Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
It works, but a limited camera for detail work.
on December 29, 2009
So I will start off by saying that cost was of major concern when I was shopping for my camera, and the price, honestly, is pretty good. But I'm here to tell you what you are and aren't getting for that money.
I admit, I was purely going by review ratings (kind of), capabilities, name brand and price when I was shopping. But the price was pretty good for what it is, and the video features of this camera were better than others that were in the price range. The positives are the included USB cable but on the other hand, since it takes AAs, no rechargable batteries were included, instead just two alkalines were packed. You'll have to get your own memory card too, but in this day and age, they're realtively cheap anyways.
The slick black design is really nice and the contrasting chrome lens framing is good balance. It is by far more attractive than my old Nikon 5200. The big screen is also really nice, and the buttons are simple, minimalistic and quite just how I like them.
Construction and Quality-
The camera is solid and balanced and the buttons have a nice feel to them. However, while excused by the low price, I have my doubts about the plastic housing and its durability. Will the glossy black shell lose its luster and color?
Also of concern is the trap door for the batteries and memory card. My old Nikon had a nice sturdy metallic housing, but its ultimate failing was the battery trap door that didn't sit flush after one of the tabs broke. The same design was used for this new Optio, and it worries me a bit more, since the Nikon had a latch holding back the battery while the trap door on this Optio has to do the work of holding back the two AA batteries.
Made in China. This was a negative for me, but discussing my reasons would be off topic. Decide for yourself. If I would have known and was made aware of competing products that weren't made in China, I would have probably gone with something else.
It fits in my pockets just fine, no protruding parts, so it slides in and out of jean pockets just fine. The use of AAs is a great concept, since you don't have to buy model specific batteries, instead just alkalines or AA rechargables. Great for a couple years down the line, if you want to keep the camera and the rechargables are shot. Cheaper and easier to find!
The filing system is quite handy, and instead of just one folder of all the pictures you've ever taken, it creates a new folder for every day and sorts the pictures by date. In playback mode, simply press the zoomout button 3 times, and it will show you a calendar with all the days that you took pictures. You can also disable this feature if you want to.
There is also an easy mode that turns off all the advanced information and just tells you the amount of pictures you still have room for, and the battery life, with larger text. This is useful if you don't want all the complexities or have a hard time seeing all the small text.
The camera would be just fine for someone who wants a camera that will take decent looking pictures, nothing more. The focus, the colors, and the sharpness are all fine most of the time. But if you want manual settings, like to get close ups or have other performance requirements, that is where the camera falls short. I'm not talking about megapixels, so if thats the only thing you understand or want to hear about, skip this section.
Autofocus: The focus works great on subjects that are far away to an armslength away. But if you enjoy getting close to flowers or small, detailed things, you'll find yourself having to tell the camera to refocus a few times before you get a sharp image. My old Nikon was better in that respect, and I got really nice images of coins, flowers, and patterns, something that I'`m having more trouble doing. I find myself having to keep the camera a bit further away from the subject, even with macro. But of course, with twice the resolution, I can crop off the extra background and still have a high definition image.
Autofocus (cont.): In my old Nikon, you had the capability of defining which area of the picture you wanted autofocus to focus on, something lacking here. I miss that feature alot, but its not a complete deal breaker.
White balance: The WB is not user definable or atleast I haven't figured out how to force a WB setting. The auto WB works most of the time, but there have been times where the WB was completely off and it was refusing to make white look white. Unacceptable if you want that control over the consistency of color in camera.
Video: The video works fine, but the audio quality is not quite what I'd like it to be. But then again, I do alot of video work and probably have higher expectations than most and I usually just use this camera for still images and not so much video. But the quality is acceptable and presentable. No real zoom during recording.
Summary and concluding remarks-
This camera looks good, is built well and all at a great price point. The camera lacks a metal casing, but otherwise feels fine, but the battery trapdoor is of some concern. For normal, pedestrian uses, the picture quality is fine, but the camera lacks user-definable settings for more sophisticated and/or demanding users. The video quality is ok and will do just fine for a family video or your vlogs. It takes widely availabe and cheap AA batteries and SD memory cards, so no worries there.
Is this camera full of features and advanced capabilities? No.
Does it take good pictures/videos? Yes.
Are there better cameras? Yes.
Its it worth the price? At the Amazon discounted price w/ free shipping, yes.