Olympus FE-300 Zoom Review

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Olympus FE-300 Zoom

Review posted 10/28/2007

Click to take a QTVR tour of the FE-300

Olympus has added even more "FE" series models for 2007, the FE-300, FE-290 and FE-280. Offering something for everyone, they all share an ultra-slim design, affordable price and intuitive features. The FE-300 is the slimmest compact camera in Olympus' ranks to provide a 12- megapixel image sensor for producing large-format prints with incredible detail.

The FE-300 and FE-280 both feature a 2.5-inch LCD screen. Composing shots and sharing images with friends and family is easier than ever thanks to these high-resolution displays. Additionally, the backlight boost button increases the LCD from bright to a super-bright setting, making it easier to capture and view images in challenging environments such as direct sunlight or low-light situations.

Face Detection Technology tracks faces within the frame and automatically focuses (Face Detection AF) and optimizes exposure (Face Detection AE) for sharp, brilliant portrait pictures. Even if your subjects are moving, the camera continuously tracks your subjects' faces without having to press the shutter button.

The new FE cameras offer Digital Image Stabilization (DIS) for capturing crisp, clear pictures. DIS freezes the action with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds that prevent blurry images often caused by a moving subject. The FE-280 and FE-300 also feature Digital Image Stabilization Edit, which uses a built-in gyro sensor to track camera movement and enables users to fix blurry images right in the camera. The FE-280 and FE-300 also feature high ISO sensitivity, which extends the flash working range, enabling users to capture clear, bright subjects and backgrounds in low-light situations.

Life does not always go as planned, so the FE-280 and FE-300 feature Perfect Fix, which allows users to modify pictures after they take them. Perfect Fix sharpens unanticipated blur, improves lighting and eliminates red-eye.

The FE-300 and FE-280 feature Olympus' exclusive new TruePic III image processor, which was developed for the demanding performance of professional Digital SLR cameras. Olympus' enhanced TruePic III Image Processor helps these models produce crystal-clear photos using all the pixel information for each image to deliver superior picture quality with more accurate colors, true-to-life flesh tones and faster processing speeds. TruePic III also captures crisp, clear images at high ISO settings, which are traditionally associated with increasing image noise or producing grainy photos.

The FE-300 and FE-280 also include Bright Capture Technology, enabling consumers to preview and shoot images and movies in low light using specific scene modes. It is perfect for situations when a flash is not appropriate to capture the softness and warmth of a candlelit dinner or natural skin tones in subdued lighting.

Connecting any FE Series camera to a computer is easy with the USB Auto Connect feature, which connects the camera directly via USB 2.0 cable and requires no software. The included OLYMPUS Master software provides the ultimate in digital imaging management. An intuitive user interface makes downloading to your computer quick and simple, and images are searchable by date or keyword in the Calendar View.

FE-300 Zoom Features:

  • 12.0 Megapixel CCD imager for poster size prints
  • 3x optical (35 - 105mm 35mm equiv) zoom, 4x digital zoom
  • Digital Image Stabilization and Built-in Help Guide
  • TruePic TURBO Image Processor
  • Olympus' Bright Capture Technology
  • 2.5" color LCD and 10x playback zoom
  • 18 shooting modes including AVI Motion JPEG movies with sound
  • Movie mode sizes of 640x480/30fps (SHQ) or 320x240/15fps (HQ)
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • Shutter speeds of 4 seconds to 1/2000 second (depending on exposure mode)
  • User selectable ISO range from 50 - 6400
  • Powered by the included LI-42B Li-ion battery
  • USB Direct-print with any PictBridge compatible printer
  • USB connectivity for PC and Mac
  • 48MB of internal memory
  • Card slot supports xD-Picture card Type H/M up to 2GB

The FE-300 is available now with an MSRP of US$299. It ships with: LI-42B Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery and Charger, USB Cable, Audio/Video Cable, Wrist Strap, Manual, OLYMPUS Master 2 Software CD-ROM and Warranty Card.

Physical Views

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

Olympus FE-300 ZoomOlympus FE-300 Zoom

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

The FE-300 compared to an average CD disc.

Olympus FE-300 Zoom

The 12-megapixel FE-300, and the 8-megapixel FE-280.

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Features & Controls

FE-300 Zoom Specifications
Imager 12.0 Megapixel (effective), 1/1.72" CCD (1.5cm)
Lens 7.4 - 22.2mm (35 - 105mm equivalent in 35mm photography),
6 lenses in 4 groups, 4 aspherical lenses
Zoom 3x Optical zoom + 4x Digital zoom (Seamless to 12x)
Aperture Range F2.8 - F4.7
LCD 2.5" (6.4cm) LCD with Backlight Boost Button, approx. 230,000 pixels
2 Steps Brightness Adjustment
Focus System CCD Contrast Detection
Focus Range Normal mode: Wide: 23.6" - infinity (0.6m - infinity)
Tele: 23.6" - infinity (0.6m - infinity)
Macro mode: Wide: 11.8" - infinity (0.3m - infinity)
Tele: 19.7" - infinity (0.5m - infinity)
Super Macro mode: 3.9" - infinity (10cm - infinity)
Focus Mode iESP Auto, Spot AF, Face Detection AF
Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec. -1/2 sec. (up to 4 sec. in Night Scene mode)
ISO Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 (equivalent)
Metering Mode Digital ESP Metering, Face Detection AE (when Face Detection AF is selected)
White Balance iESP2 Auto, Presets (Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, and 3 Fluorescents)
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV steps in 1/3 EV steps
Recording Modes Still Image: JPEG
Movie: AVI Motion JPEG
Adjustment Resolutions 4,000 x 3,000 (SHQ / HQ)
2,048 x 1,536 (SQ1)
640 x 480 (SQ2)
1,920 x 1,080 (16:9)
Shooting Modes 18 shooting modes; Auto, Program Auto, Digital Image Stabilization, Scene Preset (1. PORTRAIT, 2. LANDSCAPE, 3. NIGHT+PORTRAIT, 4. SPORT, 5. INDOOR, 6. CANDLE, 7. SELF-PORTRAIT, 8. SUNSET, 9. FIREWORKS, 10. BEHIND GLASS, 11. CUISINE, 12. DOCUMENTS, 13. AUCTION, 14. SMILE SHOT), Movie
Panorama Modes Up to 10 frames automatically stitchable with OLYMPUS Master software when using Olympus brand xD-Picture Card™
Shooting Assist Functions Shooting Guide, Perfect Shot Preview
Movie Mode AVI Movie with Sound;
640x480/30fps (SHQ)
320x240/15fps (HQ)
160x120/15fps (SQ)
Image Processing TruePic™ III Image Processor
Noise Reduction Set automatically at shutter speeds of 0.5 second or longer in specific scene modes
Image Playback Still Image: Single, Index Display (4/9/16/25), Up to 10x Enlargement, Slideshow, Rotation, My Favorites

Movie: Normal, Reverse, Frame-by-Frame

Playback Edit Effects Still Image: Red-eye Fix, Lighting Fix, Digital Image Stabilization Edit, Resize, Rotation, Trimming

Movie: Movie Edit, Frame Index

Flash Built-in
Flash Modes Auto (for low light and backlit conditions)
Red-Eye Reduction
Flash Working Range Wide: 0.98ft (0.3m) - 20.0ft. (6.1m) at ISO 800
Tele: 1.6ft. (0.5m) - 11.8ft. (3.6m) at ISO 800
Selftimer 12 Seconds
Memory 48MB Internal Memory
Removable Media Card xD-Picture Card™ (1GB, 2GB)
Outer Connectors Multi-Terminal (USB Connector, Audio/Video Output)
Auto-connect USB USB 2.0 High-Speed (USB Mass Storage)
System Requirements Auto-Connect USB: Windows® 2000/XP/VISTA with USB port, Mac OS X v10.3 or later with USB port

Software: Windows® 2000PRO/XP/VISTA, Mac OS X v10.3 or later

Operating Environment Operation: 32° - 104°F (0° - 40°C), 30% - 90% humidity
Storage: -4° - 140°F (-20° - 60°C), 10% - 90% humidity
Power Supply Li-ion Rechargeable Battery (LI-42B)
Size 3.7"W x 2.2"H x 0.87" D (94mm x 56.5mm x 22.1mm)
Weight 4.1oz (115g) without battery and media card

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Features & Controls

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