The Olympus FE-310 is the entry level model for the Olympus digital cameras range. One factor that helps the FE-310 to stand out from the competition is the fact it has a longer than standard 5x optical zoom lens. This is an 8 megapixel camera and also has face detection technology for portrait shots. One of its strength is that it is a simple, easy to use model.
93.0 x 61.7 x 30.5 m
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
The Olympus FE-310 digital camera gets off to a good enough start. The extra zoom already comes in handy as for this shot I really am using more or less exactly half the zoom. This tends to be the area where lenses operate at their best. Focusing is good although it does slide towards the edges and into the corners.
Colours work quite well, but there is some purple fringing evident. This is where a thin purple line is added to the edges of light coloured objects. Sun glare is coped with reasonably well, but more detail is lost than I would like to see from a digital camera.
This is a good effort. Digital cameras can find sharp focus difficult when the zoom is not being used at all. The FE-310 produces a shot with roughly average focusing. Not bad when you think I am comparing this to some more expensive digital cameras. The colours come across well here too.
A familiar pattern is starting to appear. The centre of the shot scores well when it comes to sharpness, but as you move out towards the edges focusing levels fall away dramatically. This may not be a big issue for 6 x 4" prints, but this problem will become more noticeable as you make larger prints.
This is a relatively new test, but the result is quite revealing. Looking at the centre of the photo the focusing is sharp and it is easy to make out each individual brick with a larger print. As you move away from the centre focusing really drops off once more. Purple fringing also appears again.
The outdoor portrait is the best of my three portrait tests. I like the sharpness and the colours work well too, especially when you consider the photo was taken in the shade and you cannot adjust white balance to pep up the colours with this Olympus digital camera.
Moving inside where the light is not quite so good the FE-310 struggled with focusing. This is a shame as with the flash on the camera makes a fair effort of lighting the photo. There is also no red eye showing in my test shot. This doesn't mean the digital camera will never produce red eye, but it does suggest that not all pictures taken with the flash will encounter the problem.
Again the camera has a problem with focusing in less than perfect light. The two indoor portrait tests are a little disappointing as the lighting was better than you are likely to encounter in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Macro, Colours and Noise
When you take into account the cost of the camera, the macro shot is impressive. My test shot is certainly very bright and sharpness levels are pleasing as well.
The colours produced by this and other Olympus digital cameras are not quite as strong as those produced by some other brands. You may think the photos could do with a colour boost or you may prefer the more natural look. This is a matter of personal taste.
At this level the loss of quality is not too bad. You will start to notice noise creeping in and the colours becoming blotchy in places. The FE-310 does not have ISO ratings available that match other digital cameras. Pushing it that bit further brings a similar result to the ISO 400 setting, but the problems of noise and colour distortion become more noticeable.
For an entry level digital camera the FE-310 does a number of things well. It does have a problem with loss of focusing quality as you move away towards the edges of a photo. You could also find a problem in lower light situations.
The Olympus FE-310 digital camera is on the large side for slipping into a pocket. It has a small raised area on the front to help you hold it steady when taking a shot. It is available in black and silver.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
There are not a great number of features you need to get to grips with. Insert batteries and a memory card and away you go.
Points I Like
Extra zoom on an entry level model - simple and easy to use
Where it Could Improve
Slow shutter response is a problem - lower light focusing - focusing towards the edge of a photo
If you are after an entry level digital camera with a bit of extra zoom then the Olympus FE-310 is a possibility. It takes bright photos, but there is a tendency to lose focusing in lower light and also at the edges of shots. Shutter lag is also an issue to keep in mind. The extra zoom is a big plus point.
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