The Olympus D-425 has a 4.1 megapixel, 1/2.5-inch CCD with 4 effective megapixels.
**The front of the Olympus D-425 has a simple design. There is a finger grip on the left side. However, it is slippery and made to feel polished - not a good material for gripping. The lens is on the top right. Around the circular lens are the words, "Olympus Lens 6.1mm 1:2.8." Above the lens is the brand name: "Olympus." The flash is located to the left of the lens near the center of the camera. To the left of the rectangular flash is a circular flash indicator light. Beneath the flash are the words, "Camedia Digital Camera D-425." The front has a simple elegance to it, with its few features and textured silver colored casing.
The Olympus D-425 is much more cluttered on the back than the front. The left side has a small LCD with the name, "Olympus" beneath it. To the right of the LCD are four buttons, laid out vertically. The top button has an icon of a camera next to it, obviously the shooting mode. The middle button has a green Playback symbol; the bottom button must be the Delete button because it has an icon of a trashcan next to it. The shooting and playback modes have orange and green indicator lights next to them. At the very bottom is a smaller Menu button, which is clearly labeled. To the right of these buttons and more towards the bottom of the camera is a larger four-way navigational dial with an OK button in the center. The dial is used to scroll through the menus, as well as initiate other functions. The left side of the dial doubles as a self-timer. The top of the dial is used to set flash modes. The right side of the dial can be pressed to select the macro or other focus mode. The bottom can be used as a Reset button to return all the camera's settings to the default. Above the four-way dial and to the right of the camera is the mode dial, within easy reach of the right-hand thumb. The following options are available on the mode dial: Auto, Program, Movie, Snow & Surf, Portrait, Sport, Night Landscape, Indoor, and Self-Portrait. The zoom lever is above the mode dial in the very top right corner. The left side has a "W" on it for the wide angle setting; the left side has a "T" on it for the telephoto setting.
The left side is fairly boring. There is a rubber port door that doesn't fit well into the hole. It is attached, but it's very loose. Beneath the cover is a jack for USB on top and a DC IN cable on the bottom.
A cheap plastic door graces the side of the Olympus D-425. The door has the word "Open" on it and a plastic finger grip for easy access. Beneath the door is a space for two AA batteries and a slot for the xD-Picture card. Above the door is a loop for the wrist strap. The loop is recessed deep into the camera and the space is not sufficient, so a needle or something very small is required to string the strap through the loop.
The top of the Olympus D-425 is not very exciting. On the left are the words, "4x Digital Zoom." On the right is a polished silver shutter release button.
There is no viewfinder on the Olympus D-425. The small LCD is the only view the user will get. This isn't all bad though. Most compact digital cameras in this price range will have a viewfinder - but it will be completely inaccurate. It's better to not even have the option to botch the framing of the shot.
The LCD screen is small at 1.5 inches, but at this price range, there aren't many cameras with LCDs larger than that. There are about 85,000 pixels on the D-425’s TFT color LCD screen. Despite its size, the LCD does its job. It is accurate and gives a good view of the subject and menus.
The built-in flash has four modes that can be altered by pressing the top of the four-way dial. Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill, and Off modes are offered. The flash is effective from 0.7-9.8 feet, which is average for a compact camera.
The Olympus D-425 has a 6.1mm fixed focal length lens that does not have any optical zoom. This is equivalent to a 36.7mm lens in 35mm photography. There is a 4x digital zoom, but it pixilates the images, even on the LCD screen. If users wish to print good photographs, it is recommended to use your feet to zoom instead of the digital zoom.
**Model Design / Appearance
**This model looks affordable. It has a cheap plastic casing that is colored silver and made to look brushed. The Olympus D-425 is compact, but not considered a slim camera. The design is a little odd on the back; the buttons look like they are scattered around next to the small LCD. Perhaps the worst design flaw is the placement of the lens. It is located in the top right on the front - in great position to be covered by wandering left-hand fingers.
**Size / Portability
**The Olympus D-425 is not a slim-line model but still remains fairly compact. It measures 4 x 2 x 1.4 inches and weighs a mere 4.2 ounces without the battery and memory card. The camera has a wrist strap, making it an easily portable option.
This camera is comfortable to hold and easy to control and shoot with. It is not small enough to feel crammed when shooting with two hands, yet can be controlled by just the single hand shooting grip if needed. Changing shooting settings with the buttons on the back of the camera can be a bit awkward because of their placement.
Control Button/ Dial Positioning/ Size
The buttons are adequate in size, but some are inadequate in placement. The back of the Olympus D-425 is a jumble of buttons, which aren't easy to find. The power switch is positioned on the front of the camera, but is large and clearly labeled.
The Olympus D-425 has two main menus, available when the Menu button is pressed. Depending on the mode the user is in, Menu options will vary. The two main menus are the Recording menu and the Playback menu. The following options are available in the Recording menu: Exposure Compensation, Image Size, Time, Language, Sleep Mode, Format, Pixel Mapping, and Panorama. Most of these options use icons, which can be a bit confusing. However, once the icon is selected, the name of the menu option appears with the sub-menu. The Playback menu has the following options: Print Order, Protect, Card Setup, Time, Language, Sleep, and Index (4 or 9 thumbnails). When modes are selected on the Mode Dial, a guide appears for about a second, which explains the option. For example, when the Program option is selected, a box appears on the screen: "Program: For auto shooting with adjustable control." This is a nice feature that explains the icons on the mode dial.
Ease of Use
Once users familiarize themselves with the odd placement of buttons on the back of the camera, the D-425 is easy to use. The shooting modes are easy to use; everything is based on the point-and-shoot concept. The menus are easy to find and easier to navigate. There is a built-in help guide that explains modes and options.
This camera is definitely a point-and-shoot, making the automatic mode its bread and butter. The Auto mode is clearly self-labeled on the mode dial. Once it is selected, the user only needs to zoom - if desired - and press the shutter release button. Everything else is, well, automatic. The auto mode is everything it needs to be: easy to find and easy to use.
Drive / Burst Mode
There is no burst mode on the Olympus D-425. This option usually is not found on cameras in this price range, so the lack of this feature comes as no surprise.
This mode is easily accessed by pressing the Playback button beside the LCD. The Playback menu has the following options: Print Order, Protect, Card Setup, Time, Language, Sleep, and Index. The Index option lets the user choose a view of four or nine thumbnails at a time. On the tiny LCD screen, the four-index option is better. Single frames can be rotated in the camera. Movie clips can also be played back on the camera.
The movie mode records at 320 x 240 resolution. This is good enough for e-mailing, but not enough to shoot feature films or capture fluid motion. Of course, not even the best digital cameras can shoot fabulous video clips; that's what camcorders are for.
Custom Image Presets
All of the scene modes are located around the perimeter of the mode dial. These include the following: Snow and Surf, Portrait, Sport, Night, Landscape, Indoor, and Self-Portrait. These seven scene modes are sufficient for the users who will own this point-and-shoot camera. The list is not extensive, but for $149, it is good.
Manual Control Options
This D-425 is a point-and-shoot digital camera. It really doesn't have manual options. The biggest manual control it has is exposure compensation. Other than that, most of the menu options are simple camera setup controls. This camera is marketed as a low-end model for budget consumers; in this price range, it'll be hard to find any manual controls.
The auto focus uses a contrast detection system. The Olympus D-425 can focus as close as 19.7 inches in the normal shooting mode and as close as 7.9 inches in macro mode. This isn't incredibly impressive. The focus in normal shooting range is about average, but the macro mode is insufficient.
There is no manual focus on the D-425.
The D-425 uses a Digital ESP metering system.
The Olympus D-425 does have one manual control - and it's the exposure compensation control. It can be adjusted from +2 to -2, which is common on compact digital cameras.
The white balance system is activated through the lens and works automatically only. There are no manual adjustments, so the user must trust the camera's judgment of what true white looks like in different lighting situations.
The ISO cannot be manually adjusted, but the camera will automatically select a sensitivity rating between ISO 50-250 depending on the lighting. This range is a bit short, even for a $149 camera. Most compact digital cameras do not dip below the standard 50-400 ISO range.
The range of shutter speeds is as fast as 1/1500th of a second and as slow as _ second in normal shooting modes. In the Night Scene mode, the D-425 slows down to 2 seconds. These settings cannot be adjusted manually; all of it is done automatically by the D-425.
The Olympus D-425 has a fixed 6.1mm lens with a fixed aperture of f/2.8.
**Picture Quality / Size Options ** R>The D-425 can shoot JPEG-format images in three different sizes. This is pretty impressive for a $149 model, as is its 4 megapixel potential for the price. The following image sizes are available: 2288 x 1712, 1600 x 1200, and 640 x 480.
Picture Effects Mode
This camera is a bare-bones, no-fuss point-and-shoot digital camera. It does not have any color or picture effects.
Olympus Master Software comes with the D-425.
Jacks, Ports, Plugs
There are two port doors on the D-425; one on each side. The left side has a rickety loose port door to a USB and DC IN jacks. On the right side is a plastic door to the two AA batteries that power the camera and the slot to the xD-Picture card. The D-425 does not have a video-out cable, which is unfortunate because it does have a movie mode. Clips can be transferred to a computer with the USB cable, but they cannot be transferred directly to a VCR or television.
*Direct Print Options
*The Olympus D-425 is PictBridge compliant and will work with any PictBridge enabled printer.
The D-425 has a slot for an xD-Picture card next to the batteries. The camera does not ship with a card, but accepts cards up to 512MB.
There is a self-timer that delays the camera by 12 seconds before it captures the shot.
For $149, the Olympus D-425 is one of the cheapest digital cameras on the market. It should be a strong contender for the beginner-on-a-budget crowd. This camera should satisfy beginner users for a matter of months, but a zoom lens will be missed by even novices.
As Naoki Tai, the product manager at Olympus Imaging America, Inc., put it, "The D-425 was developed with the first time digital camera user in mind. Every feature was designed for simplicity and ease of use." This simple point-and-shoot is definitely easy to use and has a small price tag on it of $149. However, the cheap plastic construction and lack of optical zoom is disappointing. This is probably the cheapest camera with 4 megapixels currently on the market, so as long as consumers don't use the digital zoom, the pictures should be decent quality and easy to obtain.
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