So Olympus scored points by using an excellent lens on their digital camera, but of course there’s more to a camera than just a lens. One of the things that are often disappointing is how responsive some digital cameras are. For example when pressing the shutter, many cameras don’t immediately take a photo, but there’s a delay, the so called ‘shutter-lag’. Another thing that is annoying is the fact that many cameras, also some of the new 8 megapixel ones, take a long time to power up, which could mean you miss that one moment you wanted to capture. Fortunately the Olympus doesn’t disappoint in either category here either, the camera responds directly to any button you press and there’s no noticeable shutter lag. As for power up, it is basically instant, blink your eyes once and you’re ready to go.
The LCD monitor folds out in a number of positions, as shown here.
But how does it compare to the other cameras? Good question, lets start off with looking at the lens once more. Many 8 megapixel cameras have a 10x optical zoom, which is nice, but usually can’t be used properly without a tripod and many shows signs of image distortion at full telephoto. So what would you rather buy? A camera with twice the zoom power which you can’t really use shooting out of hand, or a camera with less zoom, but with no image distortion and a much wider field of view. But there’s more, many of the manufactures chose to refresh older designs, with less bright lenses originally intended for 3, 4 or 5 megapixel cameras. This means that these cameras will need longer shutter times than the Olympus to capture the same image. In practice this means that moving objects that’ll be out of focus on the other cameras due to longer shutter times will be in focus on the Olympus.
The controls are positioned so that they're in easy to reach locations.
As for controls, the Olympus needs some getting used to, as with any digital camera. Once you’ve mastered the controls though, changing settings becomes a matter of almost intuitively pressing the buttons and browsing through the menus. Often used buttons are also placed on easy to reach locations. As with most semi-professional cameras, which this Olympus certainly is, there is a wealth of options for the seasoned amateur. But naturally a full automatic mode is also available, where the camera will determine all settings for you, simply requiring a press of the button to take a photo. Another plus is the fact the the Olympus accepts normal Compact-Flash media cards and not just their proprietary xD media card of which a 32MB card is supplied.