Steve's Digicams

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Screens & Menus


Olympus D-490 Zoom

When using the Macro or Digital Zoom functions the color LCD is automatically turned on to insure proper framing of your subject.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Recording screen while in the QuickTime movie mode. The number in the lower left indicates the maximum recording space left on the card at the current quality setting. Each clip can be up to 60 seconds in SQ mode or up to 15 seconds if using the HQ mode. There is no sound as the D-490Z lacks a microphone.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

The D-490 Zoom's panorama assist mode uses these guidelines on the LCD to help you properly overlap your sequential images for the best possible finished panorama shot. (Only when using Olympus brand cards).

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Animated series of all Record mode menus and options:

  • Exposure Compensation (+/-): Adjust the EV from -2 to +2 EV in 1/2-step increments.

  • Metering: Digital ESP (matrix) or Spot.

  • Quality: SQ (Standard Quality), SQ High, HQ (High Quality), SHQ (Super High Quality or SHQ TIFF (uncompressed).

  • White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent or Fluorescent.

  • ISO: Auto, 100, 200 or 400.

  • Drive: Sequence or Single mode.

  • Function: Movie mode or Panorama mode (only if using Olympus brand SmartMedia)

  • Sharpness: Normal or Soft

  • File Number: Auto or Name Reset.

  • Beep Sound: Beep on or off.

  • Reset: Reset all settings to default values.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Typical Play mode screen showing the battery condition, image quality and the current picture number.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

As with most digicams the D-490 has a thumbnail preview mode to let you quickly search through your stored images. You can select 4, 9 or 16 thumbnails per page.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

To check your image in the field on the 1.8" monitor there is a handy zoom feature that is activated by the telephoto zoom switch. The image can be magnified 1.5x, 2.0x, 2.5x or 3.0x, you can pan around the image using the 4-way jog switch.

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Page 1 of the Play mode menu, options are:

  • Automatic Playback - rate at which pictures are displayed (this item is replaced by Movie Playback when playing movie clips)
  • Frame No. - During playback you can display either the Frame number or the File Number
  • Edit Frames - During movie playback you can edit the beginning or ending frames. In still mode you can select this option.
  • Delete - Delete image or format the SmartMedia card
  • Date Set - Set the camera's date and time

Olympus D-490 Zoom

Page 2 of the Play mode menu, options are:

  • Index - Set the thumbnail index mode for 4 or 9 images
  • LCD Adjust - Change the brightness of the LCD backlight

Steve's Conclusion

Olympus continues to refine the "classic" D-400 series cameras and the D-490 Zoom carries on the tradition in excellent fashion. The 2.1 megapixel images are always sharp, well-focused and the colors are right on the mark. This is point-n-shoot perfected in a pocket-sized package. And now you can also capture 15 to 60-sec movie clips, they will be silent though because the D-490 lacks a microphone.

The camera fits the hand nicely, the controls are easy to get to and as minimal as possible. The menu system is easy to navigate and understand without spending a whole lot of time with the manual. The zoom mechanism is a little noisier than I like but it is smooth and positive. Autofocus is quick and accurate under most ordinary shooting conditions short of darkness but there are the "quick focus" presets of 8ft and infinity to fall back on if needed.

The shot to shot time in single drive mode is nearly instantaneous until the RAM buffer fills up but most average users will never take that many shots in succession. If you want the ultimate in image quality there is the uncompressed TIFF mode but be prepared to wait a good 30-40 seconds between shots. Battery life is excellent especially if you don't use the color LCD a lot. I'd say you could easily shoot all day and then some on just one set of fully charged NiMH batteries.

I have always liked the sliding lens barrier instead of a lens cap that gets lost. All of the Olympus D-400 series cameras closely resemble their film counterparts in both look and feel so it makes for an easy transition to the world of digital. The only negative is that it has no USB port. It's just not reasonable to expect the user to download high resolution images via a serial port. Other than that minor complaint the D-490 is a great camera for the beginner or experienced digicam user and delivers excellent pictures time and time again.

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