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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 3:Design

Review First Posted: 6/14/2000

The D-460 Zoom looks a lot like the preceding D-450 and D-400 models, with the exception of a black plastic back panel and a slightly different control layout. For the most part though, they look nearly the same. The D-460's small size and light weight make it extremely portable, and its smooth contours slip easily into most pockets. The D-460 weighs in at 9.5 ounces (270 g) and measures 5 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches (127 x 66.5 x 53 mm). With its accompanying wrist strap, the D-460 is easy to hold onto.

Olympus has continued the sliding lens cover design, which also acts as the camera's power mechanism. When the cover is slid open, the lens comes out into its operating position and the top status display panel comes alive. To shut the camera off, you just partially close the cover and wait for the lens to retract before fully closing the cover. It's a relatively hassle free design that keeps you from worrying about where the lens cap is, but we did find the need to pause to wait for the lens to retract slightly annoying. Besides the sliding lens cover, the front of the camera also holds the pop-up flash.

The shutter button, zoom control and status display panel live on top of the camera, all cleanly designed with a relatively flat surface. The smooth shutter button and rocker toggle zoom control just barely protrude from the surface.

The right side of the camera is quite plain, with only the hatch for the SmartMedia compartment appearing on it. (Actually, more of the card compartment hatch appears on the front of the camera, but you actually access the card from the side.) One minor annoyance, that actually is most likely a safety feature: In order to open or close the memory card compartment, you have to first close the front sliding cover. This is because the front cover obstructs access to the memory card hatch when open. As noted, this is probably a useful precaution against removing the memory card when the camera is writing to it (which can damage the card), but we found it slightly annoying. (Not as annoying as losing a card full of images to a write error, mind you, but annoying none the less. ;-)

The Video Out, DC and Digital jacks are all found on the left side of the camera (looking at the back), beneath a duotone plastic cover (bottom center) that snaps into place.

The majority of the camera controls are found on the camera's back panel, in addition to the optical viewfinder, LCD monitor and an indented thumbgrip on the right hand side. The control layout is where the main aesthetic difference lies between the D-460 and the preceding D-450. Here, Olympus has opted for a series of arrow buttons to help navigate through menu options. As with the preceding models, the controls were simple to navigate.

The D-460 has a nice, flat bottom, taken up mostly by the battery compartment cover. One small problem we noticed here is that the tripod mount is on the far left of the camera body. The reason we dislike this placement is that the mass of the camera, hanging off the edge of the tripod's mounting platform, places extra stress on the camera's tripod threads, and results in a less rigid attachment.

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