Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Vivitar are selling the Vivitar Vivicam 8225 – the camera specification looks quite promising, especially as the camera is available from £40-£50, it features an 8 megapixel sensor, 2x optical zoom lens (apparently), 2.4″ screen, lithium ion battery, SD/SDHC support, and VGA video mode (without sound), but is it any good? Found out below. The camera is available for £49

The camera uses a CMOS sensor and promises an “optical zoom lens” – the image quality from the 2x “optical zoom” photos looked more like digital zoom to me, and you would expect to be able to see MORE detail in the optical zoom photos, but I could not – in fact the movement of the “zoom” lens looks suspicious – it was fully extended when on wide-angle, then would zoom in and out while zooming in in a somewhat meaningless way. Then when I noticed hot pixels from the CMOS sensor that MOVED when using the “optical” zoom I had to investigate further. I removed the front plastic element from the lens (this improved image quality as ghosting issues disappeared) then I removed the glass lens element from the moving “optical zoom”.* Yet AMAZINGLY the “Optical zoom” still worked!! How can that be? Oh yeah, it’s not real optical zoom, it’s simply digital zoom.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Press shots show “2x Optical Zoom” (and a completely different lens design) yet the box says simply “Optical Zoom” while the real product says: “Optical zoom” and “Auto Focus Zoom Lens” and “36-72mm f2.8” which appears to be blatant lying – apart from the Auto Focus part, which does appear to be true.

Continue reading our Vivitar Vivicam 8225 Review.
View our Vivitar Vivicam 8225 Sample Photo Gallery.

It’s been a LONG time since I last reviewed a Vivitar camera – a lot has happened since then – they’ve gone bankrupt, been bought, and recently relaunched with a whole new range of cameras – near the bottom of the range is the new Vivitar Vivicam V8225 or 8225 – priced from £40, it features something somewhat unique in this day and age, a 2x “optical” zoom lens. Most cameras tend to have either no optical zoom, or at least a 3x optical zoom lens. It’s price and features meant that I was interested enough to give it a try. It’s cheap, but is it cheerful?

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Front on – the zoom lens is a rather strange setup twisting out when switched on – and the front lens element looks so reflective I immediately thought that there was something stuck on that should be taken off. Unfortunately not – the front element is always this reflective and therefore creates some interesting lens flare.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Top – power button, shutter release, and microphone? Unfortunately not – it’s just a speaker hole for the annoying beep that can’t be switched off.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Bottom – SD/SDHC memory card slot, tripod socket, and battery compartment – it uses the Nokia BL-5B Battery rated at 700mah, 3.7v, (a clone, not a genuine Nokia battery) – probably because Nokia use this battery in a number of phones, and they’ve no doubt sold millions of mobile phones, making this battery one of the cheapest available?

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Back – 2.4″ screen, Mode button switches between Photo / Video and Playback modes.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Size – quite small – quite slim. Weighs 100g, and measures: 92.00mm x 58.0mm x 19.0 mm

Video – It has a VGA video mode, without sound.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Shown above – side by side – on the left a normal photo, on the right a photo taken with “2x optical zoom”, the photos have been adjusted (levels and saturation) so that you can see the hot pixels and noise more easily, I wasn’t expecting the clear round circle, but this just makes it all the more obvious that the camera is using digital zoom. I’ve uploaded full size images into the photo gallery if you want to view or compare them yourself. (Image 229, 230)

Conclusion: Considering a standard 8mp Vivitar with no optical zoom costs around £30-£35 (eg the Vivitar 8025) – this 8mp Vivitar with “pretend 2x optical zoom” aka no optical zoom costs £40-£50 – then this camera is not good value for money. In fact, I wonder whether they are breaking advertising standards by claiming to have “Optical zoom” when in fact it’s simply digital zoom? In my opinion this camera should be pulled from shelves, and all shops that sell it (Asda, Tesco, Amazon etc) should send it back, and offer any current customers a full refund!

Vivitar Vivicam 8225

Some of the online material (site screenshot shown above, spec sheet, and official manual!) say it has a 3x optical zoom lens – please – make up your mind! What else are they not telling us? Could it be using a 5 megapixels sensor and interpolating the images to 8 megapixels?

Like:
Lithium-Ion Battery
Um…?

Dislike:
No optical zoom – only digital zoom!
Difficult to remove / put in memory card
Excessive barrel distortion on wide-angle
Says it’s in Focus when it’s not (and vice versa)
Beep can’t be switched off
Lens flare
Poor quality screen – difficult to see what the photos will look like
Over-exposes bright areas on default settings (-1, or -2 exposure compensation needed)
Very Weak flash – red-eye reduction pre-flash is brighter than the actual flash!
Auto-focus hit and miss.
Flash defaults to off.

* You can also find out by gently holding in the lens when switching the camera on, take a photo, now hold it in whilst using the zoom, notice how the image on the screen gets larger, yet the lens doesn’t even move! (I realise too that I could have done this without having to remove the lens pieces)

Photos of the camera taken with an Olympus E-600 DSLR.

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18 Responses to Vivitar Vivicam 8225 Review – Do Not Buy!

  1. Some bloke on the internet says:

    That’s appalling – surely a case for trading standards?

    Though Panasonic are almost as bad with the “extra optical zoom” feature which is actually just cropping.

  2. Rita Nofsinger says:

    I received a Vivitar Vivacam 8225 for Christmas and all the pictures are bad – look like over-exposed, which is probably the lens flare addressed in the review. I even changed batteries and got a new memory card and it hasn’t helped. I’m so disappointed and will not buy another of this brand.

  3. GOT TO HELL VIVITAR says:

    F*CKING STUPID CAMERA – WASTED A PERFECT MOMENT AND NO SOUND!!!

  4. Craig Newbury says:

    Reading this review it is clear you know little about optics and lens design. I don’t dispute the image quality is bad but i suspect the zoom is optical.

    You state the lens barrel moves in then out when zooming in in a “suspicious” way. Have a play around with the Panasonic DMC-LX3 (£350), in my opinion *THE BEST* compact camera on the market today. It is Panasonic’s version on the Leica D-Lux4 (A camera that retails for £600). When at 24mm it is all the way out and as it zooms in the lens retracts, and then goes back out again.

    This is similar to the common 18-55mm lenses that come with Nikon DSLRs.

    Apart from that good review.

  5. admin says:

    Yes I have seen that on a number of cameras – however – the Vivitar still continues to provide “zoom” even when the “optical zoom” lens is physically removed from the camera. My main point of the article is the fact that the camera has no optical zoom, uses digital zoom, and simply moves the lens to give the impression of optical zoom.

  6. Brian Young says:

    I bought a Vivitar 8225 for my daughter for christmas and from day one she didn’t like it. The picture was terrible from the start, no optical zoom or digital zoom, She complaned from the start. I had to buy another camera, a name brand, never again will I buy a piece of shit like to . Thanks Canada for keeping companies honest.

  7. Patricia says:

    I received a Vivitar ViviCam 7022 for Christmas and the usb cable was NOT included in the box as stated in “what’s included”, and I have been trying to get Vivitar to send me one since February 2011. I called them again today for the 4th and final time, and this rep said it was shipped March 20th and I should get it in 3-4 days now! Yeh right, they’ve been lying about a simple mailing since this started. I’m not even fond of the camera because the pictures on the screen are hard to see how they’re going to come out. I will never EVER buy this brand again, and I’m spreading the word on this brand DON’T BUY IT! Their Customer Service STINKS!

  8. Bob says:

    This review is quite refreshing. Before reading it I assumed that all the trouble I was having with this piece of junk camera was due to my own ignorance.
    I feel much better now except when I think of the money wasted.

  9. A.A. says:

    I find most newer Vivtar cameras tend to reset the file numbering back to 001 even after you take a series of photos-say I take 9 photos (filenames numbered from PICT0001-0009) and transfer the photos to my computer and then take another photo, the next photo is numbered PICT0001 again.

    Very strange thing indeed-I have to manually transfer and rename the photos so the one after PICT0009 is PICT00010 and so on.

    Does the above occur on the Vivicam 8225?

    I have a Vivicam 5188 by the way.

  10. Teresa says:

    Picked up an 8225 for my daughter for Christmas from Toys r Us. Got it for £15 because there was no box. Wished we had not been enticed by their ‘generous’ reduction and had gone for something different.

    You think the pictures are ok until you download them on to the computer and you find they’re blurred. The majority of pictures taken on it from a family wedding this weekend are useless

  11. sasha says:

    I think that this camera is fine and mine is just the same only it does have sound but maybe you guys should look at the settings and put sound on.

  12. Jacqueline Bourgard says:

    This is the worst camera I have ever owned and I’ve had a few. Inside pictures are always orange and outside pictures always blurred. Tried contacting company to no avail. They do not even have the courtesy of a simple response. Amazing in this day and age that a company can actually market such an inferior product. They are making money while we are forced to purchase another camera. From now on I’m staying with the “proven” companies.

  13. Palua says:

    I think this camera been ok. But my teen girls lost the USB lead a month ago been everywhere to buy one but no one does this make for lead only vivicam 8325. Also for some reason the 4gb memo card wont work for download. So im stuck with a full camera i cant get photos off!!!! 🙁

    Good news rang vivitar they sending 1 in post.
    Bad news 3-4wks before it comes & holidays this week

  14. Lesley E says:

    Heartbroken.
    Bought one of these when I returned to the UK and forgot to pack my camera.
    Most shots are so distorted they look like they have been photoshopped, with the centre of the pictre sagging downwards, and nearly all have no point of focus anywhere in the pictures taken.
    It is heartbreaking.
    All my reunions and in one case my last shots of an old friend.
    I used to have a Vivitar compact years ago, which served me so well that I specifically went looking for a modern Vivitar digi.
    If it wasn’t so sad it would be blooming ridiculous. This just does not function as a camera. I could have done better with a pin hole in a cardboard box guys!
    Lesley in NZ

  15. iain says:

    got one of theese vivitar8225, every timre i try to take a pic, it says card protected, protected from who? it’s fekin mine ???? arggh how do i unprotect it then?

  16. Mark says:

    I’ve had one of these (vivitar 8225) for the first year it was brilliant, considering it’s size,some of the pictures I took came out superbly,I don’t know what’s happened, but now most pics come out poor, poor focus, faded colours.The battery and memory card are not hard to work with as claimed in the article.

  17. KAREN says:

    I HAVE HAD THIS CAMERA FROM JANUARY 2010 AND HAVE HAD NO PROMBLEM AND IN FACT BROUGHT ONE FOR A FRIEND SO I FOR ONE AND MY FRIEND WOULD HIGHLY RECONMEND THIS CAMERA

  18. sydney cobb says:

    I HAVE BEEN READING MANY COMMENTS ON THE LATEST VIVITAR CAMERA.S AND AS I
    USED TO OWN [ 3695] I THINK THIS WAS THE MODEL NUMBER.

    I AM SURPRISED AT THE QUALITY AND HOW BAD THEY HAVE BECOME, WHICH SUPPRISED
    ME AS I REMEMBER PAYING SOMETHINK LIKE £ 130 OR £180 AND HAVE TO SAY QUALITY
    WAS EXCELENT.

    I HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THIS CAMERA AT ALL, AND THE ONLY FAULT I HAD WITH THIS
    CAMERA WAS THE ZOOM WAS NOT POWERFULL ENOUGH.

    AND AS THIS CAMERA WAS ONLY 5 MEGAPIXALS AND AS I SAY QUALITY WAS EXCELENT

    SO WHAT HAS HAPPEND TO THE QUALITY OF VIVITAR.

    BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT I MAYBE LOOKING FOR A NEW CAMERA.

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