Available online for less than £100, Olympus' FE-210 is the least expensive of the budget offerings we've looked at recently. And there's very little to give away this budget price tag in its exterior, with its sleek styling and robust plastic construction.

On the inside there's a 7.1Mp sensor that's capable of conjuring images over 3,000 pixels across – this is in line with the other models at this price point. The 640x480 movie resolution is also equal to rival models. Elsewhere the specifications are competitive, with a 3x optical zoom – equating to 38-114mm in 35mm terms – partnered with a usable f3.1-f5.9 aperture spread.

The Olympus fares a little better with its generous 2.5in LCD. This, surprisingly, provides more detail than any of the other budget models. But what isn't a surprise is that the E-210 is lumbered with the same overly complicated menu system that frequently features in Olympus models. Another shortfall is the lack of manual ISO and white-balance adjustments.

This lack of manual overrides notwithstanding, the Olympus proves quite a nifty performer, producing reasonable detail and balanced colours in ideal conditions.

In trickier photographic situations, however, white balance can become muddled and noise is a persistent issue. We did notice some fringing concerns but overall the results are were pleasing.

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Olympus FE-210: Specs

  • 7.1Mp sensor
  • 1/2.5in CCD
  • 3,072x2,304 resolution
  • 640x480 movie resolution (30 frames per second)
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 38-114mm aperture
  • 2.5in, 156,000-pixel LCD
  • 60cm/10cm normal, macro focus distance
  • 1/2secs-1/2,000th shutter speeds
  • f3.1-f5.9 max aperture
  • 64-640 ISO range
  • 9MB internal storage (xD)
  • AA non-rechargeable battery
  • 90x63x31mm, 175g
  • Olympus Master 2.0
  • 7.1Mp sensor
  • 1/2.5in CCD
  • 3,072x2,304 resolution
  • 640x480 movie resolution (30 frames per second)
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 38-114mm aperture
  • 2.5in, 156,000-pixel LCD
  • 60cm/10cm normal, macro focus distance
  • 1/2secs-1/2,000th shutter speeds
  • f3.1-f5.9 max aperture
  • 64-640 ISO range
  • 9MB internal storage (xD)
  • AA non-rechargeable battery
  • 90x63x31mm, 175g
  • Olympus Master 2.0

OUR VERDICT

This lack of manual overrides notwithstanding, the Olympus proves quite a nifty performer, and it's a bargain at less than £100. If your budget stretches only to £90, this may be the snapper for you.

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