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Compact is certainly the correct description of this camera. Weighing in at roughly half the size, weight and price of the Canon Ixus, this tiny little beastie will fit into your pocket regardless of how tight you wear your jeans, or your wallet. All of this compactness has not reduced any of the functionality expected from a compact digital. Picture quality everything you could ask for short of taking the option (and price) a digital SLR.
One of the nicest touches included in this camera is a built in situation selector. Simply choose the setting (Candlelight, Sport Fireworks etc.) and start shooting. The camera not only figures out all the ISO and lighting settings for you but actually does a good job of it too. Or if your not a complete photographic incompetent like me, naturally you can set everthing manually. I'm also a big fan of the built in manual, never again will you find youself on holidays wishing you had packed the manual so you could use "so and so" function of the camera.
The only problem I could have with this camera lies within its picture preview. When previewing photos on the built in screen, zooming makes the picture appear a little blurry. Downloading them and viewing them on a decent sized monitor results in a crystal clear picture.
All in all, I'm highly impressed with the price, picture quality and usabilty of the Olympus FE-250. It'll definately continue taking my happy snaps for the years to come.
The FE-250 features a large 6.4cm LCD screen that does make it easy for you to frame your pictures before shooting. The screen is very bright with a contrast level 4x brighter than conventional most LCD's, something that is an advantage in subdued lighting conditions. However, the screen does tend to be rather reflective, especially in bright sunlight and this can be a bit of a hindrance. One handy feature that can be accessed on the LCD screen that might be a bonus for some is a help guide that gives handy tips and advice on achieving various effect and shooting in various conditions such as shooting into backlight and adjusting colouration. One particular gripe I do have with this camera though is that there is no optical viewfinder of any type so you are relying solely on the screen, maybe it's just something one has to get used to as it seems this is the way camera technology is heading.
I always feel that a movie mode on small cameras and phones is more of a gimmick than anything else and because I have a digital video camera for making movies, it is not something that I make much use of or pay much attention to. However, this camera does have movie mode and the recording format of the camera for movies is AVI Motion JPEG and you can also make sound recordings via internal microphones to accompany your video recording, but this can only be made in WAV format which might be a bit of a limitation for some. Movie quality is a reasonable 640 x 480 resolution at 30 fps although you can also record at the smaller capacity of 320 x 240 / 30 fps.
Despite some minor negative points this is still a great camera with lots of functions and useful features. I would recommend it for anyone who simply wants a highly portable camera that takes excellent shots along with a decent movie capture facility. At present the camera can be purchased at Amazon for around £190.
8.0 Megapixel CCD imager
3x optical (35 - 105mm 35mm equiv) zoom, 4x digital zoom
Digital Image Stabilization and Built-in Help Guide
TruePic TURBO Image Processor
2.5" color LCD and 10x playback zoom
16 shooting modes including AVI Motion JPEG movies with sound
Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
Shutter speeds of 4 seconds to 1/2000 second
User selectable ISO range from 64 - 10000 (6400 and 10000 in SQ mode only)
Powered by the included LI-42B Li-ion battery
USB Direct-print with any PictBridge compatible printer
USB connectivity for PC and Mac
Other Box Contents:
LI-42B Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
Olympus Master Software
CB-USB7 USB Cable
CB-AVC5 Video Cable