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Olympus D-460 Zoom

Olympus updates a popular 1.3 megapixel model with improved features and a simpler interface.

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 6/14/2000

Executive Overview
Anyone already familiar with Olympus digicams will immediately notice the similarities in design between the D-450 Zoom and the new D-460 Zoom. The D-460's silvery body features glints of gold highlights and a flat black back panel. Its small size and smooth contours make it very compact and portable (and pocket friendly). As with the D-450, a built in lens cover also serves as a power switch and eliminates any worry over missing lens caps. All the main controls reside on the back panel of the camera, with the exception of the shutter button and zoom lever, which are on top. A small groove gives your thumb a natural place to grip the camera and makes it easy to shoot one handed.

An optical and LCD viewfinder are both located on the back of the camera. The optical viewfinder features a dioptric adjustment dial to accommodate eyeglass wearers, and green and orange LEDs which clue you in to the camera's status. The LCD viewfinder can be turned on and off with an adjacent button. The 1.8 inch screen features a TFT color display and 61,000 pixels.

The Olympus 5.4 to 16.2mm zoom lens (equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera) offers a maximum aperture ranging from f/2.8 to f/4.4, depending on the zoom setting. Focus ranges from eight to 31 inches (20 to 80 cm) in Macro mode and from 31 inches to infinity (80 cm) under the normal setting. A TTL autofocus function utilizes an efficient contrast detection system for precise focusing. For shooting in low-light conditions, the camera offers two "quick focus" presets of 8 ft (2.5m) and infinity. The optical zoom lens is controlled by the Zoom lever on top of the camera, and an optional "digital zoom" function can be engaged by pressing the Macro/Digital Telephoto button.

Since there's no mode dial on the D-460, the camera is placed in Record mode automatically when the lens cover is opened. From here, you can leave the camera in charge of the exposure, or you can adjust things such as white balance, flash, spot metering, ISO and exposure compensation (EV) through a menu system employing the LCD screen and rear-panel controls. An added feature on the D-460 is the ability to shoot in Normal or Soft sharpness settings. Aperture and shutter speed are controlled automatically. A Self-Timer and sequential shooting mode are available when in Record mode, via the back-panel buttons. The flash is activated by simply flipping it up and offers six settings (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-in Flash, Forced Off, Slow Shutter Synchronization Auto and a Slow Shutter Synchronization with Red-Eye Reduction). White balance also offers five settings (Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Incandescent and Fluorescent light), all controlled through the Record Menu. Exposure Compensation (EV) can be adjusted from 2 to +2 in 0.5 EV (f-stop) units, also through the Record Menu.

The Self-Timer gives a 12 second delay with a countdown before the shutter fires and the Sequence Mode allows you to shoot approximately two frames per second, depending on available memory and image quality. A Panorama mode is also available on the D-460, accessible through the Function Menu. (Note that the Panorama option is only enabled when using Olympus-branded SmartMedia storage cards).

Another big plus is the ability to change the ISO setting on the camera. Through the Record Menu, you can select Auto, 125, 250 and 500. While the higher ISO values produce images with more noise in them, they're invaluable for capturing images that would be impossible otherwise.

Images are stored on 3.3V SmartMedia cards (an 8MB card comes with the camera) with choices between SQ (Standard Quality), HQ (High Quality), SHQ (Super High Quality) and Non-Compressed TIFF.

A Video Out cable allows you to connect to a television set for image playback. A software CD comes with the camera and provides the Camedia image transfer and manipulation software, which now also includes a panorama-stitching tool, for both Mac and Windows operating systems. (The tool works on all recent Mac computers, but iMac owners will need to purchase a USB-based card reader to import their photos.)

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