Olympus Stylus Digital 500 Review
Features & Controls
The Stylus 500 is equipped with an Olympus aspherical glass 3x zoom lens, 5.8 - 17.4mm (35 - 105mm equivalent in 35mm photography), 5 elements in 3 groups with 3 aspherical lenses. It has a 4x digital zoom feature. The maximum aperture is F3.1 (W) / F5.2 (T).
The TTL contrast-detect auto focus system covers from 20" to Infinity in normal mode, from
8" to infinity in macro mode, and from 2.8" - 8" in Super Macro mode. The lens retracts
fully inside the camera when the camera is powered down and is protected by an
automatic closing metal barrier.
There is no optical viewfinder, you frame, review and perform menu operations on this large
2.5-inch (6.35cm) HyperCrystal LCD monitor with approx. 215,000 pixels of resolution. It delivers a
high contrast image with a 160° wide-view radius. And while conventional LCD screens appear
dim against bright light, the HyperCrystal LCD provides excellent visibility in any light
condition - on the beach or on the slopes.
The built in speedlight features Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill
and Forced Off modes. The flash range is 8" - 11.8 ft. (W) / 8" - 6.6
ft. (T.) Flash recycle time is less than 5 seconds.
On the top you'll find the Power button and Shutter Release.
Controls on the back: Top is the zoom lens control which also functions as the magnified
playback and index mode buttons when in play mode. The Mode Dial has positions for
Record, Movie, Playback and Album Selection.
The 4-way selector is used to navigate menu screens and select images for playback. In
record mode the "Up" button calls up the onscreen menu for the Scene mode (see page 3), the "Right" button toggles Macro focus mode, the "Down"
button enables the Selftimer and the "Left" button selects the desired Flash mode. The OK
button calls up and dismisses the menu system and accepts menu selections. The QUICK VIEW
button allows you to view the last image captured without having to go into Play mode. To
the left of the mode dial is the built-in all-weather speaker.
An optional AC power adapter can be connected to the 4.8V DC IN port. The A/V Out port sends the audio/video to a television set, the video format is user selectable for NTSC or PAL standard. Data I/O is via a Mass Storage compliant USB v1.1 port, no driver is required for Windows Me, 2000, XP or Macintosh OS 9.1+/OS X systems.
Note the black rubber O-ring inside the I/O port door. Olympus states the
camera is "weatherproof and is not damaged by water spray from any
direction" as long as the rubber ring is intact and the I/O port door
is properly closed.
Still images and movie clips are stored on removable xD-Picture Card flash memory cards. Olympus supplies a 32MB size card. Olympus brand xD-Picture Cards are required to use the camera's built-in Panorama feature. 16MB to 512MB xD-Picture cards are now available.
Power is supplied by a LI-12B 3.7v 1230mAh Li-ion battery pack. Olympus does
not specify the battery runtime. The included LI-10C charger lets you charge
one battery while using another. Lithium battery packs can be charged or
"topped off" at any time without shortening the service life of the battery.
The optional PT-026 underwater housing is made of durable transparent polycarbonate with grips and levers fashioned out of distinctive red-colored polycarbonate. The transparent nature of the housing ensures that users can view their shots with ease, as well as show off the stylish bodies of their cameras. It provides waterproof protection to depths of up to 130 feet.
The housing features fluorite (FL) glass lens windows for greater clarity when shooting photos underwater. To reduce glare caused by sunlight on a digital camera LCD, the housings feature an LCD hood located on the outside back of the housing that makes viewing the LCD easier above and below water.
The housings' stainless steel nickel-plated brass mechanical control buttons, also sealed with silicon O-rings, allow full access to the cameras' functions and menus. With the touch of levers, zoom and shutter are easily operated. For crystal clear shots, the integrated flash diffuser panel cuts down on glare from particles suspended in the water that otherwise would create a haze in the image.
The PT-026 will be available in the summer of 2005.
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