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The Olympus VR-310 is a slim high-zoom compact camera, launched in January 2011 with an RRP of £129.99, available in silver, black, red and purple. With the price now having fallen to £107.99, Daniel Bell investigates whether the camera is quite the bargain it seems...
Intelligent Auto Mode sets the camera settings automatically, selecting from the 5 most commonly used scenes. The scene modes available include: Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Text, Beach & Snow and Pet. For added creativity there are also a range of Magic Filters. There are: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish Eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk and Sparkle.
The Olympus VR-310 shoots videos in 720p HD, with a maximum file size of 2Gb.
- 10x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 24-240mm)
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- 720p HD Movies
- 14 megapixel sensor
- 3.0 inch 230,400 dot colour LCD screen
- ISO80 - 1600
- Intelligent Auto Mode
- Advanced Face Detection
- AF Tracking
- Magic Filters
Using continuous mode, the camera shots at 0.6fps. The camera also has two more continuous shooting modes - High Speed 1 and High Speed 2. High Speed 2 yields the highest rate, in testing it was capable of 7.5fps, but at a maximum of 3 megapixels and shoots at a higher ISO than High Speed 1, which managed 2.9fps, also at 3 megapixels.
|Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/80, f/7.9, 4.2mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)||Full optical zoom, ISO80, 1/250, f/5.7, 42mm (35mm equiv: 240mm)|
|Digital zoom, ISO80, 1/200, f/5.7, 42mm (35mm equiv: 240mm)||Macro, ISO80, 1/40, f/3.9, 7mm (35mm equiv: 37mm)|
Sadly noise is evident in images even at ISO80 and is clearly worse at ISO100. Noise continues to increase quite aggressively through ISO200 and ISO400. ISO800 and ISO1600 produces images which are going to best for small size prints or for sharing on the web.
Below are examples using some of the scene modes available.
|Portrait, ISO320, 1/80, f/5.5, 20mm (35mm equiv: 111mm)||Landscape with building, ISO80, 1/100, f/7.9, 4.2mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)|
|Sport, ISO250, 1/500, f/4.5, 10mm (35mm equiv: 57mm)||Text, ISO80, 1/1250, f/3, 4.2mm (35mm equiv: 24mm)|
Under our incandescent studio lights, auto white-balance has struggled a touch, with the incandescent preset giving a much more pleasant picture. When switching to the fluorescent lights, auto white-balance takes the better shot, rather than using the fluorescent preset.
Below are examples using each of the seven Magic Filters available.
Video ModeThe VR-310 records videos at 720p HD and 640 x 480, both at 30fps with no time limit, although file size is limited to 2Gb. You can use optical zoom when shooting videos, but without sound, although digital zoom can be used with sound.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus VR-310 is available for £107.99. If you are looking for a 10x optical zoom camera there are plenty of options dependent on your budget. Cheaper than the VR-310, the Pentax Optio RZ10, also with a 14 megapixel sensor, costs £93.99. If you have a bigger budget to spend, the Samsung PL210 is available for around £148 and Fuji FinePix T200 cost £124.99, all with 14 megapixel sensors.
The Sony Cyber-shot H70 also has a 10x optical zoom lens, 16.1 megapixel sensor and costs £178.99. The Canon Digital IXUS 1000 HS is a premium compact with 10x optical zoom lens, 10 megapixel sensor and costs £256.99.
Other cameras to consider... with even more zoom are the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS with 12x optical zoom, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £138.99. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 has a 12x optical zoom lens, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £169.99. Lastly, the Canon PowerShot SX220 HS has a 14x optical zoom lens, 12.1 megapixel sensor and costs £220.99.
Olympus VR-310: ProsExtremely cheap for 10x optical zoom
Focus distance of just 1cm allows for great macro images
Good range of Scene Modes and Magic Filters
Olympus VR-310: ConsNoise levels even at lowest ISO
No optical zoom with sound on videos
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
|Optical zoom||10x optical zoom, 4.2 - 42mm (35mm equiv: 24 - 240mm), f/3.0 - 5.7|
|Sensor size||1/2.3 inch|
|Max image size||4288 x 3216|
|Focusing system||TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection|
|Focus points||iESP, Face Detection AF, Spot, AF Tracking|
|File types||JPEG, AVI Motion JPEG, WAV|
|ISO sensitivity||ISO80 - 1600|
|Metering system||ESP light metering|
|Metering types||i-Auto, Programme automatic, Scene Modes, Magic Filter, Panorama, Movie|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2 EV / 1/3 steps|
|Shutter speed range||4 - 1/2000 sec|
|Image stabilisation||Dual Image Stabilisation|
|Movie mode||720p HD|
|Monitor||3 inch TFT LCD screen|
|Media type||SD, SDHC Memory Card|
|Interface||USB 2.0 & AV Cable|
|Power||LI-42B Lithium-Ion Battery|
|Box Contents||LI-42B Lithium-Ion Battery
F-2AC AC Adapter
CB-USB7 USB Cable
CB-AVC5 AV cable
World Wide Warranty Card
Image Management Software
|Size||100.6 x 58.2 x 28.5mm|
|Weight||158g (including battery and memory card)|