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Olympus X-890 review

Ben Pitt
10 Jul 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
99
inc VAT

Stylish design isn't sufficient to compensate for this camera's poor image quality and performance.

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Specifications

1/2.33in 10.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (36-108mm equivalent), 108g

The X-890 doesn't slot neatly into Olympus's established Stylish, Easy or Creative ranges of digital compacts, and doesn't even appear on the company's website. It's exclusive to Jessops, and you'll find further details on the retailer's website.

We love the design. With silver lines that break up the matt black body, it's like a piece of abstract minimalist art. It sounds less pleasant than it looks, though, and makes a high-pitched beep when any button is pressed. Thankfully, you can turn this off. At the back there's a 2.7in screen and a basic smattering of controls. Photographic options are limited, with no continuous drive, metering or autofocus options. Flash settings, exposure compensation, ISO speed and white balance presets are available, but only in the Program mode, not iAuto.

The camera uses slow, expensive xD cards, although it comes with a microSD-to-xD adaptor. However, performance was poor even with a fast microSD card. Autofocus was slow and prone to failing in low light, and we measured an average of 4.3 seconds between shots. We suspect that the lack of a continuous mode is due to the fact that it would have been embarrassingly slow.

Image quality was just as disappointing. Even outdoor shots taken in bright sunlight exhibited vague details, blotchy colours in shade and a skewed white balance. We can't remember the last camera we saw that struggled with white balance in sunlight. There was also purple fringing around dark subjects set against a bright background, such as trees against the sky. The camera chose inappropriate ISO speeds in low light, resulting in blurry shots indoors without the flash. We had to change the ISO speed manually or switch to the Stabilisation mode, but this is something that most casual photographers won't think to do.

The X-890 looks smart, but there's no other reason to choose it over Panasonic's cheaper LS85.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
CCD effective megapixels10.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfindernone
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent36-108mm
Image stabilisationnone
Maximum image resolution3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution640x480
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotxD
Mermory supplied19MB internal
Battery type3.7V 700mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)220 shots
ConnectivityUSB
Body materialplastic
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables
Weight108g
Size57x94x21mm

Buying Information

Price£99
Supplierhttp://www.jessops.com
Detailswww.jessops.com

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangeauto
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto 6 presets
Additional image controlsnone
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus5cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, face detect
Metering modesmulti, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, self-timer