Olympus FE-170 and FE-180: low-cost digital compact cameras for everyone

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Digital cameras are so commonplace now and prices keep on falling yet more features get packed in. So it is with the Olympus FE-170 and FE-180 models, with prices around £115 and £140 for 6 megapixel cameras with 3x zoom.

Aimed squarely at the fun market, they’re designed with simplicity in mind. Point and shoot is the message here, with all functions on seperate buttons.

They feature super-macro mode for shooting as close as 5cm, and there’s a movie mode – the FE-180 adds a soundtrack – limited only by available storage memory.

There are 10 scene shooting modes. Unlike their bigger cousin, the FE-190, there’s no image stabilisation options, but that’s not really an issue for the target uses of these cameras.

One thing to bear in mind is that these cameras take standard AA
batteries – no lithium rechargeables here. You’ll want to factor that
into your buying decision, as not only is running out of batteries
annoying, but also quite expensive to replace. Olympus claim the FE-180
can take 500 shots on one set of batteries, but the movie mode, lots of
zooming, flash use, etc. will drain the power more quickly.

Available from September.

Andy Merrett