The 16-megapixel VG-190 works the VG-170 with only a few simple changes. They are so identical, it would be complicated to tell them apart if viewed from the front. It weighs only 151 grams, which may be because of the small lithium ion battery that powers it.
The VG-190 sports the same lens as the VG-170: the lens begins from 26mm (35 mm equivalent) and extends to 130mm, translating to 5x optical zoom. It would have been nice if Olympus had added optical image stabilisation, but like the VG-170, the VG-190 too uses digital image stabilisation. The large high intensity flash has been maintained and the 3-inch 460K dot LCD monitor has too been left unchanged.
The style of the control panel is simple. There’s a specific button for video recording at the top right corner, right next to the thumb grip. Videos can be recorded at up to 720p, 30 fps, but optical zoom is not available while you are capturing videos. Below it is the playback button, a 5-way d-pad and menu button. The right side is home to an eyelet for wrist strap and a USB port secured by a flap.
The user interface is standard of all Olympus digital cameras. You press the OK button in the middle of the D-pad to bring up a stack of controls on the right side of the display screen. Right at the top of the stack is the Mode selection option. The available modes contain Program, iAuto, DIS (digital IS), Beauty, Super macro, Scene, Magic filters and Panorama assist. What we found most exciting was Beauty mode, that is meant to make your subject look more beautiful. It is like a digital makeup kit. If used occasionally, the faux makeup can actually make your subject appear more beautiful.
The VG-190 manages noise best at ISO values up to ISO 200. ISO 400 and higher should only be used as last resort in very low light. But then you have a highly effective flash that can help expose subjects up to 15 metres away.
For outside photos, the camera does very well as long as the subjects are not under direct sunlight. Shoot in shade and you will get the best results—outstanding details, punchy colours and good skin tones. Photos of subjects and scenes shot in direct sunlight seem washed out due to wrong exposure. Also, far away objects appear fuzzy and lack details. Another issue area is purple fringing around objects towards bright backlight. This was more obvious around the corners and borders of the frame and less in the center.
We say, the all round performance of the VG-190 is average. The only strong points of this camera are its effective flash and the great Beauty Mode, which is fun to use. For the kind of overall performance and features it offers, we found the Olympus Stylus VG-190 priced quite high. The addition of a big flash does not quite justify the premium it commands.
Price: Rs 8,490
Dimensions (WxHxD): 103.7 x 62.2 x 22.5 mm
Weight: 151 g
Resolution: 16 MP
Focal length: 26-130 mm
Optical zoom: 5x
ISO range: 100-1600
LCD monitor: 3-inch, 460k dots
Video recording: 720p, 30fps
Internal memory: 37.9MB.
Contact: Olympus Imaging India Pvt Ltd