If a camera comes with the highest price tag in its product line, you'd think it would be the best. The Olympus FE-200, however, proves otherwise. Although it boasts the nicest lens and costs more than other FE-series cameras, this 6-megapixel shooter wholly disappoints.
At 6.6 ounces and just over an inch thick, the FE-200's metal body comfortably slips into a pocket, though it's a bit chubbier than other compact cameras. With so few manual settings, the camera's controls are fairly simple--large, flat buttons and a control pad that's comfortable even for large hands.
The FE-200's biggest selling point is its lens, a nice, wide 28mm-to-140mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens that gives it the best range of the FE-series. Plus, its digital image stabilization mode (not to be confused with the more effective optical or mechanical image stabilization, found in pricier cameras) helps reduce shaking when zooming in. Aside from its decent 5X lens, however, the FE-200 sports few interesting features and even fewer manual controls. Numerous scene presets help you prepare the camera for different shooting situations, but you can't change specific settings beyond exposure compensation and image size. The camera even sets white balance and ISO automatically.
Curiously, the FE-200 lacks the TruePic Turbo image processor found in Olympus' less expensive models, the FE-180 and FE-190. It's a strange omission, although it's clear why the camera suffers from irritating speed and color issues.