Olympus VG-170 review

New 14MP compact camera offers premium features at bargain price

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Olympus vg 170 review

The Olympus VG-170 packs a huge number of features into its small body and boasts a very attractive price. With headline figures of a 26mm lens, HD video, 3D image capability, a large flash and ease of use, this compact camera will appeal to many new photographers.

We liked

The easy to use Olympus VG-170 boasts a wide range of features for a bargain basement price. The camera's many features are all logically set out and enable even beginners to get the most of the camera.

We disliked

Despite all the impressive headline statistics, the camera doesn't produce the highest quality images, and anyone wanting any manual control will be disappointed. Build quality could be better, and some functions feel slow in use.


For those starting out in photography who want an undemanding, simple to use camera, the Olympus VG-170 fits the bill. In the main, exposure, metering, white balance and speed are all good enough for casual photographers for whom ease of use and features outweigh absolute image quality.

However, anyone who wants any form of manual camera control or has exacting image quality standards would do better to look elsewhere.

While many of the Olympus VG-170's novel features are fun to experiment with, the camera would be improved if it covered the basics better, rather than trying to do everything.

It's great that the camera offers a high resolution, large flash, HD video and 3D images, but these are all compromised by the sometimes indecisive autofocus, the smearing of detail, noise levels and imperfect overall image quality.

For beginners who want a raft of quirky features and ease of use and aren't concerned about ultimate image quality, the Olympus VG-170 is a great choice. For everyone else, the slightly flawed image quality means that other similarly priced cameras might make a better choice.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution14 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilySmart
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedEye-Fi Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationDigital
Optical Zoom5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, 3D Panorama
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMotion JPEG (AVI)
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)147 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4288 x 3216
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height62.5 mm
Width103.7 mm
Depth22.2 mm
Focal Length4.70 mm to 23.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelVG-170
Product NameSmart VG-170 Compact Camera
Product LineSmart
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV106090BE000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

Experience a compact and convenient point-and-shoot camera - but with a truly brilliant extra: Besides being absolutely easy to handle, the new VG-170 provides a flash nearly twice as powerful as on a regular compact camera. The Guide Number is approx. 8.8, in contrast to 4 to 5.6 with comparable cameras. Thanks to the long flash mode you can even light up faces and objects up to fully 15 meters away, as it automatically selects higher ISO sensitivity. 14 Megapixels and a 5x wide optical zoom (26-130mm*) enable effortless close-ups and wide-angle shots. In addition to the big 3" LCD, 720p HD Movie with sound and lots of automatic features and effects, be sure to get a high quality photo or movie every time. With its slim, stylish body and sturdy retro design, the VG-170 could be mistaken for a high-end camera - until you learn about the fantastic low-budget price!

Package Contents
  • Smart VG-170 Compact Camera
  • LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
  • F-2AC AC Adapter
  • CB-USB7 USB Cable
  • CB-AVC5 Audio / Video Cable
  • 3D Glasses (Red / Cyan)
  • Hand Strap
  • World Wide Warranty Card
  • Instruction Manual
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty2 Year