Olympus FE-140: Test and Review

If you are looking for a simple camera, you’ll find it among the automatic models of Olympus FE series, they certainly offer no manual settings, but are available at affordable prices and offer useful features for novices. The Olympus FE-140 is in this range leading the way. This digital camera includes a 6-megapixel optical zoom offering a very average focal range of 38-114 mm (equivalent of a 35mm camera), LCD screen 6.35 cm and very basic settings.

Slightly larger than an iPod, the solid rectangular plastic housing of the Olympus FE-140 offers a fairly comfortable grip. In addition, its thickness gives the device a sufficient volume to accommodate a common AA batteries rechargeable owner. Its matte-green-gray finish is quite nice to look at, but it is altogether unremarkable.

On the top of the unit you’ll find the shutter button, the on / off button, the zoom rocker switch and four buttons respectively dedicated to the choice of mode shooting, reading, deletion of snapshots and printing. The back of the device accommodates all other controls next to its screen of 6.35 cm. After making your choice on the dial for selecting modes, you can change certain settings such as the flash, timer, and macro shooting, via four navigation buttons gathered around an OK button and a menu button separate. An additional key read / help to navigate through the settings and display tips when you explore the camera menus.

The Olympus FE-140 has some handy features, but anyone who expects to find many options will be for expenses. Some settings such as ISO sensitivity and white balance are strictly automatic. Once the mode set, only basic settings, including image resolution, flash, macro focus, self-timer and exposure compensation can be changed by the user. Appreciable play some shooting modes and scene modes preset (from classic portrait and landscape modes in special modes such as museum and Kitchen) covers many common shooting situations. You can also select the option Blur Reduction, which increased the light sensitivity to ISO 800 and uses faster shutter speeds to reduce blur on photographs taken in the heat of the action. But beware: this option is usually less effective than optical image stabilizer which are currently with many cameras. In this case, the pictures obtained had more noise than normal. Olympus includes a movie mode, but it only records clips in QuickTime format with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels at 15 frames per second (fps). The menus of the FE-140 classify this QVGA video mode in the high quality category, but it is lower than VGA video (640 x 480) at 30 fps produced by virtually all other cameras currently available on the market.

The FE-140 includes a Guide mode to help you set up your shots. A simple text menu also allows you to select options for shooting against the light or take moving subjects, for example. It then shows the appropriate settings for the situation. To avoid unsightly dead pixels, the Olympus FE-140 includes a feature that analyzes the camera sensor and notes which specific pixels appear too light or too dark. Once this information is recorded, the camera can compensate during image processing. Olympus integrates this functionality to all its devices, but this type of function is still uncommon on entry level automatic.

In terms of speed, the FE-140 does not spark, but its performance will satisfy most casual photographers. After a time of starting of 3 seconds, the FE-140 was able to take a photo every 2.4 seconds. Even with the flash activated, the device recorded an interval between each shot 2.8 seconds. The shutter lag was satisfactory: 0.7 seconds in a mixed lighting, against 1.3 seconds in low light conditions.

The camera has captured the colors and automatic white balance were pleasantly surprised by replicating artificial lighting accurately without the typical yellow veil of most cameras. Despite this significant notes, images generally lacked contrast in fine detail and were suffering from noise, even on bright images. The noise has increased exponentially with the image stabilization mode that optimizes ISO sensitivity. If you want to avoid grainy images and speckled, you will stand in the bright subjects and deactivate the Blur Reduction option.

The Olympus FE-140 is an extremely simple camera to use that you chew the heavy lifting. This unfortunately means that you get no manual adjustment. Its performance is satisfactory but mediocre pictures and the almost complete lack of manual controls make it a device to be reserved for only beginners.