GE X550 Camera Review

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Overview of the GE X550 Camera

Among a large number of ultra thin cameras in the current camera market, it is not easy to look for a model with a viewfinder which is aimed at the beginning level. If the look of a traditional 35mm film model is what you are interested on, it’s pretty hard to find the similar look in an entry-level camera.

Thanks to the General Imaging arm, the GE Power Pro X550 has become one among the few models that include both the large zoom and the viewfinder at a very reasonable price. This is the newest model manufactured by GE with a very impressive zoom lens which is up to 15X.

Of course, there are some performance drawbacks with the camera, but regarding the viewfinder and the very reasonable price, this camera is worth your consideration. For a beginner in photography, the strong points of this camera certainly meet your requirements. However, I feel a bit hesitated to recommend this camera for every photographer at the beginning level when considering some of its drawbacks.

GE X550 Review

The GE X550 is one of the cameras among the Power Pro series of GE models. There are only two color options with this camera, including: black or white.

Brief Review of the GE X550 Camera

Specifications

  • The resolution is 16.0 megapixels
  • The Optical zoom is 15X (27-405mm)
  • The 2.7-inch LCD has the resolution of 230,000 pixels
  • The image size is 4608 x 3456 pixels at maximum
  • The camera uses Four AA batteries
  • The dimensions are 4.0 x 2.9 x 2.6 inches
  • The camera weighs 15 ounces (without the inclusion of the battery and memory card)
  • The 1/2.33-inch image sensor applies the CCD technology
  • A VGA video mode is supported

Pros

  • The inclusion of a viewfinder is great for an entry-level camera
  • It is easy to handle the camera
  • 15X optical zoom lens is very appealing
  • Running from four AA batteries is convenient
  • The results with the pop-up flash unit are nice

Cons

  • The overall image quality could be better
  • You don’t have the sharp focus as expected
  • The performance of the camera is more sluggish than it should be
  • There is no HD movie option
  • It would be nice to have the improved LCD quality and size

Detailed Review of the GE X550 Camera

Image Quality

As it is common for low priced cameras, the image quality of the X550 is nice in terms of the accurate colors for photos shot outdoors. When shooting indoors, you’ll easily see that the image quality is slightly better than it is with other budget-priced cameras. It is the pop-up flash unit that largely contributes to the nice image quality of indoor photos. This popup flash offers a nicer angle for the scene than the typical flashes which are often built in other models.

You cannot set the ISO more than ISO 1600 with the camera when you need to adjust the ISO. In addition, if instead of turning the flash on for inadequate lighting conditions and you select to set a higher number of the ISO, you may easily encounter the extremely considerable noise in your photos.

The GE X550 offers the 16 MP resolution, so you’re going to be able to print the images at a pretty large size. However, don’t expect to print the photos at these large sizes frequently because there is a little bit softness with the focus of the camera quite often. The focusing is often sharp, but you cannot avoid getting some photos with a considerable amount of softness at some point. This is pretty annoying.

Another reason that causes the softness is the shutter lag with the GE X550. Sometimes, your photos will be out of the sharp focus due to this shutter lag. In addition, when you fully extend the large 15X zoom lens, you’ll also easily encounter the Camera shake which results in blurry photos. In this case, a tripod or any method to keep the camera steady can be very useful because you know you will have great images with the large zoom which cannot be achieved with a zoom of the smaller sizes.

Lastly, don’t expect that you can shoot HD movies with the X550. While it is very common to find cameras that can shoot both still photos and HD videos, the X550 does not offer this feature. This is pretty disappointing.

Performance

Even in comparison with other models with the price under $150, the Response times are not fast. As I have previously mentioned, the performance of the autofocus mechanism is very slow, so you will see some softness in your photos or miss some spontaneous moments. To lower the shutter lag problems, you should press the shuttering button halfway and have the subjects pre-focused.

In addition, you cannot help ignoring the delays for shot to shot.  It takes too much time to transfer from the current to the next shot. It can be very annoying to wait for the camera to save the previous photo before you can shoot a new one. Due to these shot-to-shot delays, you may easily miss some spontaneous photos.

One good point with the GE X550’s is the fast speed of moving the zoom lens within its range. While the lenses of cameras for the beginning level don’t often move fast over the zoom range, the X550 excels in this area.

The Battery life is greater than you may expect with this camera. Commonly, the capability to conserve power is not good with the models operating AA batteries; the battery setting is very nice with the X550. Moreover, there are some useful features that help save the power for the camera battery as well.

Design

Not only the appearance but the feel of the GE X550 is similar as one GE model in my review one year ago, the GE X5. The X550 is large but you can keep it comfortably in your hand. Another nice aspect is the large size of the grip in the right hand. However, sometimes the camera can be out of the balance because all four batteries are put inside the handgrip.

Finally, the X550 deserves your consideration if you don’t like very thin models.

You can obtain both a great feature and a nice-looking design with the inclusion of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) in the GE X550. It may be slightly inconvenient to press a button if you want to switch between the EVF and LCD screens but it is nice to find this feature in a camera with the price under $150, which is not popular at all.

With this camera, I recommend you to use the EVF more than the LCD because the 2.7-inch LCD screen is not large enough for you to use it comfortably. In addition, the LCD is not as sharp as expected.

There is a mode dial with the camera which is a very nice aspect in the design of the GẺ X550. It is not common to find a mode dial in a budget-priced model. This feature is really useful to help you select right the shooting mode  compared to using the screen for mode selections.

There are two color options that you can select with the GE X550: one in all black and the other is a white model together with black trim. The look of the camera is sharp enough to attract you when you want a camera of the larger size.

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