Olympus FE-150 Regina SK

When we asked Olympus to send us something from its FE range of entry-level cameras, we didn't expect to receive a metal-clad camera with a lithium-ion battery and a 2.5" screen.

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Don'S Photo Shop Ltd
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Olympus FE-150

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When we asked Olympus to send us something from its FE range of entry-level cameras, we didn't expect to receive a metal-clad camera with a lithium-ion battery and a 2.5" screen. The FE-150's screen is particularly impressive because of its 230,000-pixel resolution - twice that of most budget cameras. This doesn't necessarily lead to better photos but it makes composing and reviewing pictures more pleasant.

Elsewhere, the low price is more evident. The camera is slow to switch on, taking up to five seconds before it's ready to take a picture. The eight-second gap between shots is the slowest we've seen in a long time. This is partly down to a lethargic auto-focus, which takes up to two seconds. Browsing pictures stored on the xD card is painfully slow, too. At least you won't be hindered by the camera's menu system, as there are barely any options available - just resolution, a small collection of scene presets and a panorama stitch mode. Flash modes, macro, self-timer and exposure compensation are available on dedicated controls.

Fortunately, the FE-150's automatic camera settings coped well with tricky lighting conditions, so pictures didn't really suffer from the lack of controls. However, focus-metering options would be useful because the camera often focused on the background in portrait shots. Exposure times of up to half a second in low light meant that blur from camera shake was a problem. There was little image noise, but detail was a little soft compared to other 5-megapixel cameras.

For a basic point-and-shoot camera, the FE-150's image quality is up to scratch for viewing onscreen or making 6x4" prints, and the slim metal body and high-resolution screen are unexpected treats at this price. However, the eight-second delay between shots is unforgivable, regardless of the price.

System Specifications

DIGITAL CAMERA 5 megapixels (2,560x1,920 pixels), 3x optical zoom, 9MB internal memory, xD slot, li-ion battery

Author: Ben Pitt

Computer Shopper Online