Olympus's line of digital cameras span the range from affordable entry-level units right the way up to single-lens reflex models aimed at professional use. The FE-series, launched with three models in late 2005, emphasises competitive pricing and ease of use in a compact body. One of those three models is the Olympus FE-120, featuring an Olympus-branded 3x optical zoom with a 38 - 114mm equivalent focal length range and F2.8 - 4.9 maximum aperture. The Olympus FE-120 couples this with a 6.0 megapixel imager and 1.8" LCD display that has 85,000 pixels. Likely to help keep price and complexity down, this LCD is the sole method of framing images, as the FE-120 forgoes any form of optical viewfinder.
As you might expect from a camera aimed at beginners, the FE-120 keeps things simple by retaining automatic control of most image parameters. Autofocus is via contrast detection, while ISO sensitivity ranges from 64 to 320 equivalent under automatic control. Exposures are determined with Olympus' Digital ESP multi-pattern metering, although the user can tweak the exposure with +/-2.0EV of exposure compensation, in 1/2EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 4 seconds. White balance can be controlled automatically, or one of four presets selected - Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, or Fluorescent. The FE-120 also includes a four mode internal flash, and offers some further control over images courtesy of a rather generous sixteen scene modes.
As well as still images, the camera can also capture movies (with no audio) at QVGA or lower resolution, at a rate of fifteen frames per second. The FE-120 also has a twelve second self-timer to let you get into your own pictures. The Olympus FE-120 stores images on xD-Picture cards, or 14MB of built-in memory. The camera also offers USB 2.0 High Speed computer connectivity, and power comes from two AA batteries, with disposables in the product bundle - so you'll want to budget for a set of rechargeable batteries if you don't already have some.