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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.