The new VG-140 point and shoot from Olympus is the middle child in their ‘Smart V’ series. This camera is designed for a beginner or for someone who wants a basic shooter for those weekend trips to the beach. It packs in quite a decent feature set as well like 720p video recording, 5x optical zoom and plenty of scene modes to play around with. Let’s see if its performance matches up to its trendy looks.
Design and Build
Available in three colour trims, the VG-140 sports a full metal body making it quite sturdy and durable. The camera was still working fine after being dropped a few times (accidentally, of course!). The camera is fairly slim at just 9.3mm in depth and quite light as well at 125g, even with the battery. The design and aesthetic is trendy, which will definitely appeal to the fairer sex. There’s quite a bit of chrome bits all over as well, which makes it lean more towards looking a bit cheap, but that’s just my personal taste. In the front, we have the xenon flash, along with the AF assist light. The microphone is placed towards the bottom along the rim of the lens.
There’s a provision for the handstrap and microUSB port on the right, while the power and shutter release buttons are placed on the top. The VG-140 uses a Li-ion rechargeable battery (650mAh) that can be charged from the camera itself. This means you need not remove the battery to charge it, which is quite convenient. The compartment that separates the SD card from the battery is very flimsy and can be damaged when inserting the battery, if not careful.
Poor screen and button quality
All the controls are in the back, starting with a large 3-inch LCD display. There isn’t any optical viewfinder present here, since this is designed to be a basic, budget camera. Starting from the top, we have buttons for zoom, video recording, picture review, four-way navigation, menu and help. The quality of plastic used is quite poor and the fit and finish feels flimsy. The VG-140 comes with a carry pouch, charging cable, video-out cable and driver disk. Overall, the camera is compact and slim, but we aren’t completely sold on the fit and finish of the device.
The VG-140 is fitted with a 14MP sensor that uses their own lens. It has a 5x optical zoom with an equivalent focal length of 26-130mm. DIS mode let’s you shoot using high ISO settings with faster shutter speeds for reduced blur.
Decent zoom levels
The interface is pretty straightforward. To change the shooting modes, you hit left or right on the navigation pad and then scroll down to fine tune the settings. Scene mode lets you choose from a variety of settings like Sunset, Self Portrait, Indoor Sport, etc. Magic mode gives you access to various effects like Pin Hole, Fish Eye, Soft Focus, etc and a newly added Sparkle mode. Along with Panorama mode, we have Program mode that let’s you adjust the ISO setting. You can choose from ISO 80 all the way up to ISO 1600. The main menu is very easy to navigate through as well. In case you’re not sure what a particular menu does, simply hit the help button for an explanation. Video recording maxes out at 720p at 30fps.
The quality of the viewfinder is not great, as there’s some noticeable banding and colours appear muted and dull. Also, the viewing angles are too great.