The Olympus VG-130 was released in January 2011 and is a budget digital compact available in silver, black, red and pink with prices started from around £70.
Olympus VG-130 Front
Olympus VG-130 Features
The VG-130 has a 14 megapixel sensor and 5x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm. The camera also has Digital Image Stabilisation to help take blur free photos.
As are commonly found on most Olympus compacts, the VG-130 has a range of magic filters, including: Punk, Pop Art, Pin Hole, Drawing, Fish Eye, Soft Focus and Sparkle. Other features include AF tracking, Intelligent Auto Mode (i-Auto), Shadow Adjustment Technology and Advanced Face Detection.
Movies are recorded in 720p HD with a dedicated button which starts shooting straight away.
Olympus VG-130 Top
5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
720p HD movie recording
14 megapixel sensor
3.0 inch 230,000 dot colour LCD screen
Digital Image Stabilisation
Intelligent Auto Mode
Advanced Face Detection
Battery charging via USB-cable
Olympus VG-130 Screen
Olympus VG-130 Handling
Rather impressively for a budget compact, the VG-130 has a full metal body and is a very small camera which will fit comfortably in your pocket. The buttons are all easy to press, with dedicated ones for movie recording and the zoom control on the back of the camera rather than around the shutter button.
If you've used an Olympus compact recently, you'll be familiar with their menu layout. As soon as you switch the camera on you can switch between the shooting menus by cycling left or right. When you are in your desired mode you can changed the settings available in that mode by pressing up or down. The menus are easy to use and well labelled, although if you move round the menus too quickly the camera can take a second to catch up on occasions.
The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and is quick to focus. Although there is no CIPA rating provided for the battery, during testing it was capable of around 220 shots. There are three continuous shooting modes available, sequential (full resolution), high-speed 1 (3 megapixel) and high-speed 2 (3 megapixel), capable of 0.8 fps, 2.3 fps and 10 fps respectively.
Olympus VG-130 Battery
Olympus VG-130 Performance
When viewing the wide-angle image at full size there is plenty of purple fringing in the trees but the images do have an impressive amount of detail given that we are looking at a budget digital compact, which is also true for images taken using the lens at its longest length. The VG-130 takes well exposed images with good colour reproduction. Despite a minimum focusing distance of 7cm it is possible to get close enough to take a pleasing, well detailed, macro picture.
Olympus VG-130 Lens test images
At ISO 80, noise is very minimal, which is also the same for ISO 100. Noise does increase steadily through ISO 200 and ISO 400 but it is only ISO 800 where detail and sharpness is effected. Images produced at ISO 1600 do have a significant amount of noise and are best for small sized web use.
Olympus VG-130 ISO test images
Landscape images look great with a good boost to the blues and greens. Portrait images look a bit flat with a touch of red-eye present, but the skin tones are accurately reproduced. Sport mode has been used to capture the water droplets coming from the water fountain.
Olympus VG-130 Sample Photos
Under our studio lights, the white-balance performance is quite inconsistent. The AWB preset produces an image with an orange cast, with the incandescent preset giving the better image. The fluorescent lights causes the VG-130 to take images with a magenta cast although the AWB has less of a cast than when the fluorescent preset is used.
Olympus VG-130 White-balance test images
The following images are all examples taken using the seven magic filters available on the VG-130.
Olympus VG-130 Digital filters
Videos can be recorded at 720p HD at 30 and 15 fps as well as VGA and QVGA. Optical zoom is also available during recording but not at the same time as sound recording. An example using the zoom during video recording can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube page.
With the VG-130 having been available since the start of the year, the price has dropped to a point where this camera can be considered quite a bargain. It has a full metal body and is capable of taking pictures with both good colour reproduction and detail. It is let down by some purple fringing, inconsistent white-balance performance and, if you like taking close-up macro images, you may find the 7cm minimum focusing distance quite restrictive. Overall, the Olympus VG-130 is an ideal choice for those on a budget and/or looking for their first digital camera.
Olympus VG-130 Pros
Excellent value for money
Full metal body
Good colour reproduction
Well detailed images
Olympus VG-130 Cons
Purple fringing quite common
Inconsistent white-balance performance
Close focusing distance is 7cm