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The Olympus VG-170 was released in January 2012 and is a budget compact digital camera with a flash which is twice as powerful as a regular compact camera. The VG-170 is available in white, red and black for £89.00.
To help take great pictures there is Intelligent Auto mode and Digital Image Stabilisation. There are a range of magic filters to add creativity to both pictures and videos. There are also a number of scene modes as well as 3D image shooting, Face Detection and AF Tracking. In playback mode there are options to edit your photos, including beauty, lighting and red-eye fixes.
Videos are recorded at 720p HD with optical zoom available.
- 14 megapixel sensor
- 5x wide optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
- 720p HD movie recording
- Powerful and big built-in flash
- 3.0 inch 460,000 dot colour LCD screen
- Digital Image Stabilisation
- Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
- Face Detection incl. Shadow Adjustment
- iAuto and AF Tracking
- 3D Photo Shooting Mode (Red & Cyan)
- Beauty Mode
- Scene Modes
- Eye-Fi Card compatibility
- Super-slim body
- USB-Battery Charge
The 3 inch LCD screen is bright and clear to see in most lighting conditions. There is no CIPA rating provided for the camera battery. During testing it was capable of all our test shots over a number of days without requiring charging.
We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.
|Shutter Response||0.2 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.625 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.9 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.2 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||2.7 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||4.9 seconds|
|Sequential shooting (14 megapixel)
|High-speed 1 (3 megapixel)
|High-speed 2 (3 megapixel)||15.5 fps|
Sequential shooting takes pictures at 16 megapixels, with High-speed 1 and High-speed 2 restricted to 3 megapixels.
Olympus VG-170 Lens test images
Wide-angle | 1/640 sec | f/2.8 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/320 sec | f/6.5 | 23.5 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | 1/160 sec | f/6.5 | 23.5 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/15 sec | f/3.4 | 8.3 mm | ISO 80
Noise has no affect on image quality quality at the lowest ISO settings of 80 and 100 with only a slight amount creeping in at ISO 200. Noise does start to have a significant impact on quaity from ISO 400 with the higher settings of ISO 800 and ISO 1600 best saved for images which are to be resized for use on the web.
Olympus VG-170 ISO test images
ISO 80 | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
ISO 100 | 1/8 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
ISO 200 | 1/20 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
ISO 400 | 1/40 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
ISO 800 | 1/60 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
ISO 1600 | 1/160 sec | f/4.9 | 15.4 mm
The first two images below have been taken using landscape mode, with good blues and greens produced. Portrait modes takes pictures with pleasant skin tones but when using the flash there is some red-eye, although this can be removed in playback mode. There are also further examples using sports mode (to freeze to motion of the water) and documents mode. The last two examples have been shot using the flash, the room was completely dark when taken. There are further examples in the Equipment Database.
Olympus VG-170 Scene modes
Landscape | 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Landscape with building | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/50 sec | f/4.4 | 13.0 mm | ISO 80
Sport | 1/500 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 1250
Cathedral | 1/1000 sec | f/2.8 | 4.7 mm | ISO 80
Documents | 1/50 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Room filled with flash | 1/30 sec | f/2.8 | 4.7 mm | ISO 200
Close-up with long flash | 1/125 sec | f/6.5 | 23.5 mm | ISO 500
When shooting outdoors, the auto white-balance (AWB) does a good job, but the results weren't as pleasing under our studio lighting. Under the incandescent lights the AWB setting gives an orange cast, with the preset giving a magenta cast. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB preset gives a very slight magenta cast, with the respective preset taking a much better result.
Olympus VG-170 White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.4 | 8.3 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 0.3 sec | f/3.4 | 8.3 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/3.4 | 8.3 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.4 | 8.3 mm | ISO 100
The VG-170 has nine magic filters: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Watercolour and Reflection with examples below.
Olympus VG-170 Digital filters
Drawing | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Fish eye | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Pin hole | 1/80 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Pop art | 1/5 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Punk | 1/5 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Reflection | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Soft focus | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Sparkle | 1/10 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Watercolor | 1/6 sec | f/5.4 | 17.8 mm | ISO 200
Video ModeBelow is a short example video shot at 720p HD. The camera can record with use of the optical zoom, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Page.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus VG-170 is currently priced at £89.00. The market for similar budget cameras is very competitive, with the bigger flash setting the camera apart from the competition. Other compacts to consider are the Fujifilm FinePix Z90 at £64.00, Pentax Optio S1 at £69.95, Canon PowerShot A3200 IS at £99.00 and Samsung SH100 at £114.00.
Olympus VG-170 ProsLarger flash is a unique feature
Good value for money
Grip on front of camera
Good colour reproduction
Olympus VG-170 ConsNo optical stabilisation
Purple fringing on occasion
Significant noise from ISO 400 upwards
AWB struggles under indoor lighting
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus VG-170 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/2.8 - f/6.5|
|35mm equivalent||26mm - 130mm|
|CCD pixels||14Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB-USB7 USB Cable, CB-AVC5 Audio/Video cable, 3D Glasses (Red/Cyan), Hand Strap, World Wide Warranty Card, Instruction Manual, [ib] Image Management Software|