207 of 213 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I currently own an Olympus DSLR (E-410), along with a Olympus SP-550UZ super-zoom camera. I decided to buy this camera because I wanted a pocket camera with a nice zoom lens that can take decent quality photos and I received an email from Olympus saying I could get $50 off at select retailers. Disclaimer: I have only had this camera for a couple days thus this review is only based off of a small amount of time of hands on time with this camera.
First -- Image quality. If I compare this to my DSLR; the DSLR will beat this camera and my SP-550UZ hands down. There really is no comparison. But if I compare the image quality to other camera within the VR-320's class my opinion would be that this camera easily succeeds the other cameras in terms of image quality. The color is outstanding; oranges are ORANGE, blacks are BLACK, blues are BLUE, reds are RED, etc... Detail in the photos is also great. I don't really know how to describe detail but I will try. Ex) Took a photo of a person holding a Cheeto. The person's face, clothes, Cheeto bag, and Cheeto were all extremely crisp and well defined. The photos I took that achieved this image quality was on a moderately cloudy day with plenty of light. ISO was set at 80 and white balance was on Auto resulting in the camera using an exposure time of 1/1600th of a second and an F-stop of f/3. Jacked the ISO up and took some pictures at ISO of 400, 800. Well, I'll just say that you should never use an ISO of 800 or more on this camera unless you have a program to remove all of the noise. Even at an ISO of 400 there will be plenty of noise to be concerned about. Also, even if you have a program to remove the noise you will lose most if not all of the sharpness/crispness of the photo. (Neat Image works pretty well to remove the noise)
Second -- Ease of use. Well, this is purely opinion so I won't elaborate. Since I own two other Olympus cameras I found the menus to be well thought out and easy to navigate. Much better than my 4 year old SP-550UZ and my 4 year old E-410. I really like how when given the option to change the Exposure Compensation and the White Balance it has a real time view of the current setting along with a real time view of the other settings right next to the current setting. That's just pretty sweet! Body is very nice and small. Great pocket camera.
Third -- Video quality. Wow, just wow. In a bad way. 720p HD video at 30fps. Sounds pretty cool. But no, it really isn't on this camera. As a previous reviewer mentioned; yes, the colors were there. The quality was atrocious though. I'm on a college track and field team and we videotape each other usually using my SP-550UZ. Decided to try this camera due to the 'HD'. Just downloaded the videos, so much "noise" within the video itself. Not sound noise but just artifacts within the video. My blues are blue and so on but the quality of the "video picture" makes the video basically unusable. This was on a bright sunny day. Looks like it was a lower resolution video just unconverted by the camera itself to 720p. Not good. But, I bought this camera to take pictures, not video so I will only knock a single star off for this inconvenience.
Fourth -- Performance. Right around 1 second from power button to ready to take a picture. Nice. Focus was much better than I expected; thus it was very fast for a point and shoot camera. Once you start zooming in focus will start to take a little longer but this is understandable. Zooming is pretty fast. Really like how you can change the Auto Focus Mode to AF Tracking. Position it on the subject, press OK, and the camera will do it's best to continually keep the object in focus. Pretty neat. Position of the flash = horrible. That is right where your finger goes so be careful. Outside in bright sunlight the screen works remarkably well. Still pretty crisp and vibrant and not too washed out. Very easy to use outside and achieve great photos, inside will be difficult due to keeping the ISO down. This is where you would use the flash, which seems to work pretty good resulting in decent pictures. Image stabilization works, not much to elaborate on here. Works pretty good taking action shots, wouldn't buy it just to take action shots but it works.
And lastly just my 2 cents. Even knowing these faults I believe that I would buy this camera again, there would be a slight hesitation but I would buy it. I was looking forward to the HD video but all's that I wanted was a point and shoot pocket camera with a nice zoom lens. Which the VR-320 fulfills very nicely. I am a very experienced photographer and always shoot in full manual. Going from being able to adjust everything to only being able to adjust the ISO, White Balance, and Exposure is not fun but this is a point and shoot camera - period. Truthfully, it's kind of fun just taking this out and taking a picture that you know will be good! Hopefully this will help you make a decision as to whether or not you will purchase this camera. We all have different needs and wants and this camera fit what I needed and mostly of what I wanted.
If you have any questions just comment on this review and I will try my best to answer the question completely.
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
Color Name: Black
I currently have a 5 year old Canon Digital Elph and have been looking for a compact megazoom. My knowledge of camera features and operation is very basic. I don't know how to use manual controls and am not interested in learning. My needs are simple - compact, easy to use, at least 12x optical zoom and no frills with decent picture quality that I can point and shoot. Set up was a breeze and I didn't need the manual. I've been playing around with it out in the yard and indoors. The pics look very good to my amateurish eyes. Price is also right. I wasn't able to find a comparable camera with similar features in this price range. All in all, I'm quite pleased.
I finally had a chance to use the video mode. Using 720P, the colors were very sharp and true in color. Using video is very simple. There is a red button on the back of the camera and just pressing it will activate video and pressing a second time will end the video. If you need to use zoom, it must be enabled prior to depressing the video button. Once video is activated, zoom is disabled. Although, not in stereo, sound is very good - and not "tinny". It picked up the chirping birds, my footsteps in the grass, a neighbors dog barking, etc. I can't comment on action videos as I've not had a chance to use it for that purpose.
For the price, this camera is a real deal.
9 May edit/clarification: Optical zoom can be enabled during video recording without sound, i.e., microphone must be turned off.
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
Color Name: Black
This camera is very basic, and does not cost a great deal. The selling point is the 24mm equivalent lens. For those of us that have been shooting pictures for 4 or 5 decades, the wide angle lens is one of the most forgotten items in new cameras, and maybe it is because, as one reviewer said, it is basic and I'm not interested in learning anything beyond that (I paraphrase). A 24mm equivalent which is about 86 degree angle of view will give the user one more option for creativity. At the price, I would buy this camera if it only had that lens and nothing else. As far as the review stating that the higher ISO rating (800, I think) is bad, it usually is for most digital cameras, and when that rating was applied to film, it didn't produce great results either. I'm rating this camera at 5 stars because I believe the rating should be tempered to the product. One cannot expect miracles at that price. When this camera is used as a camera, and used with a low ISO rating, which I do most all the time, it produces excellent results. Olympus does not put out, as one reviewer stated, pardon my language, CRAP. They also stand behind their products, and always have.
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2011
Color Name: Silver
I just bought one of the Olympus VR-320 silver cameras to try it out at my niece's Upward Football game today, and I am more than pleased with the results. It is very easy to use (which is great for a point and shoot camera - I don't really want to have to take a lot of time fooling with one when I just want to take a quick shot) and the menu is laid out nicely. The time it takes to turn on and to be able to use is very fast, too, as well as when I want to take a shot of anybody in motion - the camera is very responsive and takes shots quickly (another reason I wanted a camera to keep up with my niece running and moving!).
The pictures come out sharp and with great color, and the 720p video is a bonus with nice sound. I can highly recommend this camera, and I'm glad I bought it!
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
Color Name: BlueVerified Purchase
I was drawn to this Camera initially by the File Size it was capable of. Also, the extreme zoom range....WOW! I am not a fan of video. I owned a Handycam once.Yawn. Too complicated. This Bad boy has HI DEF VIDEO in the camera. Push the red button to begin filming...push it again to stop. Creates awesome/tack sharp/true color .AVIs. I'm a convert! Did I mention the zoom range. I'm a retired Architectural Photographer from the 4X5-Medium Format-Generation. So, I'm WIDE ANGLE. This Bad Boy sports what feels like a 20 mm wide angle (on 35mm Camera). Then, reaches out to 400 35mm equivalent SHARP AS A TACK-NO BIFRINGING and this is HANDHELD-imagine if I had used a tripod. It's got whats called dual image stabilization I think . It works. The filters are pretty cool (I like the Fisheye at Car Shows) Like all Point and Shoots, there is no viewfinder so composing in bright light kinda sucks. I just might make myself a viewfinder shade for about One penny (a paper Coffee Cup with the bottom cut out) because this is one sweet/powerful/COMPACT super zoom with HD Video for basically Chump Change. Swoop on it!!!
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2011
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I purchased an Olympus VR-320 several weeks ago. As an owner of several Olympus products, I was drawn to it by brand name, and also the feature set (primarily the 12.5x zoom lens, with an equivalent to 24mm in 35mm camera lens at the widest). The price was very reasonable, and the camera seems well made. This Olympus uses SD memory cards, which is a big plus from the xD cards of not so long ago. Writing and buffering images, and also deleting bloopers is much faster with the SD format. My computer can download the images from an SD card much more quickly than the xD also. Start-up times, lag between zooming, etc. in performance terms to my mind seems no worse than my other models, and to some of them the -320 is faster. Image quality; at first my images appeared somewhat dull using applications already on my system, so I was adjusting contrast primarily. Today (slightly embarrased..)I finally used the software which came with the camera; downloading and viewing the card with this program the previously mentioned images now appear much sharper and vibrant. Little to complain about now. I'm pleased with this camera now, and would recommend that people give it a try. Helpful hints for most folks; leave the camera on the default settings and use the iAuto mode. For most uses, this is fine. I've not tried the Panoramic feature, but the art filters and scene modes as in the Olympus models are interesting (I enjoy the pin hole camera effect most). There is very little manual control with this model, so if you want features such as Manual, Shutter and Aperture Priority settings you will need to shop for an advanced model. For a handy walkabout camera, this is a very good choice. I had no problems adjusting to the menu layout and feature selections (using the thumb toggle and menu buttons).
Slight quibble; you must charge the battery via USB cable to a computer if you do not have the correct charger for the battery (which I fortunately did). Battery life unless you review and playback a lot, or use a lot of flash is okay for an outing though.
I gave this camera a 3 star rating on Dpreview, but am bumping that upwards here thanks to the better performance with the Olympus software.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2011
Color Name: RedVerified Purchase
I bought this VR-320 to replace a Nikon Coopix L24. The L24 gave me some great shots, but I was looking for a travel camera with a longer telephoto lense. Somehow I envisioned this camera as a longer lensed L24. I was wrong.
First, it is a nice compact size. It seems to be well made, and fairly light. It will fit easily in my front pocket.
Start up is quick, and it writes fast to the memory card as well (I use a Class 10 card).
The menu is easy to follow, and the lcd screen does reasonably well in daylight.
I don't use, nor do I plan to use the video function.
As for photo quality, the best thing I can say is its disappointing. I have had this camera for over 60 days, and have worked to find a way to correct some of the photo issues, without success. I should have returned it in the first 30 days, but I kept thinking it was some issue I was missing in the operation of the camera. Often the images are blurry. You can take two or three shots that all blur, then you'll get a couple that are fine.
As for flash, it is very inconsistent. I have taken three photos all of the same fixed subject, and had three different exposures. All were bad, with the flash highlighting different areas each time, but never an even exposure.(This was from about 6').
Low light photos are not very good, and one would normally use the flash to improve the exposure, except the flash doesn't help.
The best shots I have gotten have been outside with plenty of sunlight at iso 100.
I have taken this camera to several events where I didn't get one acceptable shot. This last week I have taken test shots in various scene modes, iAuto, and manual mode. I haven't been pleased with any.
The best shots I have gotten have been with plenty of sunlight at iso 100.
Maybe I got a bad camera, but I cannot figure what area would be bad, the sensor, the vr, just don't know. This I do know though,
I am tired of taking this camera with me and having nothing to show for it. With the holidays upon us, I plan to purchase a new point and shoot tomorrow, and later sell this camera for whatever I can get on ebay.
My background: Art major which included photography, including several prize winning photos. I currently use both slrs and dslrs, but like having a point and shoot with me for those unexpected photos (and while traveling).
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I purchased this camera after looking at it in a store. I had recently dropped my Canon Powershot ELPH 300 and totaled it due to the lens being extended, so I needed another camera. I initially saw it for the same price as the Canon but after looking around found it here much less expensive. I considered it and decided to go with the Olympus VR-320 due to the high zoom features and image stabilization. After experimenting with the settings which are very varied for a point and shoot, I found my colors sharp and clear. You choose the correct setting with the help of image review and can shoot all your scenes perfectly. To be honest you have to change the settings for each type of environment. Whether it's the ISO, type of light or exposure compensation your pictures will come out right. The camera is able to shoot very clearly even at high zoom. Something I have not seen with other point and shoots. The Canon had one feature that I particularly liked and that is you could zoom in and out while you shoot video. But the Olympus has greater range, settings and impressive zoom. This camera has a solid feel to it as it is constructed of a all metal body, very professional looking and a lens equal to some SLR cameras. The battery life is great and you can shoot all day on one charge. As with most cameras in this range you can shoot on auto and let the camera select each variable or once you get used to it select your own for your particular tastes. At this price you are getting a professional point and shoot rivaling more expensive cameras. Great camera.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2011
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I recently bought this camera and it takes great pictures. I previously had an olympus fe280 and when i used all the zoom to take a pic, it would come out a bit grainy. This camera though takes wonderful pictures using all the zoom. Videos are good as well as close up pics. This is a great camera for me :)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
Color Name: Black
I bought this for the zoom, and it doesn't disappoint. I recently took it to a concert and was super surprised at how great the pix were. I just used the auto setting so the quality could've been a wee bit better, but Bono looked like I was like in the front row and I was so not! For video, well...meh...sound was awful, but it was a loud concert. Image quality was pretty good though. There's a a lot of manual potential if you know what you're doing with that, I'm more of point and shoot. But for the money, this really is a great little go-to camera for your everyday needs. It's small and easy to use, I will say that in review mode, you have to be a little careful not to push the menu button and delete your photos.