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I am sure many of you are the same, that when it comes to electricals you are loyal to one brand. This is not with all products but for cameras this is me. My last camera was an Olympus and I had had it for three years before it broke three quarters of the way through my year in Australia. It just stopped doing anything apart from display a very very faint picture. I think it had been dropped for the final time. I needed a new one sharpish so it was not long after when I was back in Sydney that I purchased one. (Typically it broke just before I was leaving Mildura and I wanted to take pictures of the place so had to get a disposable!) I did a little research but didn't have time or the resources to do as much as I would now.
I decided to get an Olympus again because I had liked the other camera despite the fact the XD card is not as practical as the standard SD. I suppose this cut my choice down saving me time. I selected this 12mp camera and purchased it after a little dealing for 179.99 dollars. It is available to be bought in selected colours around the £100 mark on Amazon and around £90 on various digital camera websites. It came in dark grey/chrome, white, pink, blue and orange. Although I wanted the pink one, this and the rest bar the white were pretty useless cosmetic wise as the finish of them was shiny and would display finger prints. My off white, pearlised camera does not do that at all and never gets grubby, I love it. Apparently this has a double-layered crystal shell finish. That does not mean much if you have not seen the camera but makes sense to me. The back of it is black with a 2.7 inch screen.
---About the camera---
The camera is very thin at 22.4mm and even though cameras keep getting smaller this still beats most of them. I have never had a problem with it slipping though as it grips well so there are really no disadvantages to the size just the advantages of it fitting easier in small bags. Although the buttons are smaller than my last camera there are not many of them so there is no worry of accidently deleting that photo.
It was easy to set up, just a case of inserting a memory card (I don't think it came with one, but not a problem if you had a camera before). But you can take a couple pictures without one to test it with the 19mb internal memory. It is a simple point and shoot with all the settings on automatic although you can change things like the exposure manually if you like. One of the others things I have noticed you can change is something to do with the weather conditions as often I have accidently stumbled across little pictures of clouds and sun which you can choose. I presume this is to do with light conditions.
Although it takes an XD card it does come with a SD adaptor card meaning you can use SD cards too though I have never personally used this. Looking on Amazon there is a newer version, the FE 4040 which has an SD not an XD card slot.
It has a 4 x optical zoom with a wide angle lens though I can't say I have noticed this part, but the zoom is bigger than my last one and in the most part is perfectly adequate.
There are a few special settings called the magic filter where you can take pictures in a sketch mode, one that makes it look like an old film print, another that darkens the edges and another which isn't much different to the normal one. I really like the one than darkens the edges, some of the shots would make great prints. It added a gothic look to one I took with a tree and church tower.
In with the 13 modes available are the normal portrait, sunset and pets among many others including cuisine and documents but I hardly use any of these. I have used the sunset one and whilst it takes slightly different shots to using it on normal I don't know which makes for the best photo so tend to take a shot with each! Another which I use is the document one, useful for taking close-up shots of writing.
A problem with my old one was that it was not up to much taking night-time shots. Out and about in a club etc was fine, but try to take one of fireworks for example and you will struggle. Now this is not spectacular, but I believe it is better, though I find sometimes it does not matter whether you use the night mode or not!
The battery is a lithium re-chargeable one and despite not seeming to charge for long does last a long time and even when it is flashing at you that the battery is empty still lasts a good while as I found out whilst in Holland earlier this year.
--- Some problems---
I do have a few complaints. For one I cannot view the photos without switching the whole camera on with the lens coming out. On my other one I could just press the play button and the screen would switch on whereas with this one I have to switch the whole thing on at the top.
Another niggle is the delay in between taking a photo and being able to take another. Now I like the fact that the photo is able to be viewed for longer on the screen but it really is too long and I am forever asking subjects of a photo is just hang on there a second whilst I wait for the camera! I would say this has to be one of the biggest gripes with this camera.
The screen's quality, despite being much bigger, is not as good as the other one in displaying the picture. Often it will look bad on the screen but when viewed on the computer is fine, so this is just something I have adapted to. It has a 230000 dot resolution and apparently this should be ok but it really does not equate to good viewing.
Lastly this is just a problem hopefully with this one. Last year, less than a year after purchase, it started developing lines down the screen, going all fuzzy and multi-coloured when trying to take a picture and freezing on me. When I eventually got round to it I sent it off to be fixed to Olympus and they sent it back not long after all fixed. They seem to have repaired it but this was not enough as it soon broke down again and so off it went again. This time they appeared to have replaced parts rather than repair them and so far *touch wood* I have not had any problems. They never questioned any fault or charged me but then it was obvious there was a problem and I had sent all the documents (receipt and warranty).
It does seem I have had problems with this camera and it has it faults but I am sure you can all find some with yours. Most do not matter too much and do not affect the photo in the end. I really love the design, feel and size of the camera and I believe I paid a good price for it. In researching the specs I came across a couple of digital camera reviews in which they do not rate this camera at all. Some of the things like the screen and lag in taking photos I agree with but other points are not something I have noticed or know anything about so I would suggest that this camera would be fine for normal use. Those with a little photography knowledge looking for a compact digital camera would probably be wise to look elsewhere. The camera also has AV tracking, advanced fact recognition, image stabilization and the ability to take videos. The full specification is rather long so I have not posted it here but you can read it at http://www.olympus.co.uk/consumer/29_digital-camera_fe-4000_-_specs_21929.htm: