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Olympus Brio D-100

Olympus uses tricky optics to build a sleekly compact 1.3 megapixel digicam with excellent image quality!

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 5/6/2001

Executive Overview
Slightly larger than a deck of playing cards, the 1.3-megapixel Olympus D-100 is the smallest model we've seen to date in the Olympus digicam line. The camera measures just 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches (110 x 62 x 34 mm), and slips easily into a shirt pocket or small purse. Its trim-line, all-plastic black body is accented with gold features, and weighs only 5.8 ounces (165 grams) without batteries. A sliding clamshell lens cover serves as the power switch, thus eliminating the need for a lens cap, while the limited external controls and menu options support the D-100's claims of "ultra fast point-and-shoot" design.

The D-100 offers both an optical, real-image viewfinder and a rear panel, 1.5-inch, 118,000-pixel, TFT color LCD monitor. When the LCD monitor is engaged, it automatically displays basic camera information, including the current image quality setting, number of available images, and battery status. The built-in fixed-focal-length 4.5mm lens is equivalent to a 36mm lens on a 35mm camera, and features both normal and macro shooting modes. Aperture is automatically controlled, with two settings at f/2.8 and f/8, and the autofocus system is based on a contrast-detection system. Though there is no optical zoom available, the D-100 does offer a 2x digital zoom for enlarging images, however readers are reminded that digital zoom inherently decreases overall image quality.

The D-100's simple, point-and-shoot design employs a Digital ESP metering system, which averages readings from the center of the frame to determine exposure. Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to 1/2 second, limiting the camera's low-light shooting capabilities. The user can adjust exposure compensation from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV), in one-half-step increments, providing a simple method of overriding the autoexposure system. Also under user control is the camera's white balance setting, which offers Auto, Clear Sky, Cloudy Sky, Incandescent Lamp, and Fluorescent Lamp modes. The built-in flash operates in either Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-In, Forced Off, or Night Scene modes, extending the camera's low-light shooting range slightly. There's also a 12-second self-timer and a Continuous Shooting mode for capturing a rapid series of images.

The Olympus D-100 ships with an 8MB SmartMedia memory card for image storage (larger capacity cards are available separately). Images are saved as JPEGs with three image quality settings available: Super High Quality, High Quality, and Standard Quality. Both Super High and High Quality settings record at the 1,280 x 960-pixel resolution size, while Standard Quality records at the 640 x 480-pixel resolution size. You can connect the camera directly to your computer via a high-speed USB interface to download images, and if you want a larger monitor for image playback, Olympus also supplies a video output cable for connection to a television set. Software shipped with the unit includes Olympus' Camedia Master 2.5 utility package, which provides minor organization and editing tools, in addition to USB drivers for Mac and Windows systems.

The D-100 is clearly intended for those consumers who want an easy-to-use digicam that requires very little user intervention to produce good quality pictures. By eliminating the need for detailed decision making, exposure control, and other extraneous features, the D-100 provides the freedom to simply turn on the camera and shoot. Its small size makes the camera very portable, its uncomplicated user interface ensures a very short learning curve, and it's photos are first-rate.


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