Olympus VR-350 Review

The Olympus VR-350, which is basically identical to the VR-340, is available in a variety of colors, depending on where you live in the world, including white, silver, red, purple, and black. The VR-340 and VR-350 are sold in different parts of the world.

Sub-$100 cameras are tough to recommend, despite the incredibly low price. Most of the time, these types of cameras have so many drawbacks that they're going to be extremely frustrating to use, making that money you saved seem hardly worth the hassle.

The Olympus VR-350 camera is one of those types of models. It just doesn't have enough good photographic options to make it worth using in most photography situations that have any kinds of odd lighting in them. If you're just shooting outdoor photos with perfect sunlight, the VR-350 may do a decent job for you. Try using this camera anywhere else, though, and the VR-350 is going to struggle.

The VR-350 does offer a 3-inch LCD screen and a 10X optical zoom lens, two features that you don't find in this price range very often, so you may be tempted by this camera. However, if you absolutely need a low-priced camera, there are other sub-$100 cameras on the market that probably will do a better job for you than the VR-350.

As a final note, the VR-350 is basically identical to the VR-340. In some places in the world, these cameras are called the D-750 and the D-755. That can be very confusing, but the camera's name depends on which part of the world in which you live. Essentially, you can consider the VR-340's features similar to the VR-350 for the review purposes.


  • Resolution:
  • 16 megapixels
  • Optical zoom:
  • 10X (24-240mm)
  • LCD:
  • 3.0-inch, 460,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size:
  • 4608 x 3456
  • Battery:
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions:
  • 4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight:
  • 6 ounces (without battery and memory card)
  • Image sensor:
  • CCD 1/2.3 in.
  • Movie mode:
  • HD 720p


  • Low-priced camera
  • 10X optical zoom is rarely found in this price range
  • Plenty of explanations pop up on the screen, which helps beginners
  • Realistic colors in images
  • Good quality LCD screen


  • Poor response times
  • Image quality could be better, as most images have some softness
  • Menu structure is odd and limited
  • Very small control buttons
  • Very limited movie options

Image Quality

Don't let the 16MP of resolution that you're going to find with the Olympus VR-350 fool you. This camera doesn't do a great job with image quality, in part because it uses a small image sensor of 1/2.3 inches. The camera's other electronics are also a bit below average, which contributes to the image quality issues.

Softness is the biggest problem with the VR-350's images. Although some of this camera's photos appear pretty sharp, most have a very annoying slight blur to them. You may not notice this problem when viewing the images on the camera's LCD or when making small prints, but once you blow the images up larger for a print or to view on a computer screen, you're going to be very disappointed in the softness of these images.

Colors are accurate with this camera. Compared to other budget-priced cameras, the VR-350's image quality with the flash is about average.

I was disappointed in the fact that Olympus only chose to provide one resolution setting for 16:9 aspect ratio images, and it's only 2 megapixels. For every other resolution setting, you must shoot at a standard 4:3 ratio. This is an odd choice by Olympus, to say the least.

Movie resolution is limited to 720 HD with this camera, and you cannot use the zoom lens while shooting movies, which is very disappointing. This will make it very tough to follow a moving subject while shooting movies. Although it was common several years ago to have the zoom lens unavailable while shooting movies with your digital camera, this rarely occurs with newer cameras, so it's odd to have this situation with the VR-350.


The star feature of the Olympus VR-350 is its 10X optical zoom lens, something that's almost never found in a sub-$100 camera. Additionally, you can move through the entire 10X zoom range in about 1 second, which is pretty fast for a low-priced camera.

The LCD screen that Olympus included with the VR-350 is pretty large and sharp for a camera in this price range. However, the LCD has some significant glare problems when you're shooting photos outdoors. This means that you're going to have to increase the LCD's brightness to a higher level when shooting outdoors. Fortunately, this camera's battery has a pretty good lifespan to help you deal with this problem successfully.

The positive aspects of the VR-350's performance end there, though.

This camera's response times are awful. Shot to shot delays are far too long, which means that you really need to take the time to line up your photos properly the first time because you're probably going to have to wait several seconds before you can shoot a second image.

Shutter lag is another huge problem for the VR-350. You're going to want to pre-focus whenever possible by pressing the shutter button halfway, which will reduce some of the shutter lag issues. The burst modes that are available with the VR-350 don't help a whole lot, unfortunately.

Start-up seems a little slow with this camera, too, which is disappointing. You can speed things up slightly by turning off the start-up image. As slow as this camera's performance is overall, it's really unfortunate that Olympus made the start-up image a default setting, because most beginning photographers probably won't know that they should turn off the start-up image.


Compared to other sub-$100 cameras, the VR-350 is a little chunky, which occurs in part because the camera's designers needed to accommodate the 10X optical zoom lens. It's still a pretty small camera, measuring only 1.1 inches in thickness, but it's not going to qualify as an ultra-thin camera.

The front of the VR-350 has a slightly raised area, which serves as a bit of a hand grip for the fingers of your right hand. Again, this is something you don't always find on a low-cost camera, which does make the VR-350 a little more comfortable to use than some other similarly priced models.

I found that the positioning of the built-in flash was a bit odd. During my test shots, I often bound that I inadvertently blocked the flash with the fingers on my right hand. This will lead to very uneven image quality with flash photos, which means that you must reshoot the photo, which can be very frustrating because of the shot-to-shot delays from which this camera suffers.

The design of the VR-350's menus is another frustration. They're oddly organized and it takes a long time to maneuver through the menus because they respond so slowly... much like the rest of the camera. Olympus did include a popup menu option to give you quick access to common shooting settings as part of the main shooting screen, which was a nice touch. Olympus also included quite a few help features as part of this camera's software.

Finally, the camera's control buttons are small and difficult to use for anyone who has large fingers. Although this camera has some nice features listed in its specifications — headlined by the 10X zoom and the large LCD screen — those aspects alone cannot make the VR-350 a good camera. If you choose to buy this budget-priced camera for those two features, just do so with the understanding that the VR-350 (or the VR-340) is going to work slow and have some image quality issues.