Olympus VR-340 Full Review - Cameras For Photographers
Specifications 2:

Type:
ultra compact

Weight (inc. Battery) [?]:
170g

Wide Angle [?]:
24mm

Max. Focal Length [?]:
240mm

Zoom Range [?]:
x10

Sensor Size:
1/2.3"

Low Light Support [?]:
afternoons

Image Stabilization [?]:
sensor shift

Raw Format Support [?]:
none

Manual Exposure [?]:
no

Video Resolution [?]:
720p

Optical Zoom In Video [?]:
no

Stereo Sound [?]:
mono

Battery Life [?]:
shots

Flip Lcd [?]:
none

Touch Screen [?]:
none

Viewfinder [?]:
none

Freeze / Water / Shock - Proof [?]:
no

Dimensions (w-h-d) [?]:
104.3 x 60.2 x 28.3 mm

Macro Distance [?]:
1 cm

Built-in Wireless [?]:
none

Built-in GPS [?]:
none

Direct Video Button [?]:
yes

Panorama [?]:
stitch panorama

Rank: [?]
22.8

Initial Price:
$149 (change: $67, 45%)

Last Price Change:
$17 (17%) (Jan 28th)

Last Lowest Price:
$82





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Olympus VR-340 - Full Review

Last Lowest Price: $82
Fly too low and you might end up hitting the ground. That's what happened to the Olympus VR-340.
vr-340
Olympus VR-340 (photo: Olympus)
The VR-340's Price Watch:

The VR-340 is a clear attempt by Olympus to create a simple camera with high enough specs and a low enough price tag to seduce the crowds.

Now the crowds might be fooled in some cases since the line defining when simple is too simple is vague, but it's quite clear once it's crossed.

True, the VR-340 offers a x10 zoom in a 170 gram body and it costs not much more than one hundred dollars. Sounds good enough to buy? Take a good look at the competition before you do.

Performance


Focus Speed: If the word sluggish wasn't invented to accurately describe the feeling of the VR-340 focusing system, then it should have. Kids rushing through the frame leave it before the camera is able to focus and capture a photo, rendering it useless in some situations.

Operation:

Image Stabilization: The slowest speed which consistently produced sharp enough shots at full zoom (240mm) was 1/8th of a second. That's not horrible considering that the VR-340 has a sensor-shift image stabilization mechanism rather than an optical one, but when you check what other cameras can do, you realize how far behind the VR-340 is.

For example, the Panasonic ZS20 is able to get a sharp shot with 1/5 seconds at 480mm and the Canon PowerShot SX40 can get away with 1/5 seconds at its full zoom of 840mm. True, they are far more expensive than the VR-340, but still, that's how far the high standard is.

Image Quality


Colors & Contrast: Images produced by the VR-340 are in general unimpressive. Colors are a bit on the weak side, creating somewhat of a washed out feel.

Perhaps this level of quality could be regarded as acceptable for the price of the camera, but if this is how little you care about you image quality, use your mobile phone's camera instead.

ISO Range: Built around a standard size 1/2.3" CCD sensor, the VR-340 is not a high-ISO performer. You can get away with ISO 400 for on screen viewing and sharing, but even at this level images include an unexpectedly large amount of noise.

Unfortunately, the VR-340 tends to choose ISO 400 when in Auto ISO mode, even in undeniably bright conditions.

The Competition


Is the case of the VR-340, the competition is a crucial factor - there are better and at the same time less expensive cameras out there.

The most obvious example is the Panasonic Lumix DMC SZ1 (compare ), which costs about 20% less, is about 20% lighter and 25% thinner and still offers the same x10 zoom (starting at 25mm), has optical image stabilization and optical zoom during video.

If you are willing to pay more and get a far better camera, then the Canon PowerShot SX150 (compare ) is one alternative, but it's significantly larger than the VR-340. Even better is the Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS15 (compare ) which offers x16 zoom coupled with a CMOS sensor, optical image stabilization and Full-HD video with optical zoom.

Score:


Image Quality: 7
Performance: 7
Build & Handling: 6
Advanced Features: 6
EyalG's Total: 6.5

Last Lowest Price: $82


Zoom Capabilities:


Images are shown from the shortest focal length (wide angle) to the longest (telephoto).
Digital Zoom is shown by 'x' factor:


Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




Image Stabilization Capabilities:


Here's an example of the same image taken with and without image stabilization:

Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




In-Camera Effects:


The VR-340 offers these creative effects, see what they look like:

Scroll your mouse over the thumbnails to view the images, then click on the images for full size versions.




In Your Hand:






Sample Images (hand held, out of camera, with no post processing):



1/800 sec, f/7.9, 24mm, ISO 400

1/320 sec, f/9.9, 37mm, ISO 400

1/60 sec, f/3.9, 37mm, ISO 100

1/5 sec, f/3.9, 37mm, ISO 400


Rank:

Automatically compared to similar cameras, based on specifications:

Low Light:
 

Wide Angle:
 

Zoom Range:
 

Weight:
 

Other Features:
 

Price:
 

Total Rank:
22.8


 

Lineage:


Olympus VR-340
 
 
Olympus VR-340 Eyal Gurevitch January 05, 2013 $82 22.8 100

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