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The FE-230 is designed expressly as a simple point-and-shoot compact, and as such it has only the barest minimum of features. Like previous FE-series models it is auto-everything, and has no manually adjustable ISO setting, white balance or colour options, and obviously no manual exposure controls. It has four special program modes, including night scene, portrait, landscape and a “Digital Image Stabilisation” mode which, as most such modes do, simply sets a higher ISO to provide a faster shutter speed. As well as these it has 13 fairly typical scene modes, and a VGA 30fps movie mode. The only other options are a 12-second self-timer, +/- 2EV exposure compensation and four flash modes.
The menus system is, for once, not horribly confusing because it has virtually nothing on it beyond picture size and quality options, a panorama mode and the usual basic camera setup functions such as date, language and card formatting. The FE-230 is a very simple camera, but it does also include a ‘guide’ mode, a built-in manual with handy tips on taking better pictures. As such it would obviously suit a beginner who has never owned or used a digital camera before, although more experienced users will probably find the tips that appear every time the camera is switched on or the mode is changed, somewhat irritating after a while.
In terms of performance the FE-230 is unfortunately a bit on the slow side. It starts up in a little over two seconds, which is quick enough, but the shot-to-shot time in the Super High Quality (SHQ) mode is sluggish at over four seconds. It is a bit quicker (2.2 secs) in the more compressed HQ mode, but it’s still far from sparkling, and that’s about as fast as it goes because the camera has no continuous shooting mode.