Reviewing budget cameras is tricky. Add in a brand name that is synonymous with another product category like light bulbs and appliances and taking the camera seriously is even more difficult. Such is the case with the GE X5.
During the 2010 holiday season I received a few reader e-mails asking me about the X5, and frankly I knew nothing about it. There are so many point-and-shoots released each year that brands like GE don't generally show up on my radar because reader interest is low. (The cameras are actually made by a company called General Imaging, but it licenses the GE brand.) But since readers took the time to e-mail me about it, I figured I should check it out.
It turns out that the X5 has several features that are important to what seems like a fairly large group of consumers: a wide-angle lens with a 15x zoom; an electronic viewfinder (EVF); semimanual and manual shooting modes; and power from AA-size batteries. There are other models with these features from more recognizable camera brands, but not at the X5's price; it starts at $180, but can easily be found for less than $130.
It's that price and its feature set that helped earn the camera its above-average rating. The X5 is capable of taking some nice photos, too, under the right circumstances. Pixel peepers will likely be disappointed, but its photos should be satisfying for many, especially considering the financial investment. It does not compete with a digital SLR, and something like the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS produces better photos (though it costs a little more and doesn't have an EVF). The X5's shooting performance is slow, too, so if you're considering this for photos of kids or pets, you'll probably want to look elsewhere (and, unfortunately, spend more money).
or click through the slideshow below to read more about the X5's photo quality.