Olympus IR-300 review
See my images to assess for yourself. I am very happy with this camera.
I bought this camera to be a permanent fixture in my pocket. I have an Olympus E-1 dslr and wanted a very small camera for the times that the pro camera was too much of a hassle. I have a sony W-1 but consider it too heavy for a shirt pocket and it's like a brick in the trouser pocket. It's early days with the little ir-300 but I must say it seems to be as I expected in terms of image quality and in some areas way better than I could have hoped. I didn't expect too much after owning a dslr for some time but had taken test shots in the shop with various micro contenders such as the Sony L1. I prefered the colours of the Olympus image ( taken on a sunny evening). None of these little cameras will blow you away with image quality for long distance scenes and you need to be prepared to do some post processing. I find that the images are very good when resized and sharpened for the web. I am surprised that the noise is well controlled and not objectionable in everyday shots. I don't print my shots but I am sure most users will be happy with conservatively sized prints.
I think the nicest aspect of the design is the ergonomic feel of the camera. It is well made, feels built to last and feels good to shoot with. Although very compact, the buttons are easy to locate and menus seem logically set out. The dock is set up as an external storage device and is attractive on the desk.
I consider that the camera functions as well as I had hoped and is very comfortable and pocketable. If you are after great image quality and this is your only camera you may be slightly disappointed. My four stars for quality is based on a comparison of similar sized cameras.
The macro mode ( with flash) is outstanding - far better than my expensive dslr and there is a super macro (no flash obviously) There are lots of scene modes but options are all point and shoot. Like most sub-compacts you have no way of fixing ISO or setting speed and this is a pity for the advanced user. Realistically I guess this is not the type of target client for sub compact cameras.
Does this camera suit my needs? Yes. I think most people will choose this camera for its super portability and will find its image quality good to excellent ( depending on difficulty of shot and experience of the user) for normal use.
Here are some sample photos taken within a few days of picking up the camera. 10 images
A few months later...
I am still very happy with this little camera. The video mode seems ok - uses apple quicktime. Looks good if you zoom in first then start rolling.
Things I appreciate most are the compact size ( so small I am continually patting my pocket to see which one it is in), docking station ( camera is always charged and ready to download from), easy to use ( gave it to my 8 yr old grandson to take the new baby photos as I was overseas), macro mode ( see the web images I've posted), excellent construction ( has been sat on several times), convenience ( sometimes I am just too lazy to pull out the dslr camera), print quality is very good to excellent from my entry level inkjet - very usable at A4 print size. As a super compact second camera it is excellent.
The review ( two above) should be read with caution and should observe the Dpreview courtesy of at least owning the camera for a reasonable time before posting critical comments.
I can send an emailed fullsize photo to anyone who wants to print an A4 sample - firstname.lastname@example.org
Not so far and given the very good build quality I don't expect any.