Olympus FE-210

With poor indoor white balance, soft images, and sluggish performance, it's best to give this camera a pass.


5.4
CNET Rating
6.3
User Rating

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Sometimes you just don't want to agonise over whether you should choose the soup or the salad, the Coke or the Pepsi, the PC or the Mac. Olympus realises just how hard choices can be, which is why it makes the FE series of digital cameras. They're simple, direct, and require almost no choices, besides when to press the shutter button. The 7-megapixel FE-210 is one such camera.

Design
The FE-210's small, chunky plastic body measures 30.5mm thick and weighs about 170 grams with battery and memory card, making it the largest member of the FE camera series. Despite the comparable bulk, the FE-210 still fits easily into most pockets, and is light enough to carry around without effort. The extra heft also gives the camera enough room to hold its two AA batteries. While the camera doesn't come with rechargeable batteries, AA batteries are cheaper and easier to swap and replace than the rechargeable lithium ion batteries the other FE cameras use.

Features
Within the FE-210's cookie-cutter plastic shell is a fairly standard digital camera. Besides its 7-megapixel sensor, it has a typical 38mm to 114mm-equivalent lens, a 2.5-inch LCD with no viewfinder, and a small handful of scene presets. These are all typical digital camera features, with little if anything to set the FE-210 apart from other models.

Like all Olympus FE series cameras, the FE-210 almost completely lacks manual settings. Besides flash and macro shooting, preset scene modes, and exposure compensation, users can't adjust their shots at all. The camera automates nearly all settings, including white balance and ISO sensitivity, giving a very literal sense to the phrase "point and shoot." This isn't necessarily a bad thing; automation can be beneficial as long as the images look good in the end.

Unfortunately for Olympus, the images from the FE-210 don't look very good. Under incandescent lighting, images appeared very warm and yellowed. This wouldn't be a big problem in a camera with selectable white balances, but the FE-210's automation means that nearly all of your indoor shots will look yellow. Fine details appeared soft in our test shots, with text appearing fuzzy and barely readable. We also saw notable lens distortion at both the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom, causing prominent barreling and pincushioning in our test shots.

Performance
The FE-210 performed sluggishly in our tests, though it was still quite usable. After a 4.2-second start time, we could snap off a new shot every 2.7 seconds. With the onboard flash enabled, that wait increased to 4.1 seconds. The shutter lagged only 0.6 seconds with our high-contrast target, but that time more than tripled to 1.9 seconds with our low-contrast target. Like almost every other FE series camera, the FE-210 didn't have any burst mode to test.

The Olympus FE-210 is a compact, inexpensive little camera that tries to be foolproof. Unfortunately, its completely automated modes, disappointing white balance, and mediocre image quality mean all of your non-flash indoor shots will come out soft, blotchy, and yellow. Add to that some disappointing performance numbers and a wholly unimpressive feature set, and you get a very-cheap-seeming digital camera. To Olympus's credit, the FE-240 fared slightly better in our tests, so if you're willing to spend a little extra cash, but like the FE design, it might be a better choice.

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Tassie Tiger
5
Rating
 

Tassie Tiger posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use for beginner. Nice size.

The Bad:No sound. Low battery warning even after new or freshly recharged batteries fitted.

Nice looking little camera, cheap for beginners to experiment with. As mentioned, quite disappointed about no sound. Would shop around more next time and ask more questions before buying the next camera.

Ericar
6
Rating
 

Ericar posted a review   

The Good:Small, presets work okay with a little practice shooting, buttons are a good size. I like the zoom and close-up features

The Bad:Had to tape the battery compartment shut as it opens during shooting at times when the button on the cover is pressed accidentally. Wrecked an SD card finding this out! Others probs in keeping with previous cons mentioned.

Is okay for a beginner but I felt really cheated by the major design issue on the battery compartment door issue. I felt a little disheartened by this and the difficulty seeing how a shot has turned out on the LCD...even with my glasses on! I have learned to take lots of photos of one subject if I can, using different settings, just in case. (I used manual SLR film cameras for ages and didn't have such trouble!) The lack of a viewfinder is a pain. Works okay on rechargeable NiMH batteries...much longer life but an expensive battery. At least I now know a bit more about what I want in my next digital camera! (This was my third one.)

Ametiel
5
Rating
 

Ametiel posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use, fast, fairly compact and the software with it is straightforward.

The Bad:poor quality, eats batteries like theres no tommorow, flash is too sharp... Definetely a camera for a begginer.

Simplistic to use, but very very un-customisable.. Takes a lot to get a decent photo out of it. I would reccomend it for people who want something quick and easy to use, but dont plan to get stunning photos from it.

ehyeoh
3
Rating
 

ehyeoh posted a review   

This is my second digital camera because of the price and can be used with standard batteries. After a year using, the exposure feature seem not working properly. All pictures taken come out with bright and white color. I need to find the service centre for repair now.

varman
2
Rating
 

varman posted a review   

The Good:Cheap....

The Bad:False Low battery warning problems!
Terrible night or low light shots

Worst Camera

megstar73
3
Rating
 

megstar73 posted a review   

The Good:stylish, simple, 10/10 picture quality

The Bad:mechanicle problems

awesome picture quality until it failed it turn on and hasnt worked since. plus it has been sent away and stil fails to work

eac
9
Rating
 

eac posted a review   

The Good:very easy to use, takes great photes unlike my sisters nikon which the photos always look very unflattering at some times.

The Bad:can take photos a bit slowly, or uncertain when the photo has actually been taken or not.

great as a 1st digital camera!!

The Met
7
Rating
 

The Met posted a review   

The Good:When it takes a good shot, its a very good shot.

The Bad:Colour tones I have noticed are a little off hue. If it takes anything else apart from a 'good' shot, it's pretty average. Certain graininess using Anti-shake mode.

Decent camera to use, for it's price. Simple to use.

loveisxx
9
Rating
 

loveisxx posted a review   

The Good:great

The Bad:none i can think of

great i luv it i used to have fe 240 and it is worse then this

bethenayWHOAA
9
Rating
 

bethenayWHOAA posted a review   

The Good:Cheap, easy to use, light, great battery life, stylish. GREAT editing program.
clear photos.

The Bad:poor indoor photos.

This is my second digital camera, but the first one i had was no-where near as good but was 3 times the price!


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User Reviews / Comments  Olympus FE-210

  • Tassie Tiger

    Tassie Tiger

    Rating5

    "Nice looking little camera, cheap for beginners to experiment with. As mentioned, quite disappointed about no sound. Would shop around more next time and ask more questions before buying the next c..."

  • Ericar

    Ericar

    Rating6

    "Is okay for a beginner but I felt really cheated by the major design issue on the battery compartment door issue. I felt a little disheartened by this and the difficulty seeing how a shot has turne..."

  • Ametiel

    Ametiel

    Rating5

    "Simplistic to use, but very very un-customisable.. Takes a lot to get a decent photo out of it. I would reccomend it for people who want something quick and easy to use, but dont plan to get stunni..."

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