I was bought this as a gift after mentioning to a relative that I wanted to start taking more photos. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of those gifts that you wish the person hadn't bothered with.
I had the pink silver version, it apparently comes in multiple colours, and to look at it's small and compact and looks like a nice camera. You get the usual accessories with it - usb cable, CD Rom to install the software onto your PC/laptop, pouch to carry it in.
The real problems started when I actually wanted to use it - it's 5 megapixels (in laymans terms that's not a bad camera, I've had some mobile phones with a 5MP camera that took quite good photos) but for some reason this feels more like a 2MP camera! The picture quality was terrible and the display to look at the photos on is far too small. In terms of functions - I couldn't tell you much about what else you can do with it for one simple reason: the picture quality is so bad that it doesn't matter what else it can do I'm afraid!
When you compare it to some of the mobile phones that are on the market with 12MP cameras or even 8MP, it really isn't worth buying a separate camera. If you don't have a mobile phone with a camera or just want a standalone camera - spend a bit more money or shop around because this really isn't worth paying for!
It was back in December 2006 when I came across this camera. It was sold at Superdrug for £40, and considering that it was a 5 megapixel camera, that was an amazing bargain at the time. Unfortunately, that was before my reviewing times, and I was not used to be using the internet to read reviews before buying a product. It was after I bought it that I read a lot of bad reviews about it. Still, I decided to stick to it and try it for myself - a bad decision that I now regret!
The camera apparently comes in different colours, but mine is silver. The box looked well-made and professional, with the camera in a small black pouch, a usb cable, a CD Rom with drivers and an instruction manual. As I said, the camera's features were very promising:
* 5.0 mega Pixels - very high at the time
* 8 X Digital Zoom - I had noticed that it did not have any optical zoom, which is considered superior, but I thought that an 8x digital one would be good for everyday use
* 1.5 TFT Display
* Video recording function
* External MMC/SD Card slots - but no card was provided with the camera
* Web cam function
The camera itself is small and compact, about 2" x 5" which would be a plus if it were not that flimsy. It's made of plastic and it feels too light and cheap.
* Taking photos:
I am not impressed at all with this. I cannot believe it is supposed to be 5.0 mega Pixels as my 2.0 mega pixels phones used to take better pictures. The resulting photos were not clear and either too dark or too over exposed. I just wanted a camera for everyday use, and it failed. The settings are automatic and apart from switching the flash on or off you don't get many further options. If you use it outdoors under natural daylight the result is better, but indoors, either the result is too dark and "yellow-y" without flash, or too "white" for being over exposed with the flash on. I would say, it is only suitable for daylight outdoor use for taking general scenery photos. It's rubbish at zooming or at photographing objects. Of course, it does not have a macro function, so don't even try to get a close up photo of some detail.
The TFT display is OK and it is easy to use the usb cable and transfer the photos on to your computer. No card is provided with the camera, but the camera has some internal memory, so you can take about 10-15 photos without needing one, which is convenient. It also has a setting for taking low resolution, middle resolution or higher resolution photographs, which affects the memory size of each photo. However, because the photo quality is so bad, I usually opt for maximum resolution.
* Video function:
I've used this once in broad daylight and I must say that the result was surprisingly good and clear.
* Web cam:
I use it as a webcam sometimes. It is OK as a basic webcam but one problem is that it is very difficult to make it stand on or near your screen. Especially with the new flat screens it is impossible. In addition, modern webcams, even the basic ones for £20 or so, have built in microphones, whereas you need a separate microphone for this one.
The biggest disappointment I had while using it as a webcam is that it works with Windows XP but when I tried it on my brother's pc that runs Vista, I could not make it work. The computer recognised the camera as an external USB device and I could transfer my photos or videos, but it did not recognise the webcam function at all. Even after uploading the drivers to the computer from the CD, still the Windows Vista could not recognise the webcam function. I searched online trying to find some new camera drivers, thinking there would be an update. I couldn't find any, so I decided to contact the company hoping that they would point me to updated drivers for this camera. It was end of 2009 and after some internet search I realised that Vivitar belonged by then to Sakar International (http://www.sakar.com/). The reply was utterly disappointing. They were "sorry" to inform me that the camera was "an old model" and not listed among the products that they manufactured after purchasing the brand name of Vivitar. So, they decided not to offer any tech or software support at all. They claimed that they did not even have any of the old cameras, its accessories in stock, or its information at all.
I think that this is a very irresponsible approach towards the Vivitar customers and consumers in general.
Lately, I am having problems making it work as a webcam even with my Windows XP. For some reason I cannot make it work with Skype any more.
* Battery life:
Despite its limited functions, it is a real power sucker. It takes 3 AAA Batteries which it consumes pretty quickly.
As a result, I cannot recommend it at all and I am thinking to simply give it to a charity for recycling parts.
As I am sure most of the Dooyoo members will now know, I am a professional photographer but as well as taking pictures I also hold photography seminars at my local camera club and over the last few years I have become somewhat of a target for sales persons asking me to try out their latest digital cameras and give talks and written reviews on them.
I figured a couple of years back if I was going to be testing out all these cameras and doing reviews anyway then I may as well be posting them on Ciao and Dooyoo and making some money for charity which a lot of dooyoo members know is what I do now.
Most of the cameras I am asked to test tend to be either high end compacts or DSLR`s but occasionally a budget camera is thrust into my hands and I set about making it look like exactly what it is, a budget camera, trouble is these days even the budgets have something that impresses so I rarely get a chance to really slate a camera, so I thank Vivitar for this opportunity.
The Vivitar Vivicam 5190 is the camera that found its way into my hands around ten days ago and I gave it two days of testing even though I knew after less than half an hour that it was simply not a good camera.
The first point of note for me was the slow start up and the inability to focus quickly, pair these two problems and I found that if you saw something you wanted to photograph it would take roughly 3 to 4 seconds before you could have the unit started and focused on the job.
Compare that to even a standard Sony or Canon compact, costing only a few pounds more and you will see what I mean. The most basic of Sony unit will start and focus on a subject in under 1 second and the basic Canon will do the same job in just over one second so the three or four second wait is poor.
The clarity of the image through the LCD screen on the rear was my next worry, the image looked very rough and pixelated and I wondered if this was going to be the outcome you got on your printed image and the answer to my question was yes.
Unless you are shooting in perfect daylight then the images taken with this little camera will be of little use to you at all, even with the built in anti-shake switched on I really struggled to get a clear image in indoor light or using the flash.
The shutter speed is very slow and this allows for the slightest movement to be picked up and the image to be blurred, my mobile phone takes much better images than this camera does and that is the honest truth, and the problems do not end there.
The unit is powered by three AAA batteries and although the unit I had was fitted by me with three brand new Duracell M3`s, I still managed to flatten them inside taking 100 pictures which is not good.
Many an amateur will put the poor image quality down to the camera having only 5 megapixels but this is not the issue, some DSLR`s have only 6 megapixels but they take beautiful images. The trouble with this unit is the slow shutter speed combined with the small lens, means that the camera is always struggling to get the amount of light it needs and therefore simply cannot produce clear images.
Now of course this little camera does have a fair few settings and functions that I would normally go into detail about but I can see no point talking about the functions and features of a camera that cannot take pictures. I will however say that the menu is complicated and the settings are very basic and even if the images produced were better the settings would need little said about them.
The build quality of a unit can often save it from complete ruination but this little camera doesn't even have that in its favour. The build quality is poor and the camera feels flimsy and very worryingly fragile in your hand, I have also heard of the rear screens cracking without explanation which to me would simply suggest that they are too thin for the job.
Using, or should I say trying to use this camera was a very frustrating experience and as a professional I can usually get very good images even with the poorest of equipment but I was left without hope whilst using this, as I say if I were outside in bright light then some of the images were actually nice but as soon as you step indoors or need to use flash outdoors then the images blur and they blur badly.
Now you may be thinking this is a very, very cheap camera but actually it can cost as much as £50 in some places and at that price it is terrible value for money, with some very decent Kodaks available at the same cost, I really could not find anything good to say about this little camera sadly and I therefore of course would not recommend it to anyone even at the less expensive cost of £39 pounds which I have recently seen it priced at.
LOOKS - 4/10
BUILD QUALITY - 2/10
EASE OF USE - 3/10
IMAGE QUALITY - 1/10
FUNCTIONS AND FATURES - 3/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 1/10
OVERALL - 2/10
Thanks for reading.
I'll start by saying this: if this camera was a person I'd probably have to murder it. I did not have the problem with the flash like some other reviewers have, but the camera takes about five seconds before it even realises you have pressed the shutter button and then another five to take the picture to save it. By this time the batteries have almost run out and if you want to go for a day out to take pictures, like the zoo; you will have to take about four or five sets of batteries with you which doesn't work out cheaply as it takes three AAA batteries. Also, although it wasn't expensive, it is a 5 megapixel camera which was not worth its money, any detail you wanted specifically to see is not clearly enough defined for you to make it out. I may as well have gone to Mcdonalds and bought a happy meal toy for £60 less, it would probably have been able to take better photos!
In addition, I found that the viewing screen on the back is very thin as within weeks of me buying the first one the screen mysteriously cracked and I was unable to see anything on it as it turned black and white where the bracks were when i turned it on. I thought this was a little unfortunate and took it back to the shop to get another one, only to find it did the same thing about 3 months later.
However after all this, it was very easy to use, had a reasonable amount of settings and could take different types of pictures- even if you can't see anything in them- and a range of frequencies etc and allow you to view and delete pictures easily [even if the batteries are almost flat after you have deleted one picture]
To avoid any accusations of plagiarism, I would like to say I wrote the same review on ciao.co.uk under the username giggsy91.
I bought this camera when I had just started University and we were told we needed a camera for a trip we were going on and the photos we took would be the base of our first design project!
Wanting to impress my tutors with my first project I decided my photographs needed to be good so I wouldn't borrow my mum and dads old camera, I'd buy my own digital one.
I started looking around the shops in town, not having time to buy online as the trip was 3 days away. I checked out Jessops, Boots, Klick; all the usual camera places and was planning on buying this one from Jessops for £45, not bad for a 5 mega pixel camera, when I decided I needed refreshments and went into Superdrug and there by the till was the very same camera for a mere £24.99!! So of course I bought it there and then.
The camera was packaged in a box with a picture of a beautiful pink and purple sunset and the picture of the camera from the front and back. It looked an attractive little camera and the box told me everything I needed to know, the make: Vivitar definitely reliable for cameras, that it was 5 mega pixels with a 1.5" TFT display and compatible with my computer!
On the side of the box it lists the accessories included: the usual carry pouch, USB cable, hand strap and 3 AAA batteries.
This camera is silver and measures about 2 inches by 4.5 inches and about ¾ of an inch deep so nice and dinky for a little person like me!
Its neat and compact, which is just what I wanted and needed from my camera, the back of the camera houses the TFT display screen which is only 1.5 inches but big enough for quickly checking out your pictures.
There are also the buttons on the back:
Up and down arrows for zooming in and out,
Left and right for scrolling through your photos when you're viewing them
The centre button in the middle of these 4 arrows switched between viewing and taking modes.
Below these 5 buttons there are 3 more; the button for changing the flash from off to automatic or just on, the button which controls how you view your photos; as little thumbnails or full screen size and the button for formatting or deleting the photos one by one.
The Vivitar 5190 also has an 8 x digital zoom and so can get up close to your subject and still take a great, clear photograph.
The camera takes 3 AA batteries and these are included when you buy it but the camera just sucks the power out of them almost instantly, if you're lucky you'll get about 5 photos before it switched off! No good at all so I now use Rechargeable Hi-Power Energizer batteries and these last much longer, when on holiday I just needed to recharge once in a week of using it a lot, I had 250 photos on it at one point, so definitely recommend rechargeable as high a power as you can afford.
I have used this camera countless times since I bought it and it takes photos equally well in daylight and at night with the flash on.
For a camera that cost so little, the photos are of a brilliant quality and clarity even when I blow them up on my computer, I've printed A3 size and still no blurring or pixilation.
Perfect when I was at University and had to fill sketchbooks with preliminary research and wanted big photos and sections of photos blown up for designs.
**Girls: The camera is really slim and light, I took it out with me Saturday night and managed to fit it in a tiny bag so great for those drunken moments you just have to capture on camera to embarrass those in question!!
Do I Recommend?
Definitely!! For someone like me who just wants a camera to take pictures of fun times on holiday and to help at university/college on fieldtrips!
The one problem I found is it does take a while to take a photo after you've pressed the button, annoying if you're trying to catch something happening that split second, no good for firework photos for example!
Check out www.vivitar.com for any more info you may need, the website is currently being updated so leave it a few days!