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Olympus VG-130 review

Ben Pitt
5 Jun 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80
inc VAT

Looks great for the price on paper, but automatic exposures leave a lot to be desired

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Specifications

1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (26-130mm equivalent), 125g

We hate stickers on cameras that advertise their features – if you've already bought it, you don't need to see an advert for it. Even worse are stickers that leave a residue to spoil your nice new purchase. Sadly, this tainted an otherwise positive first impression of the VG-130, with its slim metal body, 3in screen, 5x zoom lens, 720p video mode and £80 price.

Olympus VG-130

Operation is straightforward, with key settings appearing as a strip of icons down the right of the screen that are quick to access using the navigation pad. There's a dedicated record button for the video mode, but while the 720p resolution is great at this price, there's little else that's positive about the VG-130's videos. There was quite a bit of noise in both its picture and soundtrack, the zoom and autofocus were fixed for the duration of clips and the microphone sounded tinny.

Olympus VG-130 back

When there's limited light in a scene, cameras' automatic modes must strike a balance between blur and noise. A faster shutter speed minimises the chance of blur, but the camera then needs a fast ISO speed to boost the brightness of the image, which also boosts noise. Sadly, the VG-130 did a terrible job of this balancing act, resorting to shutter speeds as slow as half a second before it raised the ISO speed beyond 125. The result was blurry results in nearly all of our indoor shots without the flash. We'd normally moan about this camera's insistence on reactivating the flash each time it's powered up, but in this case it's unwise to suppress the flash.