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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus FE-110


Olympus FE-110 Review

Review Date: Dec 19, 2005

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Olympus FE-110


Monday, Dec 1, 2005 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • FE-110
  • 16MB xD-Picture Card
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Wrist Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Documentation: Quick Start Guide; Basic Manual (English, French, Spanish)
  • Software CD: Olympus Master 1.3.1; Advanced Manual (English, Français, Deutsch, Español, Português, Russian)

The Olympus FE-110 is an entry-level digital camera for those most particularly interested only in an affordable snapshooter. If you are into photography, and want to learn and grow in it, the Olympus FE-110 does not have the features or image quality you need for that.

But if you are looking for an affordable present for a young child or an easy-to-use point-and-shoot for someone who wants to use it for their blogs, we would recommend that you look into the Olympus FE-110 instead of a "no-name" brand. Besides getting Olympus support, you would also get a quality Olympus lens, a well-built body, easy menu structure and peace of mind.

The Olympus FE-110 is not a low-light camera. When there's enough light, the AF works well enough. But in low-light, though the camera indicates that the AF has locked, it is not accurate.

This is especially true in Super Macro mode, where getting a sharp picture is very difficult to achieve, with the AF hunting a lot and passing the in-focus point to eventually stopping at an out-of-focus point. One reason is because not enough light can reach the subject with the lens that close. For example, I just could not get the Super Macro picture in the Image Quality section to lock focus properly (focus on the left eye and eyelid) until I shone a light onto the subject. An AF-assist Illuminator is sorely missing here.

But, as the picture shows, when it does have enough light and contrast, focus is tack sharp.

The onboard flash is on the weak side and will work well only for portraits.

Concerning the ISO range, I was not able to coax the camera to use ISO 320 even when the light level was so low that an underexposure resulted. The lowest ISO I've been able to obtain is ISO 250, but unfortunately the picture was out of focus.

The lens slides in and out and zooms pretty loudly. It's not fast in startup, shot to shot, and playback times, and shutter lag is slight if you pre-focus but about 1 sec. including AF.

Digital Zoom
Wide-angle 38mm Digital Zoom
Wide-angle 6.2mm
(38mm, 35mm equivalent)
Digital Zoom

At 2.8x optical zoom only, that's not much zoom, So I decided to test out the 4x digital zoom (which I usually don't bother with at all). Combined with optical zoom, the total zoom is 11x. The zoom is seamless, with a slight pause between the optical and digital zoom, so you need to be aware of not accidentally moving into digital zoom. The reason is because the quality of the image quickly degrades when you start using digital zoom [ Optical vs. Digital Zoom ]. Rule of thumb is that, when using digital zoom, you may get away with it when printing at small size or for Web display; just don't expect to be able to enlarge and print large size.

The file numbering resets eveytime after you download and erase all images. This is a nuisance if you do that a number of times in the same day (as I do), requiring either the creation of a new folder or renaming the images.

When you launch Olympus Master 1.3.1, it searches for any updates and offers to update to a new version. I click yes and the update installation fails, so I recommend that you do not update this way. Probably some conflict with my anti-virus or firewall software. Anyway, the Olympus Master is not able to recognize my review FE-110 camera, so I simply use drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer, and then index in Olympus Master.

The Olympus FE-110 does not have a viewfinder and has only a small 1.5 in. LCD monitor. With 130,000 pixels resolution, it is very clear with a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display. However, in low-light, the display will skip. There is no gain-up in low-light.

The rubber Terminal Cover swings wide open, which makes it easy to connect the USB/AV cables.

Olympus Master

The Olympus Master software is very user-friendly and displays all info on one screen, including EXIF info and Histogram. You can do basic image editing: Rotate, Crop, Instant Fix, Red-Eye, Color Balance.

As usual for Olympus, the Olympus FE-110 only has a printed Quick Start Guide and Basic Instruction Manual. The Advanced Manual is on CD in pdf format (therefore searchable).

The camera has about 28MB of internal memory data that will store about 7 SHQ (2560 x 1920 pixels) images or 22 HQ (2560 x 1920 pixels) images; this is not bad in a pinch. The 28MB internal memory will hold about 1 min. 25 sec. of HQ (320x240) movie or 5 min. 40 sec. of SQ (160x120) movie.

A 512MB xD-Picture Card will hold approx. 140 SHQ (2560 x 1920 pixels) images, 415 HQ (2560 x 1920 pixels) or approx. 26 min. 30 sec. of HQ (320x240) movie. We recommend at least 512MB or even 1GB, if you can afford it.

Many readers ask about a first-time camera for a young son or daughter they want to start introducing to photography. Instead of buying a "no-name" brand, check out the Olympus FE-110. It's as affordable, you get an Olympus-branded lens, and even though the image quality is not the best (check out the Olympus FE-110 Photo Gallery and decide for yourself if they are good enough for your needs), they are nonetheless consistent. Compact and light, it is also point-and-shoot simple to use for a snapshooter.

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