For a budget camera, the FE-190 performed well. This little shooter took 2 seconds from power-on to first shot, with a 1.9-second wait for each additional shot. With the flash enabled, shot-to-shot time was 2.8 seconds. The camera's relatively zippy shutter lagged just 0.7 second from button press to shot in bright light, and 1.7 seconds in dim light.
Like other FE-series cameras, the FE-190 has almost no manual controls. Besides macro, flash, and EV compensation, the only way to change the camera's settings is through its various scene presets. It automatically controls aperture, shutter, focus, ISO, and white balance. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since even running on autopilot, the camera produced some very attractive pictures.
Colors were rich and saturated and stayed accurate even in indoor lighting. Some automatic white balances yielded severely yellow photos under incandescent light, but the FE-190 managed to produce a very neutral and even image in our tungsten-lit lab. We noticed some lens distortion at the widest end of the zoom lens, but nothing that would seriously damage an image. Unfortunately, the camera's lack of ISO settings prevented us from running our standard noise tests, though as can be expected, images shot without flash in low light tended to be rather noisy. Other than noise, the biggest problem the FE-190's photos faced were some processing artifacts that softened details, but even they were negligible.
The Olympus FE-190 excels as a budget, ultracompact snapshot camera. It doesn't have many settings to fiddle with but doesn't really need them, thanks to its well-designed automatic mode. This camera is pocketable, affordable, and a good choice for any user willing to sacrifice control for other boons.
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|