Olympus 720 SW Review
Olympus Stylus 720 SW Operation
Operating the Olympus Stylus 720 SW in any of its automatic modes is fairly straightforward, as the camera remains in control of the exposure at all times. The Record Mode button on the rear panel accesses the range of preset shooting modes, as well as the Program and Image Stabilization modes. The Arrow pad lets you change exposure compensation and flash mode without entering the menu system, and also accesses the Macro and Self-Timer functions. The OK/Funct. button in the center of the Arrow pad not only confirms menu selections, but also pulls up a small Function menu outside of the main menu, for quick access to Drive mode, Program/Auto exposure mode, and a handful of other common camera settings. All remaining options are adjusted through the camera's settings menu, which is simply laid out and navigated. A button on the rear panel accesses Playback mode, while pressing the Shutter button quickly returns to shooting mode. Overall, the 720 SW is a snap to operate, and shouldn't require too much downtime to get to know.
In record mode, the LCD monitor displays the subject with a fair amount of overlaid information, indicating approximate battery life remaining (graphically), flash mode, focus mode (macro or normal), autofocus mode setting, any currently-selected exposure compensation setting, ISO setting, White Balance, Drive mode, the current size/quality setting, and number of images that can be stored on the remaining memory space at the current size/quality. A variety of other camera settings may appear on the LCD monitor when set to anything other than their defaults.
In Playback mode, the image display shows the most recently captured image, with an information overlay that reports basic camera settings, plus any print settings, and the image number and sequence number. Pressing the wide-angle zoom button takes you through a series of index display modes, with 4, 9, 16, or 25 images to the page. Pressing the telephoto side of the zoom lever when viewing an image full-size on the LCD screen will zoom in on the image, and you can use the arrow keys to pan the view.
Olympus Stylus 720 SW Modes and MenusProgram / Auto Mode: Accessed by pressing the Record Mode button once, this mode offers either Program or Auto exposure mode settings through the Function menu. Program mode lets you adjust camera settings such as white balance and exposure compensation, while Auto mode keeps the camera in charge of everything except zoom and image resolution.
Image Stabilization Mode: A second press of the Record Mode button enables Image Stabilization mode, which attempts to reduce the amount of blurring from camera movement.
Scene Modes: A third press of the Record Mode button displays the Scene menu, offering 25 preset modes for capturing images in specific situations. "Scenes" include Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available Light, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select1, Shoot & Select2, Beach & Snow, Underwater Wide1, Underwater Wide2, Underwater Macro, Underwater Snapshot, and Movie. Most of these modes are fairly self-explanatory, though a handful deserve further explanation. The Shoot & Select modes both shoot a series of sequential images, then let you edit the series post-capture and save only the images you want. The Underwater modes balance color for underwater shots, boosting reds for a more true color balance. The camera's Movie mode captures moving images with sound, at either 640 x 480, 320 x 240, or 160 x 120 pixels.
Playback Mode: The Playback button on the rear panel enables image review mode. In this mode, you can scroll through captured images, delete them, write-protect them, and set them up for printing on PictBridge-compatible printers. You can also copy, resize, and rotate images, as well as turn images black and white or sepia.
Record Menu: Available in all Record modes, the Record menu is accessed by pressing the Menu button. An initial shortcut screen pops up with options for Image Quality, Setup, Camera Menu, Scene, and Reset. The Camera Menu option offers the following options (some options are not available in all modes):
- Image Quality: Offers SHQ (3,072 x 2,304), HQ (3,072 x 2,304), SQ1 (2,560 x 1,920), and SQ2 (640 x 480) still image resolutions. Movie resolutions are 640 x 480, 320 x 240, and 160 x 120.
- Reset: Resets all camera settings to their defaults.
- Setup: Accesses the Setup menu.
- SCN: Accesses the Scene menu in Scene mode.
- Camera Menu: Displays the following options:
- White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the image, to suit the light source. Options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, and Fluorescent 3.
- ISO: Adjusts the camera's light sensitivity. Options are Auto, or 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600 ISO equivalents.
- Drive: Sets the camera's drive mode to Single Shot, Continuous, or Hi Speed Continuous.
- Metering Mode: Chooses between Digital ESP (default) and Spot modes. Spot metering reads the exposure from the very center of the frame (identified by a cross hair target on the monitor). Spot metering is handy for backlit subjects, or any time the subject and background have very different brightness levels. Digital ESP mode reads the entire frame to determine exposure.
- Digital Zoom: Turns the camera's 5x digital zoom on or off.
- AF Mode: Sets the AF mode to iESP or Spot.
- Sound Recording: Enables sound recording for a short caption to accompany an image file.
- Panorama: Activates the camera's Panorama shooting mode.
Playback Menu: As with the Record menu, a shortcut menu appears when pressing the Menu button, before accessing the main Playback menu.
- Slide Show: Enables an automated slide show of the captured images.
- Edit: Offers a few image editing tools, as follows:
- Resize: Changes the resolution to a smaller size, and allows you to save the smaller image as a separate file.
- Redeye Fix: Automatically removes any redeye from a captured image.
- Black & White: Converts the image to black and white monotone.
- Sepia: Converts the image to sepia monotone.
- Frame: Allows you to select a digital "frame" and save a separate image file with the selected border.
- Title: Similar to the frame function, this option lets you select from a range of preset image titles to apply to the image, then save the titled image as a separate file.
- Calendar: This function lets you associate an image file with a calendar date, for display on a graphic calendar.
- Brightness: Adjusts the overall brightness of an image.
- Saturation: Adjusts the color saturation of the image.
- Index: (Movie files only.) Lets you select nine frames of a movie file and save them as a single file, in index format.
- Print Order: Sets the number of prints and date information for images you'd like to print.
- Calendar: This is a shortcut to the Calendar function listed under the Edit menu, which associates a captured image file with a calendar date.
- Setup: Accesses the main Setup menu.
- Index: Shortcut to the Index function for Movie files, this function lets you select and save nine frames from a movie file as an index-style image.
- Erase: Displays the single image erase menu.
- Album: Shortcut to the Album Entry function below, this lets you mark an image for display in a digital album.
- Playback Menu:
- Protect: Write-protects the current image (or removes protection), preventing it from being deleted or manipulated in any way except with card formatting.
- Rotate: Rotates the image 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise.
- Sound Recording: Lets you record a short audio clip to accompany a captured image.
- Album Entry: Adds a captured image to a digital album.
Setup Mode: This mode allows you to change a variety of camera settings, and is accessible through each of the camera shortcut menus.
- Format: Formats the internal memory or xD-Picture Card, erasing all files (even protected ones).
- Backup: Copies images from the internal memory to an xD-Picture Card.
- Menu Language: Selects the language for the LCD menu display.
- Record/Play: Sets whether you can use the Record Mode and Playback buttons to turn on the camera.
- Power On Setup: Controls whether an image and sound are played on startup.
- Screen Setup: This option lets you register a captured image as the startup screen.
- Color: Changes the color of the menu displays. Options are Normal, Blue, Black, and Pink.
- Beep: Adjusts the volume of the beep sound played when a button is pressed.
- Beep Volume: Adjusts the volume of the camera's warning sound.
- Shutter Sound: Selects the type of sound and volume of the shutter noise.
- Volume: Controls the playback volume.
- Record View: Activates an instant image review function, or disables it.
- File Name: Resets file naming with each new memory card, or continues the numbering from card to card.
- Pixel Mapping: Runs a self-check of the camera's CCD. Olympus recommends only running this function once a year.
- LCD Brightness: Adjusts the brightness of the LCD display.
- Date and Time: Sets the camera's internal clock and calendar.
- Dual Time: Sets the date and time for another time zone, so you can track time at home versus local time while traveling.
- Alarm Clock: You can set an alarm to occur either one time only, or daily.
- Video Out: Sets the timing of the video output signal to either NTSC or PAL.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.