I needed a camera ASAP for a weekend trip and checked around the internet to see what was available. The GE X500 digital camera with all of its features looked like it would be more than adequate, so I printed the manual off with the intentions of buying the camera the next morning- which was the start of the trip. Unfortunately, no GE X500s were available at the local Walmart, so I bought the GE X400 instead. (I had not read anything about the GE X400 the night before). The sales person helped set it up ready for action with batteries, memory, strap and case, and I was out the door for $173.71. (AA batteries and strap came with it. The user manual is on CDROM).
That evening, I read the X500 manual to try to figure out the primary functions of the X400. (This was my first new camera since my late 1960's 35mm SLR#. I had concerns about the negative reviews for the GE X500-- where some people complained about blurred photos. However, since my photos would be of vintage race cars, I figured out a couple of settings to experiment with next day. I understood that the elapsed time for photos would be longer with this camera-- something like .7 seconds for the shutter-- so I knew I could not just snap off photos without using some kind of support for the camera.
The next day I used the camera to take many photos-- all outdoors. Sometimes I would take the same shot using different settings just so I might get one good one out of the batch. It was bright sunlight for almost all of the shots, but some of the photos were under the shade of awnings or tents.
Because of the bright sunlight, sometimes I could not see all of the subject in the LCD screen. This seemed to occur for long distance shots. However, for photos of a vehicle where the target filled the entire LCD screen, there were no problems in viewing the subject.
Even with only the basic information for a similar GE camera, the operation of the GE X400 seemed easy to understand and execute. The zoom lens made it easy to take a photo of a vehicle further down on the other side of the staging lane or of the vehicle immediately in front of you. Again I had concerns of the quality of the photos, since there were negative comments on the GE X500 about the sharpness of the photos at full zoom. #I did not have the time to check the results of each photo in the LCD screen#.
After my arrival back at my home, my first task was to use the CDROM to print a copy of the GE X400 User Manual and download the ArcSoft MediaImpression software onto my PC. Once that was done, I would be able to copy the photo images from the camera to my #primary# Windows Vista personal computer using a USB port.
It was easy to print off a copy of the User Manual, but it was absolutely impossible to download the Arcsoft software. After trying numerous drives and techniques, selecting the "Install ArcSoft MediaImpression" button would not invoke any type of response. After successfully installing the CDROM's ArcSoft on my backup Windows XP personal computer, I recognized that there was a problem with the installation code for Windows Vista #only#. I suppose the software installation would work okay for Windows 7 or 8, but not on Vista. #Note: I reported this problem to GE Customer Service, but have not received a response yet#.
Using my old XP PC, I was finally able to copy in all of the photos I took the day before at the race track. EVERY PHOTO WAS SHARP AND CLEAR. There were no blurry photos and I was real pleased with everything that was attempted. Now that I am armed with the GE X400 User Guide and a little time to experiment, I think all of the other features will be a bonus.
Do I have any complaints? Yes. Besides the problem with the installation of the ArcSoft software on the Windows Vista PC, it sure would be nice to have basic instructions on how to use the ArcSoft MediaImpression software that comes with the camera. I find myself poking around the dark trying to understand how some of the software functions work. I was hoping I would find a copy of the Arcsoft MediaImpression User Manual on the internet, but the only thing I found was for a Kodak camera. I suppose I could buy the full retail ArcSoft product for $79.99 and download it, but all of the support items for the software should be provided with the GE camera.
Bottom line: The camera's functions and performance are worth the price, in my opinion. I am just scratching the surface of its capabilities and after I gain a little experience with the camera #and software#, this should be one of the better bargains I have come across.
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