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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just about ok for price, 6 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Vivitar V5119 - digital cameras (Battery, Compact camera, 100, 200, 400, Auto, Red-eye reduction, TFT, CMOS) (Electronics)
To start with I must explain that I didn't buy my camera from this seller, or even via Amazon. That said, I'll go straight to the bad stuff to explain why only 2 stars.

Firstly is the fact that this camera only records movies WITHOUT SOUND. I suppose it's just possible that my sample was a dud - more on that in a moment - but all other functions worked as well as could be expected on an ultra-budget camera so I just assumed that 'silent movies' were one of the price-point limitations with this model. Very disappointing even for a young child if s/he wants to make their own little films. I was especially angry at the fact that this soundless recording isn't mentioned in any review or description - as a matter of fact, some product sales blurbs actually state 'No Video Capability', which might avoid disappointment if you believed it and bought one of these anyway, but it's a misleading description. You CAN film movie clips, but only silent ones. If it turns out that I'm wrong and someone can authoritatively tell me that this really was just a fault with my sample I shall of course immediately amend this review and the rating.

The second reason why I've marked the product down is because my sample died abruptly after only moderate use. It happened after I had just changed the batteries, which were cheaper ones from a pound store but the brand was 'Ford', with the motor company's familiar logo. Other electrical items work perfectly with these same batteries so I have no way of knowing if they contributed to the camera's demise. But it seems doubtful as they were ordinary AAA alkalines and the camera should have been fine with them. It's possible that I was unlucky with my sample, but such a brief working life is unimpressive.

And it leads me to the third gripe I have with that particular purchase, which is the apparently total absence of any sort of customer support or help from the manufacturer. In fact I was unable to even find a way to contact them. Worth pointing out that today's incarnation of 'Vivitar' has no relationship with the respected optical company who marketed the revered 'Series 1' lenses a few decades ago. They were dissolved and the company name came up for grabs like so many others (Dunlop, Slazenger, Polaroid etc..)

But there are a couple of good things to say about this camera. I bought one for my 7 yr old daughter and picture quality is acceptable for a child's first camera, i.e. not so bad that it will do more harm than good by putting kids off photography when they see the results of their efforts. In fact, provided that lighting conditions are good and you don't expect too much, it would even be adequate for an adult who had no aspirations beyond (very) basic snaps.

Creative potential is limited as you'd expect, but there are a few options to control flash output which is a pleasant surprise at this price point. The zoom function works - sort of - but it's entirely digital. Put simply, this means that the camera just 'crops' the image and expands what's left to fill the sensor and, with a cheap lens to start with, the result is that even a slight magnification degrades the image noticeably.

Others have moaned about the difficulty of removing the cover to change the batteries. This isn't actually a problem once you know how to do it, although it certainly isn't obvious or intuitive, and the fact that the instructions don't tell how to do it is indicative of the company's helpfulness.
What you need to do is grip the camera as if you were holding a large sandwich with both hands, i.e. thumbs at the back and fingers front (or vice-versa, whichever you find most comfortable). You then squeeze back and front together firmly, at the same time sliding the front to the left and the back to the right. Or the other way around, I can't remember now. But it doesn't matter; the whole front panel just slides off quite easily; if it doesn't then just reverse the sliding directions.

If your child is young, and maybe won't notice or care about the soundless film clips, then this camera is ok for the cheap price, which is £19.99 at time of writing. In good light pictures aren't too bad as long as you don't need fine detail, in moderate light they're still acceptable given the price. In low light, or to introduce any element of creativity you'll really struggle. If my own sample hadn't died so prematurely I'd have awarded three stars, but even then I would still have recommended checking out other options.
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