Using the included software you can also create postcards, calendars, contact sheets, indexes, etc. Below are examples of each and a final shot of all of them together. These photos were printed with another fine Olympus product, the
In addition to still images you can record short (depends on the size of the memory card) avi format movies with sound. With the included 32MB xD card that’s equates to about 90 seconds. Although it can record sound, this essentially amounts to a running play by play of what’s happening in the shot. Voices farther than 5-10 feet simply can’t be heard legibly. Hopefully though, you won’t be utilizing this feature to document your formative years. It’s not really the primary function of the unit. I would hope that this shortfall can be addressed in later offerings.
Once again, the keyword to remember is flexibility. The ability to use xD memory cards, Smartmedia cards and Compact flash (type I and II) while holding two of them simultaneously and switching between the two is one of the major selling points. Although the xD and Smartmedia use the same slot, so you must use either one and Compactflash.
Whether you are a professional or an aspiring amateur, this is one camera that will fill the bill. Its customization options will thrill even the hardiest of pros while the auto program mode and point and shoot simplicity will delight the budding Maplethorpe in all of us. It has an artistic flair combined with an ergonomically sound design. The controls are logically positioned and numerous enough to allow for optimum flexibility (there’s that word again). On the minus side, the software would be better received if it was a full copy, a no-brainer from my view. The sound quality on the movies leaves something to be desired, even for plain e-mail attachments. The shutter lag can vary from quick to painfully slow, depending on the speed selected. Finally, the numerous controls are a catch-22. I applaud Olympus for trying to give the user as much control over their shots as possible, but they can be confusing. Overall, I was impressed with the camera when compared to its other 5-megapixel counterparts. It isn’t cheap at ~$600-$800, but quality never was. Of course that’s just my opinion, your mileage may vary.