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For me, this camera leaves a lot to be desired.
It creates a very noisy image at any ISO, and falls foul to many picture quality checks. For example, it does that fringing thing, where edges of something against light appear purple.
The camera also suffers shutter lag. Many other similar grade cameras do, but it is still a problem, and can ruin an action image that you want. On top of this, i found that it takes a fair amount of time between turning it on and taking the photo.
However, it is not without it's good points. The macro setting(s) are very effective, and allow the user to get very close up to the subject. It is also relatively easy to use. You can change settings quickly, however, there are some buttons that double up for two uses, which can be confusing. The best thing about the camera is overwhelmingly the zoom. A 10x optical zoom is very impressive, and allows the user to get an equivalent focal length of 380mm. On the other hand, the digital zoom is awful, and compromises a lot of the picture quality to get a little bit closer.
Compared to other cameras in the price range, I think that the olympus under performs, in most categories. It creates bad picture quality, theres shutter lag, and there are a lot fewer settings than there could be. I think that this camera would leave even the most amateur photographer unfulfilled.
I bought this camera a few weeks ago. Believe me, it is a fun gadget! But, only, remember this ..... if you are the type who like to tweak gadgets manually to get its best performance!
This camera has lots of manual tweakings, too many in fact, .... that is why I can understand why some users are frustrated with it.
I tried clicking off using various modes, although slow, but the batteries (4 AA batteries) are lasting. Zooming into tiny objects is a bit of the problem, as the outcome may be blurred. However, there is the Noise Reduction and the image stabilizing buttons you can rely on. You don't even have to use the flash if you don't want. Just make sure the setting is correct!
However, it is not so easy to use for a new user who is not used to prosumer cameras. One has to access the functions through the menu. But, you can save a few settings using the 'MY' program on the jog dial. The settings can be changed any time you like, even when you are in the middle of taking pictures.
Of course, there are other many other minor problems, but to be able to produce some good and detailed pictures with this camera, it is not impossible.
Be patient, your investment will pay off gradually.