"Sharp digital images and 5x optical zoom."3.5 starson by BigAl35540
Pros: 5x optical zoom is a big plus! Very practical "Scene" mode customizes the camera for certain kiinds of photographs. Love the "orange" color, it's a real looker!
Cons: Serious battery and power quirks! Flash WILL NOT remain turned off even with RESET turned off! Unexplained slow shutter speed in bright daylight resulting in blurred image. Ocassional problems saving to the card, camera locks up!
Summary: I have been doing photography for 40 years and this my first digital camera I have purchased. My camera has the identical features of the "silver" model but is done up in a bright orange color! It's very distinctive and quite attractive! The camera has an EXCEPTIONAL optic, a 5x optical zoom that is sharp as a tack! This is one of the strongest points of this camera in fact. On the back it has a 2.5-inch LCD screen and a button that allows you to get extra brightness in daylight situations, (a viewfinder shade would be nice!), so you can see to compose the image. The zoom is operated by sliding a lever back and forth around the outside of the shutter button. Unfortunately I don't find it precise enough and frequently find myself zooming back and forth several times before I can get the exact framing I want. A slower speed would rectify this problem. When in optical zoom the slider bar on the bottom is white, when you enter digital zoom mode the remaining part of the bar is yellow. There is no doubt about which mode you're using unless you've turned the display functions off and see only the picture. You can do that by cycling through the display functions. There is also a mode that will show you where to place the subject using the rule of thirds. This is particularly nice! Another feature included on this camera is the "Scene" mode allowing you to optimize the camera for certain photographic stuations. My experience is that this works real good! I've taken some incredible pictures using a couple of these modes.
Unfortunately, ths camera has some glaring qurks that take getting used to and sometmes are very puzzling! Typical of Olympus digital cameras I've seen in the past, it's EXTREMELY FINNICKY about batteries! It gets good life on Lithium dry cells but when power does finally run out if you put a brand new set in immediately, the camera continues to say the battery is dead and powers down...weird! You have to leave the batteries out for over a minute and that clears the problem. With the accesories a set of 3200 MaH NiMh rechargeables are provided and the camera runs on these fine but shorter than I would like! I tried other NiMh rechargeable batteries other than those provided and curiosly it wouldn't even run on those fully charged! I'm scratching my head about that one! With Alkaline dry cells, the camera works but battery life is real short particularly shooting movies. So this camera is a typical Olympus power hog! Another idiosyncracy is an ocassional tendency to lock up saving an image to the XD card. The only way to clear this is to remove the batteries from the camera! It will not power down or anything when it gets stuck in that mode. NOTE: You're going to have to retake the picture, your image that was trying to be saved will be lost. I haven't figured out why this happens yet! I also find the autofocus and metering somewhat slow and unpredictable. There are frequent focusing errors even in good light. Also why does the camera use to slow of a shutter speed blurring the picture in good light? Image stabilization mode can sometimes rectify this, but this should never happen in AUTO or PROGRAM modes and it does! Probably the most annoying trait of this camera is turning the flash back on after using availabe light for a shot and ruining your next image with harsh flash light! Even turning RESET to OFF doesn't stop this problem, only lessens it! I find this REALLY IRRITATING!
The camera does shoot good movies but the audio is quite loud and there are ocassional bits of distortion that occur on a loud transient. Other than this it does well. The movie format is .avi editable in Windows Moviemaker and I Movie, whichever platform you use. The 8-megapixel still camera image can produce a very nice 11x14 print and I have made several from some of the images that I have taken!
If you have Adobe PhotoShop or Gimp Image Manipulation program, this software is FAR SUPERIOR to anything on any of the Olympus CD's provided. These aren't necessary because the camera is recognized by both Windows and Apple machines as a removable storage device. Most card readers will not read the XD card provided so use the mini USB port on the camera with the accesory cable. The Olympus software tends to put these images where it wants and not let you use them or move them into folders you might like them to be in. I would recommend not installing the software and just using your computer with the same stuff you would use with a flash drive.
Overall alot of camera and lense for the money! Some may dislike the tempramental attitude this camera gets ocassionally and I would recommend trying one out first before buying it. I do like mine but ocassionally I get annoyed at it's quirks!