Steve's Digicams


D-620L User Review


Olympus D-620L

The Record/Play button is also the main power switch for the camera.  It will never get accidentally turned on in your camera bag as it requires a really good push in the center to turn it on or off. Going from Record to Play mode is quick and simple however.

The red lamp next to the shutter button is the selftimer indicator. Around the outside of the shutter button is the zoom lens control lever which is well positioned and easily operated without taking your eye off the viewfinder.

The top-mounted data LCD shows all the important camera settings at a glance.  Those five rectangles on the left indicate the storage positions used to buffer your pictures when shooting in continuous or burst mode.

Olympus D-620L

The top mounted mode buttons serve dual functions, in Record mode they are (left to right):

  • Macro mode/Spot metering mode
  • Selftimer/Sequence mode
  • Flash mode
while in Play mode (left to right):
  • Index-Display mode/Slide Show mode
  • Print mode
  • Erase mode
  • Protect button

Olympus D-620L

The buttons along the side of the LCD are (from top to bottom):

  • The Menu button
  • Move selection Up
  • Move selection Down
  • OK button accepts current selection
These buttons serve secondary functions to pre-set the focus distance at 8ft, 1.3ft or infinity. This is useful when the autofocus fails or to decrease the shutter lag time for rapid-action sports type photography.

Olympus D-620L

The D-620L has a serial I/O port, a printer port for direct connection to the P-300 and P-330 printers, a DC power input jack, and an external flash PC sync connector.

Olympus D-620L

The D-620L has a popup intelligent flash with the following modes: Auto-flash (automatic flash activation in lowlight and backlight), Red-Eye Reducing flash, Off (no flash), Fill-in (forced activation), Fill-in flash with extension flash only. The working range is 1-12ft in wideangle and 1-8ft in telephoto.

Olympus D-620L

Here's the SR Electronics RF-50 ringflash mounted on the D-620's 43mm-threaded lens barrel and plugged in to the external flash connector. Push the flash mode button on top until a little icon of an external flash gun shows up and you're good to go.

The threaded lens enables the D-620L use the same Olympus auxilliary wideangle and telephoto lenses that were made for the D-600.   Third party filters and closeup lenses such as those made by Raynox also work nicely.

Olympus D-620L

The battery compartment is conveniently located on the side of the hand grip and is accessible even when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

The D-620L is powered by four AA-size batteries and comes with a set of NiMH rechargables and a rapid charger, it is not recommended to use lithium batteries as these may overheat and damage the camera.

Olympus D-620L

The SmartMedia card access door opens widely however Olympus has used the old SM card slot which means the card has no ejector and must be manually extracted.   I much prefer the newer type of "push in and pop out" SmartMedia card slots, thankfully Olympus has employed one on the new C-2500L.

The D-620L is compatible with any size 3.3v SmartMedia card up to 16MB. Olympus does offer a 32MB SmartMedia upgrade for the D-620L.

You'll also find the master logic reset button located inside the SmartMedia card area. This is used to reset the camera's electronic brain in case it gets confused.

Steve's Conclusion

Although thrilled by the D-600L when it first came out (because it was a true SLR), I had some serious issues with its autofocus system. It often focused on the wrong thing when used indoors with the flash even though the intended subject was dead-center and filling 50% of the frame. I am happy to report that the D-620L does not suffer from this problem as I have been getting consistently well-focused pictures indoors and outdoors.

The D-620L is much faster at everything thanks to a generous RAM buffer and improved image processing hardware. It feels solid in your hand thanks to a well designed and large grip area. Having many years behind me as a professional film-based photographer, I love using single lens reflex cameras. There's never any doubt about what the camera will capture as you are looking directly through the lens.

Speaking of lenses, the D-620 has got a fairly fast F2.8 zoom lens that covers the range of 36-110mm (medium wideangle to short telephoto). It's a very sharp optic that yields some really colorful and well-saturated images. The white balance performs admirably and very seldomly needs to be on any setting other than automatic.

My only real gripe with the D-620 is the SmartMedia card slot that has no ejector mechanism at all. If you have big fingers like I do it can be really difficult to grasp the edge of those thin little cards. I always carry a small pair of needlenose pliars in my gadget bag for cameras like this. Olympus has seen the errors of their way and have put one of the newer type of SmartMedia card slots (with the ejector) on the new C-2500L.

OK, so I have a second gripe -- no video out.   The newer C-2000Z does offer live video output and it's really nice for studio photographers using an external monitor. It's also handy for us average Joes when we want to do some tabletop macro shots. It isn't real easy to lean in and look through the viewfinder all the time. I'm pretty sure that it has something to do with the camera being an SLR as even the new C-2500L lacks the live video out/LCD preview feature.

All in all, the D-620L is a very capable camera offering 1280x1024 resolution and very fast operation. It has recently been superceded by the 2.5 megapixel C-2500L so look for it to fall even lower in price which will make it look even more attractive to the buyers. I'd have to give the D-620L a solid two thumbs up, this is one fine performing camera.

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