Olympus FE-300 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Olympus FE-300 Ease of Use 9
Features 7
Movie Mode 6
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 8
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 6
Value for Money 7
12 Megapixels
3x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
94 x 56.5 x 22.1 mm
115g

Overview

The Olympus FE-300 is a pocket sized digital camera. It offers a lot of megapixels, 12, and a 3x optical zoom lens. Aside from the amount of megapixels it is similar to many other pocket cameras. The FE-300 is easy to use and will suit anyone looking for a straightforward, snapshot camera.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

12
3x
2.5 inches
94 x 56.5 x 22.1 mm
115g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

10cm
No
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
xD

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

I like the colours in this scene. They add a bit of warmth to the shot that I certainly didn't feel when I was taking the photo. The camera also handles the glare from the sun well, although blue lines on the boat have come out with a purple tinge.

Sharpness is good, but it does drift off towards the corners. This is noticeable in the higher branches of the trees away from the centre of the photo. There is also some noise showing in the sky.

Focusing is similar to that in the first photo with the centre sharper than the edges. Here the fall off in sharpness is more noticeable. Towards the edges the photo looks soft in places.

This is the sharpest photo of the three scenic shots. The purple tinge is showing again in areas that should be blue. I can also see purple fringing in places. This is where a purple line has been added to the edge of light coloured objects. This should not happen with a digital camera with a short zoom lens like the FE-300 has.

Portraits

I would have liked this photo to have been a bit brighter. The result is on the dull side. Although the photo was taken in the shade there was plenty of light. This suggests that this camera needs extra light to be at its best compared to other cameras.

The FE-300 handles this photo well. Red eye has been avoided and there is about the right level of lighting produced by the flash. This means that the photo is bright enough without colours being washed out.

With the flash turned off the colours in the shot have a more natural feel to them. To compensate for the lower light the camera automatically adjusts its ISO setting. This means that overall picture quality is reduced. This reduction in quality is only likely to be a big issue with larger prints.

Macro, Colours and Noise

In macro mode the closest you can get to a subject is 10cm. This means that my test shot has been heavily cropped. It is not a bad a attempt, but with most cameras now able to get in a lot closer the FE-300 is not the camera to go for if you are planning to take a lot of close up shots.

There is nothing wrong with the colours produced by the FE-300. They are well balanced and strong enough. Most photos have a natural feel to them.

Increasing the ISO level adds noise to the photo and colours start to break down as well. At ISO 1600 all picture quality has gone. The picture takes on a fuzzy look and colours become blotchy.

Summary

Picture quality is roughly above average when compared to other pocket sized cameras. There are no major disaster areas and the camera performs well in the majority of my tests.

See sample images link arrow

Style

I was surprised to see this camera was 22mm wide. It looks deceptively slim to me. It has a plain, unfussy design and is a typically rectangular shape. It is available in black.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash

0.55 seconds
15.05 seconds
1.79 seconds
18.25 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy Although I do not particularly like the menu system used by Olympus this camera is easy to use. There are not that many features to bog you down and you should soon find your way around.

Points I Like

Simple design - easy to use

Where it Could Improve

It could be cheaper! - shutter lag - basic movie mode

Verdict

The Olympus FE-300 faces stiff competition from so many other pocket sized digital cameras. Picture quality is good, but I am concerned at the higher than expected price. I feel there is better value for money available elsewhere. If 12 megapixels is a must then this camera is worth adding to your shortlist.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu playback

camera menu white balance

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Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

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Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

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Related Pages

Olympus FE-300 Review Olympus FE-300 Specification Olympus FE-300 Sample Images Olympus FE-300 Features Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

December 2007

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