I bought this camera mainly because of its waterproof, shock proof, temp proof quality. I also thought it would do fine in picture quality. I needed something that I could take anywhere, really anywhere, and give to my kids, without worry.
Recommend this product?
So first the negative: The picture quality of this 7.1 megapixel is average at best. Unless in bright daylight, the quality suffers in color, contrast and everything else. Most of the photos are just dull and require post processing. I was very suprised by this because I was told by friends that Olympus does good quality photos. Not with this camera I guess. In less than bright daylight, the flash always wants to fire which is annoying, and if you turn it off, the picture will blur anyway.
The menu sequence is confusing and annoying. Grant it, i am a Canon and Nikon and Panasonic guy, and I am very tech friendly, but the menu here just doesn't make sense from the way it's laid out to how it is accessed. Also, things keep resetting for no reason once you switch a setting. Poor.
Digital and optical zoom are very important to me. Here, the optical is ok, but digital fails miserably. I have never seen a digital zoom degrade in quality so much once used. You know that digital zoom is basically a crop of a picture. Here, it is unusable really...quality is very poor once it goes to the crop. There is an extended optical zoom but it's really irrelevant and only adds a few feet so not really noteworthy. Also, it's one that keeps resetting also.
Finally, the Xd card...need I say more? Why does Olympus hang on to this I don't know. It's an annoying little card.
Charger is one of those that has a power cord and charger, so it's bulky and not convenient to travel with like the all in one from other manufacturers.
Finally, the menu features and photo modes are useful if you have the time to fiddle with them and get to the one you need as you are ready to take the picture...most of the time, you will miss the moment because the menu is cumbersome and takes forever to set and reset.
For the positive: Ok, so if you think of why I bought this camera to begin with, you know why I still rate it well. I own 4 cameras, from DSLR to compact. This was filling the gap for me of "take anywhere, anytime". So, I have done excatly that and it has performed as expected. I have used it on the beach, sand and salt no problem. I have given it to my daughter to take pictures while playing in surf, go figure, she drops it in the ocean, again, no problem. I have snorkeled and surfed with in on my wrist, no problem. I have taken out at 5 degrees in a chicago snow storm and took pictures and video, no problem. I have dropped it from my desk, back pack, and banged it around enough times to forget, no problem. So, it is really meant for that kind of work.
Video quality is OK and convenient to have in a carry everywhere compact.
Size is slim enough to take with all the time. Remember the saying, better to be there and have a bad picture, then to to miss it all together.
Battery life is good but I always carry a spare.
Overall, don't buy this camera for quality of photo. Buy it because it allows you to capture the photo or video anywhere anytime without worry of anything that may happen to it.
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Amount Paid (US$): 249
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use