about this camera, in terms of the resolution setting. If you choose to use the 16:9 aspect ratio, then you can only produce image of the resolution of 2 megapixels. And, you can use all resolution settings only when you are using the 4:3 ratio. That is a weird and unpleasant things of this Olympus camera.

Beside the abnormal photography options, you can expect the movie quality to be quite good. It supports 720p HD resolution. However, the zoom lens cannot be used while the camera is doing movie recording. Because of that, it is also hard to capture subjects that are moving around when you are shooting movies. Nowadays, most digital cameras in the market have the zoom lens available while recording movies. The VR-350 camera is one of the few models that doesn’t have that capability.

Performance

There are some good performance aspects of this camera. It is the 10 optical zoom lens that makes the Olympus VR-350 different from many cameras of the sub-$100 price range. Moreover, the speed of moving this large zoom lens is just 1 second. This speed is quite fast among the cameras of the low prices.

As mentioned earlier in this review, beside the zoom lens, the LCD screen is another strong point of this VR-350. Thanks to its large and sharp screen, the image quality when you see it directly on the camera really satisfies you. However, for the outdoor lighting conditions, the sun glare shinning on this screen may make it slightly difficult to see. In this case, you have to use the higher brightness level of this LCD screen. Thanks to a pretty good lifespan battery which can cope with more extensive power consuming tasks.

Beside the excellent features, the Olympus VR-350 camera also has some drawbacks.

The first drawback is the long responses time. will need to wait for 2-3 seconds due to the Shot to shot delays. The previous photo need to be captured and stored properly in the camera’s memory before you can take the next photo.

The second down side is the shutter lag. To minimize this problem, you would need to pre-focuse the photos before capturing. It can be done easily by pressing the shutter button halfway in this way. You may also think about the burst modes, right? But unfortunately we cannot rely on this mode to reduce the shutter lag as you expect.

The Olympus VR-350 camera also takes a while to turn on. You can reduce the time of start-up a little bit disabling the the start-up image, so that this heavy image isn’t loaded when you power on the camera. Many beginners on photography may not be aware that this image should be turned off – a setting that Olympus should make it as default, but they didn’t.

Design

Because of the optical zoom lens is quite large, up to 10X, this makes the VR-350 a little big in comparison to other cameras of the sub-$100 price range. Despite its thickness of only 1.1 inches, this one is not considered and ultra thin camera.

You can use your right hand to handle this camera quite easily. that is due to the  raised part in the front of this camera. This nice design is not available for most other cameras of the same cost.

However, the location of the built-in flash isn’t convenient for some users. When I tested the camera with some shots, sometimes the fingers on my right hand accidentally blocked the flash, causing problems to the image. Usually when that problem happens, it takes time to recapture them, which is an unfavorable step since you may need to wait for a short while due to the shot-to-shot delays.

A good design feature of the Olympus VR-350 is that you can get access to typical settings quickly from the main shooting screen. This is a nice feature. Moreover, there are also many other features that may help you when using this camera.

Conclusion

The Olympus VR-350 camera is a sub-$100 item that has some nice features, especially the 10X zoom lens and the large LCD screen. If you are casual users who only need to take pictures when you are traveling, or taking picture with your family or group of friends to post into Facebook, these two features are important and sufficient for you. That is a cheap camera but have a quite good set of specifications.

 

Olympus SZ-30MR Review

202645

The Bottom Line

The Olympus SZ-30MR camera has a stylish and beautiful look with an extremely large zoom. Taking a glance at it, you will see it quite slight and not heavy at all. The optical zoom lens is very large, up to 24X. All of these things make it a very good device that many people will not regret buying it.

However, the price is quite high, about under $400 and there still remain some quirks. Therefore, I don’t really recommend you to purchase this one. It is great, but for sure, it is not the perfect one for all people.

When you use the zoom at the maximum level, it may take a bit time to switch from the previous to the photo later. The time for shutting a photo in this case is slow. This is popular for cameras with an extremely large zoom. Sometimes, you still find it not convenient to use this camera. Its dial labeling mode is a little crazy.

Yet, this camera is still good enough to be taken into consideration. If the price is not exceeding $100, it can make up for all the flaws and I think it is good enough to be introduced to you. In comparison with the Nikon P500 ultra-zoom, this model is not highly recommended over. Except the case that you just need a light camera with the good zoom ability, this is a good option.

Olympus SZ_30Z

Olympus SZ-30MR ultra-zoom Camera Review Buy

Image Quality

One feature that surprised me a lot was its excellent ability in shooting wonderful photos when you are at a far distance. It performed well, even in conditions that required a flash. The powerful flash is a great point of this camera. To increase the exposure of the photos, you could also take advantage of adjusting its ISO settings. In general, I found the photo quality of this camera very satisfying.

Most impressive images created by this camera will very extremely sharp, except some cases. For example, when the camera shake occurs, some blurriness happens as well. In this case, a tripod is the best solution for this camera, especially when the photographing conditions are indoor or without enough light.

For outdoor conditions, you will never have to worry about the exposure or autofocus. Both of the features are great with the SZ-30MR. However, despite the good image quality in general, you may still encounter some little disappointment when some blurriness happens due to a camera shake.

There are something you can do to make fun with the SZ-30MR. You can take advantage of them to make your photos more interesting, for example, making the photos become amazing with art effects or adjusting the colors after taking photos. They work well and bring fun when you are using them. The MR mode is also supported. With this mode, you can take two pictures at exactly the same time, one with the special effect and the other still in the original format.

What a pity that you cannot take advantage of the zoom lens for shooting movies. Instead, there is no way beside using a digital zoom which is often small. The quality of movies can be acceptable.

Performance

“The response times of the SZ-30MR is very quick, but it is not for all the cases. One of these cases is when the zoom lens is needed” – that is what I want to tell you about this camera.

This is just a joke, you know, right? Without using the zoom, what is the reason for buying a camera with such a large zoom lens? However, if you are being concerned about shooting photos  with a good ability to catch the light, this camera is not the best choice. The reason is that unlike other ultra-zoom cameras, there remains some delays.

The zoom lens on the SZ-30MR is quite good. It is better than that of other similar cameras thanks to the fast and smooth moving among different distances. You can take advantage of this large 24X zoom to take many photos of various distances.

Shot to shot delays sometimes happen the SZ-30MR. Especially, those delays increase under low light conditions or when you adjust the zoom to the maximum level. That’s the reason why “busy” notification appears sometimes. The more you extend the zoom lens, the more shutter lag you encounter. It is common for most cameras with extremely large zoom lens. And this shutter lag becomes a bigger problem as well in conditions without enough light. Because of the shutter lag, you will not able to catch the photos of moving subject, which is a sorrow of using this camera.

It is common for most cameras with extremely large zoom lends that the autofocus speed of this camera is quite fast. However, the closer you come to the maximum zoom, the slower this speed is. You can apply a solution to reduce this slow speed by trying to pre-focus. You just need to touch and press the shutter button slightly before going to capture images.  

You cannot change the time of reviewing your photos because it is already a fixed amount. Therefore, it is not comfortable to capture a lot of photos continously. Despite being able to return to shooting mode when you press the shutter button but obviously, this process takes time. Due to this, you may feel disappointed with missing one or two photos.

The arrangement of the options of this camera is nice. However, there still remain some hassles in using it if you don’t have any experiences with cameras. Actually, what I mean is not about recommending beginners to take this camera out of consideration, but if you are a beginner, it does take time to read the user guide carefully before you want to understand all the features of the camera. It is not that easy for beginners.

Design

Unlike boring, larger DSLR cameras, the SZ-30MR is a little bit more beautiful look compared to other cameras of similar types. The design of this camera is very nice. There are some great points in the design of The SZ-30MR. For example, it has a glistening style; it is thinner and lighter than many other cameras of the same class. All of those things create its difference.

Despite having an extremely large zoom lens, it is very light. You will be surprised to find it not difficult at all and especially convenient to use this camera.

The flash of the camera is located right next to the lens housing. Except extending the flash, you will not have to worry about its firing.

Despite all the good aspects of this design, a nice combination between the style and the colors, there is one drawback. The labeling on the mode dial is not really convenient for the usage. Because of the gleaming silver cover and the white color of the text labels, you will find it hard to see the dial labels if the sun shines on these dial labels. When this happens, you may feel annoyed after some moments.

You cannot separate the battery charging from the camera. This is a little bit inconvenient. Both the battery and the memory cart part are included with a sturdy cover. One improvement is that SD memory cards are accepted for the camera. In the old models, only xD memory cards Olympus’ own brand could be used.

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