This review appears in the August issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Olympus categorises its digital camera range as high-end, creative, stylish and easy. But, considering the price, you wouldn't expect this to be a high-end model. Its design is spare and muscular, sporting a minimalist screen and functional button designs. There's even a studded thumb grip.

In use it doesn't quite deliver the power hinted at by its honed physique. It's not a bad model for the price, but even when writing to its built-in memory, we found the shot-to-shot time disappointingly slow.

It sticks to a diet of xD-Picture cards and has 28MB of internal memory for emergencies. Framing your shots with the tiny 1in LCD viewfinder will be more luck than judgement.

On paper, the FE-115 has marginally better specs than the BenQ E520+. It has a 2.8x optical zoom supplemented by a 4x digital zoom, and an antishake function, which we had great fun testing on a juddering train. We were impressed by its ability to capture clean images when taken at 30mph. The FE-115 coped fairly well with motion capture, which works at a rate of 30 frames per second.

However, it has some of the same issues as cheaper cameras. The scrollwheel is all too easily knocked – we know well the disappointment of thinking you've got loads of space on your memory card, only to discover it's full when you're lined up for the perfect shot.

We were pleased to find that Olympus has swapped the proprietary batteries found in some of the digital cameras it was touting last year. This can take a pair of standard AAs if the chargeable duo supplied give out.

And we were taken with the simply laid-out Olympus Master transfer software, which allows you to tag images and movie clips with keywords, dates and icons. You can then preview them or perform basic edits.

Olympus FE-115: Specs

  • 5Mp
  • 1/2.5in CCD
  • 28MB internal memory
  • xD card slot (up to 1GB)
  • ISO 64-400
  • 2.8x optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • 38-106mm lens
  • 2cm macro mode
  • 1.5in LCD viewfinder
  • PictBridge direct photo printing
  • 2x AA NiMH batteries and charger supplied
  • 87x63x38mm
  • 140g
  • 5Mp
  • 1/2.5in CCD
  • 28MB internal memory
  • xD card slot (up to 1GB)
  • ISO 64-400
  • 2.8x optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • 38-106mm lens
  • 2cm macro mode
  • 1.5in LCD viewfinder
  • PictBridge direct photo printing
  • 2x AA NiMH batteries and charger supplied
  • 87x63x38mm
  • 140g

OUR VERDICT

We wouldn't say this was the greatest budget camera, and it's got a pretty limited feature set. But Olympus has put together a low-cost camera that is incredibly easy to use and records as much video as your memory card allows.