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Olympus VG-150 Overview

Posted: 01/11/2012

The Olympus VG-150 features the combination of a 1/2.3"-type, 12 effective megapixel RGB CCD image sensor and an Olympus-branded 4x optical zoom lens, which offers a 35mm-equivalent range from a useful 27mm wide-angle to a moderate 108mm telephoto. Sadly, the Olympus VG-150 lacks true mechanical image stabilization, instead opting only for what Olympus calls "Digital Image Stabilization", which increases the ISO sensitivity (and along with it, both the shutter speed and image noise levels) to try and freeze motion. ISO sensitivity ranges from a low of ISO 100 to a maximum of ISO 1,600 equivalent. A 2.7-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution offers the Olympus VG-150's only option for framing and reviewing images, as there's no optical viewfinder on this model.

Maximum image dimensions in the VG-150's native 4:3 aspect ratio are 3,968 x 2,976 pixels, and the camera also includes a 16:9 aspect ratio mode, albeit limited to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) pixel resolution. The Olympus VG-150 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera's image sensor, and the VG-150 also includes face detection capability, linked to both the autoexposure and autofocus systems, ensuring that your subjects' faces are taken into account when determining both these variables. AF tracking technology continually adjusts focus and exposure to keep fast-moving subjects in focus.

As well as still image shooting, the Olympus VG-150 offers VGA (640 x 480 pixel) standard definition Motion JPEG movie capture. A rechargeable LI-70B Lithium Ion battery with charger is included with the VG-150, although no information on battery life was available at press time. Images are stored in a rather limited 18MB of available internal memory, as well as on Secure Digital memory cards, including the newer SDHC types, but not the latest generation SDXC cards. Images and videos can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection, and there's also a standard-definition video output.

The VG-150 includes a variety of what the company terms Magic Filters, which are similar to the in-camera Art Filters first introduced in Olympus digital SLRs in 2009. Magic Filters include Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish-Eye, Soft Focus, Drawing, Sparkle, and Punk . A generous 14 scene modes are offered in the Olympus VG-150, plus a Program Auto mode, allowing users some degree of control over their images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds and apertures. Scene modes include Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, and Pet. There's also an Intelligent Auto mode which can automatically select from a subset of available scene modes.

The Olympus VG-150 is not currently scheduled for sale in the US market. In Europe, it should ship from early March 2012, with pricing of about €70. Available body colors include black or silver.