Olympus FE-210 review

Price when reviewed

Olympus’ FE-210 punches above its weight for style and build quality. With a 7.1-megapixel CCD, a 3x optical zoom and a 2.5in glossy TFT, its core specifications are no different from cameras costing twice as much.

Olympus FE-210 review

But turn it on and you soon realise the FE-210’s basic nature. It isn’t slow to start up – taking only 3.1 seconds – but take a shot at the highest quality and you’ll have to wait for 7 seconds before you can take a second shot. Switching to playback mode takes more than 4 seconds, and the 3.6-second wait to view the next image is also painful.

Press the menu button and you get five options: quality, panorama, scene, setup and silent mode. There’s no way to alter focus, metering, white balance or ISO settings; exposure compensation is the only “advanced” option, and there’s no continuous mode either.

While enthusiasts will find the FE-210 frustrating, it’s ideal for the novice. It produced fine exposures in full auto mode, with less noise than the Sanyo. There were also fewer noticeable artefacts when viewing shots at 100% in Photoshop. In low light, though, it couldn’t focus, leading to blurring.

However, it’s annoying that the Olympus doesn’t record audio with video clips. Had the FE-210 been faster and with a mic, it may have trumped the Canon in this price range. But as it stands it’s too slow, so we can’t recommend it.

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