Olympus X-44

Camera of the month: September 2020

Olympus X-44 compact camera
Olympus X-44

Released in 2011 the Olympus X-44 is a little wonder. Anyone interested in pocket-sized retro fun that takes great pictures please keep reading as here I will explore what beautiful little machine can do. In 2011 I was busy teaching adults how to use cameras just like these as well as DSLR. Obviously, since the rise and rise of the mobile, most people do not own a compact camera anymore. However, for those of you who still like to feel a camera in your hand that won't ring or bleep messages at you to interrupt the quiet stillness of capturing an image, lets take a closer a look.

First of all if you would like to see the full specifications please find them here:

Olympus X-44 Spec
Download PDF • 275KB

I will not bore you with all the techie details as these are easy to read. Firstly before I began I put in two AA batteries and an SD card so an easy start no special wires or equipment needed. I then started to check out what functions the camera has and how I could use these. So on a damp and grimy day in Leicester I trotted off out the house to see what I could find. I set the camera on P mode, put the ISO at 200, and as the day was a bit grimy I over-exposed by 0.3 to start, white balance was on auto. All of these settings were easy to find in the drop down menu on the right hand side of the screen and I could easily manoeuvre with the arrow buttons. This first image is the door of St George's Serbian Orthodox Church off Orton Square. As you can see the image is pretty sharp and although the colour is a little muted here, you will see that with a little adjustments the pictures get better and better.

F3.5, ISO 200, 1/25, FL 36mm, no flash

F4, ISO 200, 1/10, FL 44mm, no flash

I was playing with the macro function here and on super macro this was a pretty good result - you do however need a steady hand here as the shutter was down to 1/10 and so it was hold your breath and keep very steady as you press the shutter button. The shutter button you do have to actually press down firmly so this was, I thought a good achievement here. Finding the sweet spot and holding still with a half pressed button tricky but worth it!

F4, ISO 200, 1/13, FL 44mm, no flash

I did have a play with some of the 'magic' features and scene modes - these can be useful sometimes but I did not feel any particular need to use them. I then started to take some more images where I wanted to really see if I could get the colours to pop, the picture below still a little muted and this seems be the case with this camera however again sharp and crisp detail.

F4.6, ISO 200, 1/40, FL 64mm, no flash

Check out the detail on this one, something easy to find in Leicester broken glass and mild destruction however in this there is beauty as this image is a testament to.

F3.5, ISO 200, 1/30, FL 36mm, no flash

As you can see for a small camera you can achieve great things. I will say though that as it is small if you have large hands you may find it a little fiddly and my suspicion is that this is another of those Olympus cameras that was aimed at girls (you know easy to use, handbag sized, made for small feminine hands and not too complicated for our little heads!) Lucky for Olympus, I forgive their misogyny as I thoroughly had a good time with their little machine. Also camera misogyny is never surprising...

I leave you with the beauty of this statue to commemorate war heroes from Leicestershire from 1899-1902 Boer War on the town hall square. Beautiful image, great camera to play with and although it is a compact I do believe great images that would reach the status of fine art can be taken with this little miracle.