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X700 - Digital Camera Quick Review
Olympus have this to say about the camera:
"Combining 6.0 million pixels and ease of use, the FE-120 is ideal as an introductory digital camera for those on a budget - but who want more than just the basics. The large 4.6cm LCD monitor makes it easy to frame the shots you want, while 16 scene modes and a movie recording function let you experiment."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: It's
fairly compact and made out of shiney silver plastic.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm film camera.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - a larger memory card and a case would have been nice.
The Camera in Use:
Battery life on alkaline batteries was fairly poor. Battery life
on high power 2350mAh Ni-Mh batteries was much better, allowing over 250
shots to be taken. As with pretty much all digital cameras that take AA
batteries, you will need to buy high power rechargable batteries and a
charger in order to get the best battery life.
Speed: The camera switches on and becomes ready in roughly 3 seconds. Flash recharge time is good, allowing a shot every 2 or 3 seconds. The screen updates are fairly quick and smooth even in low light. The playback mode is a bit sluggish, but zooming isn't too slow. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 5x. The camera has a continuous shooting mode that takes unlimited* photos at roughly 1.3fps without flash.The general shot to shot time was fairly good and allowed a photo to be taken every 2 seconds. The camera shutter response seemed fairly sluggish. Focusing was also quite slow and slower in low-light, but always seemed successful, even in low-light. * I took 17 photos continuously then gave up.
Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use. The controls on the back of the camera are very easy to use. The camera is fairly compact and pocketable in baggy trouser pockets. The menus are easy to use, and the options are easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as lots of scene modes for simple point and shoot operation. The camera is an excellent example of a point and shoot camera, with very little in the way of more advanced controls, it would be very easy to use for beginners making good photos atainable every time.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled well - I especially like the clear "Photo" and "Play" buttons. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically. The buttons are a good size, and aren't too small, unlike quite a lot of cameras. There is a small indentation to rest your thumb in, and a small handgrip on the front that make it easier to hold.
Screen / Viewfinder: The 1.8" screen is fairly clear with accurate colours, and updates smoothly, it becomes brighter in low-light. There is no optical viewfinder.
Image quality generally: Outside image quality was good, colour was rich and saturated, and the pictures had good contrast and detail, although images were slightly soft. Noise was quite low. Indoors - image quality was good - with quite low noise in photos. Focusing was good, although slow. Images were generally fairly soft, and may benefit from sharpening. The maco mode was excellent allowing you to be as close as 2cm away from the subject, pictures had good colour, with very good detail, although lack of custom white balance may hinder some people. Have a look at the Olympus FE-120 / X700 Sample Photo Gallery.
Image quality issues: There was some purple fringing, slightly higher than average.
Zoom: The camera's
3x optical zoom is slightly louder than normal. It has 13 steps between
wide and telephoto. The camera also has a 4x digital zoom that enlarges
the image degrading image quality.
Movie: The movie mode offers 320x240 / 30fps without sound. The movie mode is average, and unfortunately without sound it means videos are much less appealing. If the movies featured sound it would make this camera a better all-round digital camera.
Size + Compression options: The choices are 6mp (2816x2112), 2mp (1600x1200), VGA (640x480). Compression options are SHQ (Super High Quality) / HQ (High Quality) - available on the 6 megapixel setting - and SQ1 and SQ2 available on the 2mp setting and VGA setting. There's a small choice here regarding size / compression, and there is no 3:2 aspect ratio which is useful for people wanting to print their images at the traditional 6"x4" size.
The flash performed quite well in the photos I took and performed better
when the subject was closer to the camera - however I wouldn't expect
the camera to light up large rooms, or groups very well. The flash was
disabled in super macro mode, meaning there shouldn't be any problems
taking macro photos, as long as you can get enough light. Flash charge
time was quite quite at around 1-2 seconds.
Conclusion: The Olympus FE-120 / X700 is a compact 6 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and is excellent value for money, however, even more impressive is that the camera produces good to very good results, with good quality pictures with good colour and detail. The camera is consistantly able to focus, even in low-light although slow focusing may put some people off - the high success rate should compensate for the delays. The huge number of scene modes make this already easy to use camera even easier to use, and help achieve very good results. The Olympus FE-120 / X700 is definitely a bargain, and is definitely recommended for those looking for an easy to use point and shoot camera capable of making large prints.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the Olympus FE-120 / X700 Sample Photo Gallery.