Olympus FE-4000 Review - Olympus FE-4000 Review

As well as the body, the controls also look and feel cheap. The labels embedded in the transparent plastic buttons are almost impossible to see in low light or at any sort of angle other than perpendicular, and the buttons themselves feel poorly mounted and provide little tactile feedback, especially the appallingly nasty zoom control. It operates with more of a crunch than a click, and actually feels like it’s already broken. The layout of the controls is equally poor, leaving no room for the thumb, while also being fiddly and hard to use thanks to the big step in the rear panel next to the monitor.

The menu system is as clumsy and badly designed as ever, and and the on-screen text is poorly anti-aliased and looks slightly blurred, as though it was designed for a different screen resolution. The built-in flash is inconveniently located under the knuckle of the right middle finger when holding the camera in any normal one-handed grip, causing big shadows on most flash-lit shots. The overwhelming impression when using the camera is that absolutely no thought has been given to ergonomics. Did any of the designers even handle the finished camera?

The FE-4000 has only the most basic set of features. The main menu has only one page with just five entries. User input is limited to image size and quality, white balance, AF mode and ISO setting, controlled by a simple live shooting menu. There is no colour adjustment, spot metering, continuous shooting or any of the other small refinements found even on other cheap cameras. Even the self-timer is limited to 10 seconds only. It does feature digital image stabilisation, tracking AF and face detection, but none of these work particularly well.

Other severely limited features include the video mode, which is restricted to 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps with mono audio, although in this mode clips are limited to just 10 seconds in length. Needless to say the optical zoom cannot be used while recording.

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