Olympus Stylus Digital 500 Review

Click for our main menu

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Record Modes & Screens

Typical record mode screen. The "P" indicates Program AE exposure mode. In the center are the auto focus target marks, the zoom indicator (sliding bar) is displayed momentarily whenever the focal length is changed. Across the bottom is image quality, SHQ = Super High Quality, image size is 2560x1920 (5 megapixels) and there's enough space on our xD card for 142 pictures. Other icons indicate Macro focus mode, forced off flash, and the buffer level indicator (black box at the bottom right.)

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

When you half-press the shutter release it starts the autofocus process and if it locks you'll get the "focus OK" green icon (top left). The autofocus marks will also move to the selected area of focus. If focus fail you will get a red "can't focus" icon (not shown.)

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

To change the exposure mode you press the 4-way selector "Up" while in record mode. Then use the "Up" and "Down" buttons to select the desired mode from the virtual mode dial displayed on the LCD screen. Once you stop on a specific scene mode, a brief description of its intended use will be displayed (see above). This will help beginners find the perfect shooting mode for certain situations.

You can choose from 20 different modes: Program Auto, Landscape, Landscape+Portrait, Portrait, Indoor, Sport, Beach&Snow, Behind Glass, Self-Portrait+Self-Timer, Self-Portrait, Sunset, Night scene, Night Portrait, Cuisine, Documents, Candle light, Under Water Wide (Optional underwater housing required), Under Water Macro(Optional underwater housing required), Shoot&Select 1, and Shoot&select 2.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Press the OK/MENU button to bring up the Record mode Menu. You can use the shortcut menus to quickly change exposure compensation, image resolution, or adjust white balance. To access all menu options press the 4-way selector to the "Right" for the Mode Menu - see the next frame.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Shortcut Menu Options

    Exposure Compensation - Override metering by +/- 2.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps

    Resolution - SHQ or HQ (2560x1920), SQ1 (2048x1536), SQ2 (640x480 default or select 1600x1200, 1280x960, 1024x768)

    White Balance - Choose Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten (Incandescent), or Fluorescent 1, 2, and 3

Mode Menu Options


      ESP/Spot - Select ESP or Spot metering

      Drive - Single frame or Continuous

      ISO - Select Auto, 64, 100, 200, or 400 equivalents

      Digital Zoom - Enable or disable digital zoom option

      AF Mode - i ESP or Spot focus modes

      Sound Memo - Enable or disable sound attachment to still pictures

      Panorama - Enable Panorama mode (only if using Olympus xD card)

      2 IN 1 - Enable the 2IN1 exposure mode (takes two separate pictures and then merges them into one side-by-side image)

      Live Histogram - On/Off


    Card Setup - Format the xD-picture card


    All Reset - If OFF then current settings are remembered from power off to power on. If ON then all settings are reset to default.

    Menu Language - Japanese, English, French, German

    PW ON Setup - Select power up screen animation and sound level

    Color - Allows you to change the menu system's color scheme (Normal, Blue, Green, Pink)

    Camera Sounds - Adjust the sound levels (Off, Low, High)

    Shutter Sound - Select shutter sound theme

    Rec View - View image immediately after capture on LCD

    File Name - Select between Reset and Auto

    Pixel Mapping - Map out bad pixels

    Monitor Brightness - Adjust LCD backlight

    Set Clock - Set time and or date

    Video Out - Video out signal - NTSC or PAL format

Olympus Stylus Digital 500Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Press the 4-way selector to the Right to enable Macro focus mode and take closeup shots at a range of 8 in. - infinity from the lens, or enable Super Macro mode and get as close as 2.8-inches.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

The 2-IN-1 exposure mode lets you capture two different images and then merges them together inside of the camera to produce one completed image.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

The Panorama mode has an onscreen guide to help you make the best possible panorama pictures by getting the necessary overlap between successive images. Up to 10 frames can be captured and then stitched together with the Camedia Master software. You must use an Olympus brand xD-Picture Card to use the Panorama mode.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Here's the screen when using HQ (320x240) Movie mode. You can also use SQ (160x120) mode for smaller file sizes, which is great for sending clips via email, etc. The length of a movie is limited only by the available memory. Because sound is recorded, the zoom can not be used during recording but can be preset before. However you can enable to Digital Zoom and use it during recording, but it degrades image quality.

Olympus Stylus Digital 500

Pressing the Menu button in Movie mode give you access to theses options. From the shortcut menu you can use exposure compensation, change the resolution, and adjust white balance. The mode menu give you access to metering, ISO and the digital zoom.

Continue on to
Playback Features

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.