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Customer Review

312 of 331 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...but not great, either, June 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: GE Power Pro X500-BK 16 MP with 15 x Optical Zoom Digital Camera, Black (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
I had purchased this specifically because I was doing a lot of hiking during an extended trip, and I wanted more than the 4x zoom on my cheap Nikon Coolpix S4000. Since at home my wife has a very nice DSLR with multiple lenses, I didn't want to buy a another DSLR or spend a lot of money on a nicer bridge camera. The previous version of this camera got good reviews, so bought this one just after it had came out.

Out of the box, the camera seems pretty solid, although the compact (but FAT) build is a little weird and takes some getting used to. I initially did a comparison to my $130 12MP Coolpix point-and-shoot, and immediately saw some issues with the photo quality. Like other reviews have stated, indoor pictures are not great, but actually not as bad as some. My Coolpix (like most point and shoot cameras) had some problems as well, but the quality was still noticeably better than the GE. When using the indoor program mode, the shots were acceptable. The outdoor shots were better, but not super great, either. Comparing the same shots with my Coolpix, the Nikon had consistently better pictures.

While for most this wouldn't be too much of a problem, when viewing the photos and zooming in past 100%, there is significant pixel noise on the GE. Again, comparing to my 12MP Coolpix, the same shot at the same zoom had significantly less noise on my Nikon than the GE. Overall, the biggest problem was the inconsistency of the photos. Even using the same settings only a few seconds apart, there were often differences in the exposure, balance, etc. My hundreds of outdoor shots were all over the place in terms of quality. The shots often had a washed-out appearance (which could be fixed in post-processing if necessary).

I took the GE on several hiking trips, and took hundreds of photos, using different program modes and settings, which improved the quality overall, but did not eliminate the inconsistency issue. The zoom was quick and the image stabilization worked very well. The battery life was excellent (although I did not use the flash too much). The focus is moderately quick compared to most point and shoot cameras, although slower than my Nikon. The video mode was poor, but that was expected. I also used the GE in a couple of museums, and using the Museum program mode, it took surprisingly good shots. I also toured an indoor wildlife museum, and using the flash it took some very fine pictures.

Unfortunately, after viewing all of the pictures, I decided to return the camera. I don't necessarily want to talk anyone out of buying this...for most casual users, this camera can take good shots, and the 15x zoom is awesome at this price. For still pictures, outdoor and lit indoor shots, the photo quality is fine (especially using the program modes or manual controls). To get this level of control and zoom, you're going to be paying over $200 for something else, and probably over $300 for anything really significantly better. However, as I often print my photos for framing, the inconsistent quality and extreme noise, even compared to my cheap Nikon, left me wanting a bit more.

PROS-
- 15x zoom works very well
- Many different program modes and manual controls, which work well
- Great battery life and uses easy-to-get AA batteries
- Photo quality can be fairly good under right conditions, and most issues could be fixed with post-processing (i.e. Photoshop, etc.)
- Inexpensive for a good zoom and feature packed camera

CONS-
- Lots of noise when zoomed in (pixel peeking)
- Inconsistent picture quality
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 15, 2011 8:17:52 PM PDT
I've got to ask, where you using so-called digital zoom at some of these times? And what is "pixel peeking?" Thanks!

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 3:28:39 PM PDT
I seem to have a second file with every picture I take. I think it is a sound file but I can't open it. Is there anyway to turn it off?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2011 9:42:28 AM PDT
What is the extension of the file? (An extension is the 3 letters after the "." as in ".jpg"

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 8:16:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2012 8:18:05 AM PST
Seems by your review... you just used it for free..you stated you went on "several" hiking trips... went to a museum, ..etc.... I'd call you a "moocher.". if I was the seller. Reason , it wasn't if you waited to have those pictures..developed by a lab.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2012 6:48:13 AM PST
sat says:
Excellent comment! own the camera and think it's the bees knees!!

Posted on Feb 26, 2012 3:55:43 AM PST
Kudos for a well written review. I'm an old black-and-white film photographer looking for a starter camera for a beginner and this was a tremendous help. Too bad I'm too busy to read hundreds of different reviews to find the right camera for a beginner, and live in a developing country where it's impossible to actually find one to look at. You answered most of my questions. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 7:25:25 AM PDT
Dawn Gagnon says:
This is an excellent camera for a beginner. I write for a living and use my photos from this camera in my articles. If your beginner just sets the camera to auto mode they will have beautiful photos. I also write product reviews for a living so this camera was thoroughly examined.

Posted on May 10, 2012 2:27:42 PM PDT
It could be saving the images in a lossy jpg mode. That was the default on by Digital Rebel when I got it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 5:20:29 PM PDT
Marcus Perry says:
Last I checked, return policies don't have clauses that state you can only use them on one trip before you return it. If he returned it in new condition, within the time allotted for the return, I don't see how that would be mooching if he wasn't happy with the product. That is what return policies are for!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2012 1:16:37 AM PDT
Rilke says:
How long have you had your camera and how much do you use it? I got mine a month ago and was happy with the stills I took. That is what I brought it for. But today, after using it for less than 25 photos and changing the batteries twice and then finally changing to rechargeable, now my zoom lens is broken. It gets stuck in or out. I'm thinking maybe I just got a lemon, but am also debating whether to switch to another brand.
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