At just £55 or thereabouts, the Vivitar ViviCam F529 sits right at the bottom of the market in terms of price. Yet this compact camera boasts a 14.1-megapixel resolution, 5x optical zoom lens, 720p high-definition video and more. Could it be the bargain of the century, or is it an unspeakable waste of plastic and glass?
Too good to be true
For £55, you might well expect a camera's feature list to be pretty sparse. The F529 seems surprisingly well equipped, though, boasting, in addition to its aforementioned specs, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, an anti-shake system, and red-eye-reduction and face-detection features. It's also conveniently small and light.
Sounds too good to be true? It is. The shiny brushed-metal casing looks good from afar but, up close, you'll be able to see -- and feel -- how cheaply made the F529 really is. Everything from the tacky metal-look plastic rear to the hard-to-press buttons and the dodgy, spring-loaded SD card slot all reek of low-cost manufacturing.
Switch the camera on and you'll find yourself twiddling your thumbs for a good 5 seconds before you can actually take a photo. When the LCD screen finally spasms into life, you'll be treated to a blotchy, bleached-out, low-res picture that's barely adequate for composing your shots.
Sucks bad style
So far, so disappointing. But the F529's real problems aren't obvious until you actually start using it.