Product Type: Olympus digital cameras
Newest Review: ... features. It takes pictures up to 14 mega pixels, this can be adjusted if you want to get more pictures on your memory card, 5 x optic... more
You won't capture those important moments on this
Member Name: yackers1
Advantages: The 5x zoom is quite good
Disadvantages: Manual is on disc, not user friendly, poor pictures, cheaply made etc. etc
Since my first and second choices were out, I only had the option of three other models and the one I decided upon (without doing any research whatsoever) was the Olympus X-42. I had previously owned an Olympus and I was more than happy with it. I knew the Olympus brand and knew the quality was good (or so I thought) so thought I was on to a winner.
The Olympus X-42 digital camera is your typical point and shoot camera designed for the casual photographer. With the box stating "12 mega pixels, 5x optical zoom, 2.7" LCD monitor, intelligent auto, digital image stabilisation, AF tracking, face detection and perfect shot preview" the specifications are very impressive, especially when you consider the price, all adding up to what I thought would be great value for money.
In the box is the X-42 itself, an XD - micro SD card adaptor, all necessary cables to link it up to a computer, a disc containing Olympus Master Software, a quick start guide and a further disc containing the user manual. The only thing it didn't contain was some batteries, which surprised me somewhat.
Most digital cameras have its own sealed battery unit, but the X-42 doesn't since it uses AAA batteries. Many may see this as an advantage but I actually see the power supply beneficial. Having to replace batteries means I don't have another charger laying around the house and if the batteries run out whilst away from home replacements are readily available, and at a low cost, meaning I will never miss any shots. How many times have you had your internal battery die on you whilst you are on a day out or when you don't have your charger? I know it's happened to me in the past and it is very annoying.
The X-42 is black in colour and whilst it doesn't look old fashioned it doesn't look bang up to date either. It is a real middle of the road camera that won't attract any attention, which is good if you are concerned your camera may get pinched. It is not that desirable in the flesh. The camera feels quite cheap and nasty and is clearly made out of inferior materials. This is not that surprising given the features and the low cost. Olympus had to cut corners somewhere and it appears as though it is all in the camera outer casing. The buttons follow the overall theme and also look cheap and nasty. When you press the buttons there is no convincing "click" like you get with other cameras, which also suggests poor quality. The buttons are quite small and not suitable for anyone with large or fat fingers.
Like most digital cameras nowadays there are a variety of shooting modes including SCN, DIS mode, P and iAuto. There is also the ability to change the settings depending upon the weather where you can choose between sunny, cloudy and fluorescent conditions. In addition to this you can choose between portrait, landscape, night scene, night portrait, sport and indoor modes. There is also a movie-shooting mode but the quality of this is so poor I would never recommend using it. With all these functions you'd be forgiven for thinking that you are going to get a perfect shot almost every time, and if all else fails there is the automatic mode as a safety net.
****My experience and opinion****
This has got be one of the most disappointing purchases I have ever made. I know I didn't pay that much for it, and looking at the specs I should have been a bit more sceptical especially since the box claims the X-42 has 12 mega pixels, a face detection rating of 9, a 5x optical zoom and a large 2.7 inch screen and all this for under £70. There are no other cameras boasting so much in this price range.
Prior to going away I didn't have time to learn to use the X-42, but given I had two weeks to play with it I thought it would be easy enough to do within a couple of days, after all it is a standard point and shoot camera and my other half's Kodak took a few hours to learn how to take some pretty decent pictures with it. When I bough the X-42 I was hoping that it was going to have a decent user manual which I could read on the plane so I would have a bit of a heads up when I got to our destination. How wrong I was, like everything nowadays the written instructions were no more than a quick start guide with no more than 10 pages of information, most of which was useless. Don't be fooled by the thickness of the guide as it contains every language you can think of, not much use unless you fancy a foreign language challenge.
Learning to use this camera was a nightmare and I have to confess I failed miserably. I did manage to get some very good shots (for me - please note that I am not an amateur photographer but just a normal person who likes a few holiday snaps) but 95% plus were terrible. Many of the scenery pictures were out of focus and blurry, the portrait shots were too bright or too dark or there was little detail or there was red eye (despite an anti red-eye function) etc. etc. and it seemed that no matter what I did I couldn't improve the shots a great deal. For example whilst taking a picture of my other half at a restaurant I tried night mode, night portrait mode, flash on, flash off and everything else available to me. Could I get a decent shot? No. A fellow diner (who claimed to be pretty clued up in photography and who had a nice digital SLR) heard my frustrations and even had a go, but to no avail. The picture quality is terrible, even when you do get a reasonable shot, and I have to admit that my other half's Kodak Easy share, with its massive 6.2 mega pixels, takes better pictures and the quality is not marginally better, it is much better.
One thing I found very annoying about the X-42 is the screen. Whilst it is large it is the worst screen I have ever used in my life. Unless the light was perfect it was impossible to see what you were actually taking a picture of, which was made even harder by the non-existent view-finder, and this happened in both light and dark conditions. Trying to shield the screen was pointless as it did little good.
My first digital camera, purchased over 8 years ago, was an Olympus that used XD picture cards, instead of the more common SD cards, and I never understood why. I thought that Olympus would have changed to a more common storage card format, but oh no. This camera uses the same XD cards of yester year. The X-42 does have an XD - Micro SD card adapter (i.e. an XD card with a slot for a Micro SD card) but it doesn't come with a card. What is the point of this? I just can't understand why Olympus cameras just don't have a Micro SD card slot, like so most modern cameras do. It makes no sense to me.
One positive about the X-42 is the 5x optical zoom. It is actually quite good and it is much better than the 3x optical zoom my other half's camera has.
The X-42 is an awful camera and Olympus should be ashamed of it. It looks and feels cheap and nasty, the screen is awful (and it has no view finder), the picture quality is terrible and it is not user friendly in any way. The technology is there to just 'point and shoot' and the camera will get a half decent picture using its "auto" modes, but the X-42 doesn't behave like this.
I can't recommend this camera and would suggest spending a little more on one with the same specification, or if you budget is no more than £70 but a model with less pixels and features as I think the overall picture quality will still be much better than that of the X-42.
(This has been posted on other review sites under the name of Yackers1)
Summary: Don't buy it.............
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