Top positive review
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Superb active lifestyle camera
on 15 July 2013
Firstly let me make this very clear. The battery can go in both ways but only one way will work! I lost an hour trying to get the camera to charge straight away and it wouldn't! And all because the supplied battery can fit in back to front...
Anyway, the battery is in and it charges well so here's the review
Thanks to a couple of very hot days days and being a friend of a friend at a barbecue with some people who wonderfully had an outside pool (!), I was finally able to test the waterproof ability this weekend
There are four specific water functions, one is macro based (close up) two are specific (underwater action and underwater landscape) and one is a generic pool shot. This is the one I used and it was perfect for ridiculous selfies underwater. As the day got a little bit darker then the flash really does come into it's own and works really well
As it is shockproof as well, you can rest assured that dropping it in the pool and letting it sink won't do any damage at all, in fact you can set the timer, sink it onto the floor and swim down for a cool shot...
The screen could be a little brighter when using underwater, even using goggles it was quite dark and when the light hits it at a certain angle it becomes completely silver and reflective making it hard at times to get a proper shot.
Filming underwater works very well as well, there are perhaps too many filming functions for my liking in what is supposed to be a camera as opposed to a camcorder but then you don't have to use them all
Using the camera above water it is also shockproof and ice proof, just what I needed during a ramble down Cornwall way during a British summer. The macro function is extremely good, I was able to get some incredible close up shots of butterfly's and bees atop flowers.
The panoramic function also works extremely well and while the camera will tell you to be very slow, even if you speed it up a bit the camera works extremely well and compensates accordingly providing a very good panoramic shot. And even when the obligatory drizzle happened, because it's waterproof I was completely confident in using it
There is a compass function and GPS as well, I didn't use the GPS as I was concerned about battery life - see below
Now then, there are a couple of special scene functions which are slightly bonkers.
There is a dog face recognition and a cat face recognition function- no seriously... When selected, the camera will automatically take a picture when it picks up either a dog or a cat depending on which one you chose.
Nw the first time we used it with my neighbours dog it actually went off taking a photo of her bosom - cue lots of jokes about it recognising "puppies"
Joking aside, it does sort of work but not very well. You will have a lot more success just deciding when you want to take the photo yourself rather than ending up with a blurry shot of half a dog and half a cleavage!
There are magic frames as well which give you the option of a few special effects. Nothing too surprising here, fish eye, soft focus etc. Sparkle can be fun in the right circumstances and the reflection one which mirrors the screen can take some very odd shots with a little patience and a couple of pints.
The majority of these magic effects can be used when filming as well and therefore can be used when filming underwater as well which resulted in a couple of very trippy effects!
Downsides - the battery life isn't as good as I would expect. I fully charged it before going swimming and noticed we were down to two bars (out of three) relatively early on. Now, don't misunderstand, the camera was being used continually underwater and the battery didn't run out, just lost a bar earlier than I expected however I wouldn't feel confident taking it away for a weekend without the charging leads.
Speaking of which, rather annoyingly the charging leads are specific to Olympus, if you are anything like me with various electronic devices this is a bit of a bug bear having to have another specific lead for one device
Overall, this camera is excellent. I'm really happy with it and it is definitely going to suit certain people with outgoing lifestyles however, even if you aren't likely to go ice climbing in the Artic this is still a brilliant waterproof camera which is going to be perfect for holidays (and the occasional hot day in Britain)