Olympus FE-310 Review

Simple and Easy

Picture
Olympus FE-310 Ease of Use 9
Features 6
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 7
Photo Quality 7
Style 7
Lowlight 6
Macro 7
Value for Money 7
8 Megapixels
5x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
93.0 x 61.7 x 30.5 m
140g

Overview

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.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

8
5x
2.5 inches
93.0 x 61.7 x 30.5 m
140g

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

5cm
No
No
AA
xD

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.

Portraits

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.

Summary

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.

See sample images link arrow

Style

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

Shutter Lag Rating Slow

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

1.65 seconds
19.3 seconds
1.96 seconds
22.32 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy 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

Verdict

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.

Product Shots

Front View

Olympus FE-310 Front View

Back View

Olympus FE-310 Back View

Top View

Olympus FE-310 Top View

Sample Menus

main menu night portait

camera menu shooting guide

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Related Pages

Olympus FE-310 Review Olympus FE-310 Specification Olympus FE-310 Sample Images Olympus FE-310 Features Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

March 2008

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