See how the Olympus FE-190 fares against the Sony Cybershot DSC-W50 in this
battle of 6-megapixel, 3x digicams.
Degree of creative control? The Sony Cybershot DSC-W50 has more user-selectable options such as white balance and ISO speed.
Both cameras have a digital shake reduction solution -- ISO boost is what Sony calls it, while Olympus calls it DIS (Digital Image Stabilization). We prefer optical or mechanical shake minimizing technologies, but that's not to be found on either of these models. The Olympus also offers a Pixel Mapping function to test and correct for dead pixels.
Movie mode? Of course, that's par for the course on compact digicams. Both record at 640x480 at 30fps with audio, but only the Olympus allows you to zoom while recording.
But bells and whistles (or lack thereof) are just a small part of the equation. The thing that matters most to us at PopPhoto.com is image quality.
And in almost every test shot, the Sony Cybershot DSC-W50 outperformed the Olympus FE-190. And when both cameras produced virtually the identical image in terms of exposure and color balance, the Sony showed sharper detail with less visible chromatic noise.
The decision between these two cameras for the budget-minded buyer is not an easy one. The Sony Cybershot DSC-W50 feels cheapish, and it is $50 more than its competitor, but it makes better photos under most conditions.
The Olympus FE-190, on the other hand, is ridiculously easy to use, is quite solidly built and inexpensive for its megapixel class, and the photos it makes will be OK (but not great) in small print and on-screen formats.
Our advice: If you absolutely cannot spend more than $200 for a digicam, get the Olympus FE-190. It is OK for small prints and email sharing, and it will most probably outperform and outlast any cheaper off-brand 6-megapixel camera from a brand you've never heard of.
But if you can up your budget just a bit, spend the extra $50 and buy the Sony Cybershot DSC-W50. It is a worthwhile upgrade in image quality, for not a whole lot more.