Vivitar Sells Camera With Imaginary Optical Zoom, Hopes No One Notices

When shopping for a digital camera, it’s good to carefully weigh your photography needs, the amount you wish to spend, and the specifications of different cameras. Unfortunately, doing so requires that the advertised specifications for a camera be accurate. That’s what the UK-based site DigicamReview and several reviews on Amazon say that Vivitar sort of forgot to do with their Vivicam 8225. While the inexpensive camera advertises a 2X optical zoom, advanced users claim that there’s no optical zoom at all.

DigicamReview noticed that the actual camera differed slightly from the one pictured in publicity images, and warned users not to buy it.

The camera uses a CMOS sensor and promises an “optical zoom lens” – the image quality from the 2x “optical zoom” photos looked more like digital zoom to me, and you would expect to be able to see MORE detail in the optical zoom photos, but I could not – in fact the movement of the “zoom” lens looks suspicious – it was fully extended when on wide-angle, then would zoom in and out while zooming in in a somewhat meaningless way. Then when I noticed hot pixels from the CMOS sensor that MOVED when using the “optical” zoom I had to investigate further. I removed the front plastic element from the lens (this improved image quality as ghosting issues disappeared) then I removed the glass lens element from the moving “optical zoom”.* Yet AMAZINGLY the “Optical zoom” still worked!! How can that be? Oh yeah, it’s not real optical zoom, it’s simply digital zoom.

“It also advertises ‘Optical Zoom,’ and by that they mean: ‘Turns image into pixilated mess,'” notes one Amazon review.

Have you encountered any of these same problems? Let us know in comments or by e-mail.

Vivitar Vivicam 8225 Review – Do Not Buy! [Digicam Review]