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Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Olympus VR-340, a digital compact camera with 10x optical zoom.

| Olympus VR-340 in Compact Cameras
Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review: Olympus Vr-340 Lens Extended

The Olympus VR-340 was announced in January 2012 alongside the VG-170 and is a compact camera with 10x optical zoom. It is available in silver, black, red and purple for £119.00.

Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review: Olympus Vr-340 Front

Olympus VR-340 Features

The Olympus VR-340 has a 16 megapixel sensor with a 10x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-240mm. To help keep images blur free there is Dual Image Stabilisation. To make image taking easy there is iAuto mode as well as a range of scene modes and digital filters to add some creativity to your shots as well as beauty mode. If you are shooting a moving object you can use AF Tracking.

Videos are recorded at 720p HD with some of the magic filters available, as is the optical zoom when sound is switched off.

Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review: Olympus Vr-340 Top

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel sensor
  • 10x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-240mm)
  • 720p HD movie recording
  • 3.0 inch 460,000 dot colour LCD screen
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
  • Face Detection incl. Shadow Adjustment
  • iAuto and AF Tracking
  • Beauty Mode
  • Scene Modes
  • Eye-Fi Card compatibility
  • Metal body
  • Smart Grip Design
  • USB-Battery Charge
Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review: Olympus Vr-340 Rear

Olympus VR-340 Handling

The VR-340 is easy to grip thanks to the raised area on the front of the camera for your right hand fingers as well as a dotted area for your right thumb on the back. It is made from metal and is small enough for you to carry in your pocket. The rear hosts the 3 inch 460,000 dot LCD screen, which is bright, clear and easy to see in most lighting conditions. The buttons are typical for a compact camera with a dedicated movie record and ? buttons, the latter helping you to use the camera.

The menus are logical and well laid out, with most of the shooting settings set via a panel down the right hand side of the screen, which you amend using the d-pad. 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   0.25 seconds
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.65 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   1.1 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.3 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   3.6 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   4.1 seconds
Sequential shooting
  0.5 fps
High-speed 1
  1.6 fps
High-speed 2
  14.4 fps

Sequential shooting records at full 14 megapixel resolution, with high-speed 1 and 2 both restricted to 3 megapixels.

Olympus VR-340 Digital Compact Camera Review: Olympus Vr-340 Battery And Memory Card

Olympus VR-340 Performance

Images produced by the VR-340 are well exposed with decent colour reproduction. Detail is OK in the centre of the images, with soft corners, as well as purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm which allows a decent macro shot to be taken.

Olympus VR-340 Lens test images

There isn't any noise at ISO 100, with a touch coming in at ISO 200. ISO sees an increase in noise which is significant enough to cause the images to lose a touch of sharpness. At ISO 800 this loss of sharpness continues, with ISO 1600 producing an image with large amounts of noise, not ideal for large prints.

Olympus VR-340 ISO test images

Landscape mode produces images with good blues and greens, with portrait mode giving pleasant skin tones and no red-eye when shooting with the flash. Sport mode has been used in the fourth image below to capture the water movement.

Olympus VR-340 Scene modes

Under the incandescent lighting, the auto white-balance (AWB) preset has a slight orange cast with the incandescent preset taking the perfect picture. When switching to the fluorescent lights the AWB preset performs well, with the fluorescent preset having a magenta cast.

Olympus VR-340 White-balance test images

The VR-340 has a number of magic filters, with examples of each below. Some can be used during video recording as well.

Olympus VR-340 Digital filters

Video Mode

Below is a video shot at 720p HD, the camera also allows the use of optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.

Value For Money

The Olympus VR-340 is currently priced at £119.00. Other cameras to consider are the Fujifilm FinePix T400 at £129.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ1 at £169.00, Nikon Coolpix S6300 at £179.00 and Sony Cybershot W690 at £179.00, all with 10x optical zoom and 16 megapixel sensors.

Olympus VR-340 Verdict

The Olympus VR-340 is a pocketable camera with a decent zoom range, making it an ideal choice for taking pictures on your holidays. Image quality is OK, but nothing to get excited about and video recording isn't full 1080p HD, although you can use the magic filters. Colour reproduction is decent and if you are a camera user who struggles to grip a camera, the VR-340 is easy to grip thanks to the groove at the front.

Olympus VR-340 Pros

Available for a reasonable price
Magic filters
Camera is easy to grip
Compact, metal body
Decent colour reproduction

Olympus VR-340 Cons

Only 720p HD video recording
Limited ISO range.


Olympus VR-340 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3 - f/5.7
35mm equivalent24mm - 240mm
Optical Zoom10x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity100 - 1600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7.2fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI-50B
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI-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

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Photographs taken using the Olympus VR-340

Ouch!!!!Sugarloaf Abergavenny.Old and New.The Last of the Hydrangea's.Tree Frog

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