206 of 212 people found the following review helpful
Very decent camera for the money,
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This review is from: Olympus VR-320 14 MP Digital Camera with 12.5x Optical Zoom and 3" LCD (Black) (Old Model) (Electronics)
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.
Tracked by 9 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 51 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 8, 2011 11:31:13 AM PDT
I noticed higher end cameras require class 10 SD cards. Would video performance be improved with that type card?
In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2011 12:16:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 8, 2011 12:20:13 PM PDT
I believe that there wouldn't be a difference in video performance if you had a class 10 card in the camera. As long as you have a class 4 or 6 you would be fine. I think that you wouldn't notice the difference because I currently have a class 4 card and it is able to handle continuous video write when capturing HD video; up to 2min 51sec. If you had a class 2 card I believe the camera will only be able to handle bursts of HD video before the internal buffer gets full due to the card not being able to handle the write speeds needed for continuous HD video. I can't test it out because I don't have a class 2 card. Also, the camera can't go over a single file size of 2gb per video file. Thus this is where the 2min 51sec comes from. Hope that this helps.
In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2011 10:14:13 AM PDT
George Lee says:
I am looking for a fast point-n-shoot camera to capture images of my toddler daughter. Does this camera perform well indoors and low light condition? Does this camera have fast start-up and short shutter lag?
Thank you very much
In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2011 2:34:56 PM PDT
It will perform moderately well. As long as you have the flash on and the subject is within at least 8-10 feet of this camera it will do decent. If you are looking to capture action indoors. Well, probably don't choose this camera. I don't know what good point-n-shoot camera can do that though. It does have a fast start-up time, about 1 second. Shutter lag from picture to picture is about 1 3/4 of a second. Hope this is what you need.
Posted on May 29, 2011 10:54:42 AM PDT
Can this camera shoot a panorama?
In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2011 4:49:31 AM PDT
Yes, it can shoot a panorama. It's not like some of those camera's where you hold down the shutter button and pan the camera. This one, you have to shoot one shoot, then the next, and so on. You then stitch them together with the Olympus software which is included. ( It does work pretty well when used ) But, yes; it does have a panorama mode within the camera itself, you just need to use the included software to finish the panorama shot.
Posted on Jun 21, 2011 9:22:49 AM PDT
Thanks for your thoughtful review. My biggest concern is its continuous/burst mode. How many photos can it take in continuous mode, and at what speed (frames per second), and what resolution? My Canon Powershot SX210 is painfully slow, at only .7 frames per second, .5 frames per second with auto-focus - that's only 1 shot every 2 seconds! I've missed countless action photos because it's so slow. Is the Olympus better?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 5:32:38 AM PDT
Your welcome. Glad that I am able to help. There is actually three different continuous shooting modes. Just the regualr continuous mode, Olympus never released the specs for it but after some testing I would put it around 1 frame per second with the focus being set in the first shot. This is in a scene with plent of light and ISO and whitebalance at Auto. It could actually do a little better in an outdoor setting with plenty of sunshine. Then there is the 1st burst mode. Once again Olympus didn't release the actual specs but after testing I would put this around 6+ fps. But, the megapixel count is automatically lowered to 3 along with ISO being set to Auto. Then there is the 2nd burst mode. I didn't try this one out, but it is supposed to be fast than the 1st burst mode. But, the megapixel count I believe is lowered lower than 3.... But, for a 4x6 picture 3 megapixels is a good setting so the 1st burst mode should work good for your action photos. This is as long as the focal point remains the same throughout the shots. So, in conclusion this camera is much better than your Canon powershot for action photos!
Posted on Jun 22, 2011 8:28:43 AM PDT
Carol M. Cramp says:
How does the battery hold up? how long can you go?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2011 3:54:39 PM PDT
It surprisingly holds up pretty good. The reason that I say that is because it is very thin and just not much to it. I would say that I could probably get about 250 shots without the flash. This is from a full charge without really viewing the pictures that you have taken. Just popping the battery in and shooting. If you use the flash it would probably be 100 or so. Even with taking over 12 min of HD movie the battery is still a little over half full. But, you could buy extra batteries from Amazon or eBay for under $10.00. I have read other reviews that have stated poor battery life, but I have not experienced that with my camera. :)