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The front of the camera has two different brushed silver surfaces, one seemingly more polished than the other. The left side acts as a finger grip. On the right side of the camera is the 3x optical zoom lens, labeled "Olympus Lens 3x Optical Zoom 5.8-17.4mm 1:2.8-4.8." The actual glass lens looks like a small window that is in the bottom right of the lens barrel. When turned off, a protective cap slides over the lens. When powered on, the lens rotates into position. To the top right of the lens are two features: the LED and microphone. The LED light looks like a black dot until the self-timer is activated; it then turns a red color and flashes, indicating the picture will be taken. Below is the microphone, which consists of seven dots arranged in a circle. To the top left of the lens is the rectangular built-in flash. Further left reads: "5.0 Megapixels" in small black letters. Between the finger grip and the lens is the "Olympus" brand name in attractive polished block letters. At the bottom, the camera model identification is listed: "Camedia Digital Camera D-630 Zoom."

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Back

The back of the Olympus D-630 is uncluttered and only contains a few buttons on it, which makes it look quite attractive. The 2-inch LCD screen dominates the left side of the camera. The screen has a black border and the "Olympus" brand name printed in white on the bottom. Below the screen are three large buttons. The one on the left has a red trash can graphic next to it and acts as the Delete button. The middle button has a green Playback symbol on it. The button on the right has a red camera on it and functions as the shooting mode. In the top right of the back is a zoom lever. The left side is labeled "W" and zooms out, while the right side zooms in with its "T" for telephoto setting. Directly below the lever is a shallow circular divot for the right thumb to rest in and grip the camera. In the bottom right of the D-630 is the four-way navigational dial with an "OK/Menu" button in its center.

Each side of the dial has a separate function, other than directional navigation in menus. The top of the dial is labeled "Scene" and is an easy way to locate scene modes. The right side of the dial has a flash icon on it and can change flash settings with a few taps on the right. The bottom has the self-timer icon on it. The left side has a flower graphic, symbolizing the macro mode.

Left Side

The left side is completely blank.

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Right Side

The right side of the camera has a loop for a wrist strap in its center, along with a rubber port cover beneath it. The cover is labeled and attached to the D-630, so it won’t get lost. This door houses the USB, A/V-out, and DC-in jacks.

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Top

The trim profile of the camera can be seen when viewed from the top. The inch-wide D-630 has a polished line running the length of the top, for aesthetically appeal. On the right side, there is a slightly raised and polished panel with the power button on the left and the shutter release button on the right.

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Viewfinder

There is no optical viewfinder on the D-630; however, there is a 2-inch LCD screen that has a 100 percent field of view for composing live scenes and viewing prerecorded images.

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LCD Screen

A 2-inch semi-transmissive LCD screen keeps the glare of the sun from inhibiting the view. With a 100 percent field of view, the D-640’s screen provides an accurate viewfinder for users. With 115,000 pixels, the LCD screen has plenty of resolution. The semi-transmissive screen effectively diffracts glare and is one of the D-630’s strongest attributes.

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Flash**

The built-in flash has a limited selection of modes: Auto, On, Off, and Red-Eye Reduction. The flash reaches from 0.3-11.8 feet, which is about average for a compact digital camera.

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Zoom Lens

The 5.8-17.4mm lens looks slightly odd, with a tiny glass opening in the larger lens barrel. However, the little lens grows on you with its unique twisting motion. When the Olympus D-630 is turned on, the lens extends in three segments. However, instead of extending straight outward from the body, the segments twist into place. The actual lens is off-center from the nose of the barrel because it is positioned directly over the 1/2.5-inch CCD. The rotating design allows the barrel to fold flatter within the thin camera and to automatically close the lens cap when it is powered down. The 3x optical zoom lens is constructed from 7 lenses in 7 groups with 3 aspherical elements. It is equivalent to 35-105mm in 35mm format. The D-630 has a 4x digital zoom that can be engaged through the Camera menu.

Model Design/ Appearance

The D-630’s polycarbonate body is brushed silver in color, measuring 3.1 x 2.4 x 1-inches. Weighing just 4.4 ounces, the Olympus D-630 is incredibly light and compact. The point-and-shoot digital camera is one of the sleekest cameras available by Olympus and definitely takes the prize for the D series. Its sexy design and petite form offer a strong aesthetic appeal to the eye. The lens bows from tradition with the smaller glass portion off-center from the lens barrel. It looks slightly odd at first, but the rotating motion in which it opens and closes contributes to the overall modern look of the camera.

Size/ Portability

Sporting extremely portable dimensions of 3.1 x 2.4 x 1 inches, the Olympus D-630 can slip easily into a pocket. With extended, flat surfaces composing the frame, there are no notable protrusions, making the camera both durable and portable.

Handling Ability

The Olympus D-630 has a polished, raised vertical bar on the front that acts as a finger grip. While polished metal isn’t the best material for gripping, it works as long as fingers aren’t sweaty and slippery. On the back of the camera, there is a shallow circular divot where the right thumb can rest and provide increased stability.

Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size

The Olympus D-630 Zoom maintains an impressively uncluttered back face. There are limited controls and buttons, most of which are clearly labeled and easily distinguishable. The buttons are large and properly spaced, so users won’t have to overextend and fumble around, chancing activation of unintended controls.

Menu

The Olympus D-630 aims to be user friendly with its automatic settings and menu selections. Most of the menus are text, although there are some graphics included, creating an intuitive interface. When users scroll through scene modes and menu options, they see an example of the setting and a written explanation of it.

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When the Menu button is pressed, four options appear: EV, Picture Size, White Balance, and Menu. While the first three options offer adjustments, the Menu button has three lists of sub-settings: Camera, Card, and Setup. The Camera menu has the following options: Digital Zoom, Auto Focus, Panorama, 2 in 1, and ISO. The Card menu can either format the memory or back it up. The Setup menu has the following options: All Reset (returning the camera to the factory default settings), Language, Volume, Recording View, File Name, Pixel Mapping, Exposure Compensation, Time, and Video Out. The video-out option lets users choose NTSC or PAL compatibility.

Ease of Use

While the automatic mode is the bread and butter of the D-630, the ease of use is the jelly. All of the settings are easy to find and menus are easy to navigate. With features like written explanations of modes and example pictures or live views, choosing the correct setting is simple.

Auto Mode

The Auto Mode is the bread and butter of this digital camera. The Olympus D-630 was built for consumers who want to take great pictures without having to fuss with manual settings. The camera offers automatic control and setting of exposure, color, focus and sensitivity as well as including several preset scene modes. All of the settings are adjusted automatically by the camera and designed for ease of use rather then control.

Movie Mode

The Olympus D-630 has a less-than-impressive movie mode. It records in only 320 x 240 resolution at a slow rate of 15 frames per second. The only fortunate advantage of the D-630’s video recording capabilities is the opportunity to view individual frames in playback mode. Otherwise, by current standards, as a video recorder the D-630 is a humorous novelty.

Drive / Burst Mode

Not surprisingly, this model does not have a burst mode.

Playback Mode

Switching into Playback mode is simple with the green Playback button below the LCD screen. Images can be viewed as single frames and can be zoomed in up to 5x, or viewed in pages of 4, 9, or 16 thumbnails. Photographs can be rotated and resized and slide shows can be played on the LCD monitor. Movies can also be played back either normally or frame-by-frame.

Custom Image Presets

Olympus’ D series of digital camera is meant for the point-and-shoot user, so the preset scene modes are crucial on this model. The D-630 does not go above and beyond; it only provides users with the basics. The following scene modes are available: Portrait, Indoor, Landscape and Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night and Portrait, Night Scene, Self-Portrait, and Movie Mode.

Manual Control Options

The Olympus D series is meant for point-and-shoot buyers who don’t want to hassle with manual adjustments. The D-630 follows in this line with all automatic settings and no manual adjustments except for the exposure compensation and ISO rating.

Auto Focus

The auto focus operates with a through-the-lens contrast detection system. The Olympus D-630 can focus as close as 4 inches in macro mode and 19.7 inches in the normal shooting mode. The pre-production model at the Photo Marketing Association Trade Show had some trouble focusing and didn’t tolerate the slightest jarring motion.

Manual Focus

There is no manual focus mode available on the Olympus D-630, forcing users to rely on the camera’s AF system.

Exposure

There is a Programmed Auto exposure mode on the Olympus D-640. Most settings on this camera are controlled automatically, however, the exposure compensation can be adjusted manually in the standard +/-2 EV range, moving in 1/3 stop steps.

White Balance

When scrolling through white balance options in the menu, users can see a real-time image of the lighting on the image they are viewing. This helps users select the correct mode, which can be set to one of the following: Automatic, Sunlight, Overcast, Tungsten, and Fluorescent.

ISO

The ISO rating can be manually adjusted on the Olympus D-630 through the Camera menu. The ISO can be automatically adjusted or manually set to 64, 100, 200, or 320 ISO ratings. Most compact digital cameras have a range that reaches 400, so the 320 setting will likely sell the user short on low light capability as well as forcing slower shutter speeds. However, most compact digital cameras that utterly lack manual options also generally omit any manual adjustment for ISO and have a limited ISO range that sometimes doesn’t reach 200.

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is automatically adjusted from 1/2-1/1000th of a second in most modes. The night scene mode is the only exception: shutter speeds slow to 2 seconds to let in more light when it becomes imperative.

Aperture

The 3x optical zoom lens on the D-630 has an aperture range from f/2.8-f/4.8, which is not entirely impressive, nor can it be adjusted manually. This slow lens will lead to longer durations of the shutter and increase the need for a tripod unless shooting in direct sunlight – not very practical for a portable point-and-shoot.

Picture Quality / Size Options

Offering picture sizes in the standard 4:3 format, the Olympus D-630 has only three still image size options for users to select from: 2560 x 1920, 1600 x 1200, and 640 x 480.

Picture Effects Mode

When photographs are in the Playback mode, they can be changed to Black & White or Sepia colors. Very basic, but then again, in-camera effects generally are.

Connectivity

*Software – *The D-630 comes with the basic, Olympus Master software.

*Jacks, Ports, Plugs – *All of the jacks are located under a rubber port door on the right side of the camera. A/V-out, DC-in, and USB jacks are all available in that location.

*Direct Print Options – *The Olympus D-630 is PictBridge compatible. It has a USB port on its right side that transfers pictures.

Memory

The Olympus D-630 has 14MB of internal memory, which is decent, but not enough to fully appreciate both still and movie modes. The camera also accepts xD-Picture cards up to 1 GB. The memory card can slide in the bottom by the battery and provide extended recording capacity when desired.

Other Features

*Automatic Pixel Mapping – *The Olympus D-630 can remap the pixels across its CCD, which is like giving the car a tune-up. The automatic pixel mapping option can be found in the Setup menu and is an amazing inclusion on any camera in this price bracket.

*Panorama Mode – *The Olympus D-630 can stitch up to 10 frames automatically with the included Olympus Master software, but only when using the Olympus-brand xD-Picture card.

*Self-Timer – *The timer waits for 12 seconds, then captures the image. On the front of the camera, a red LED lights up once a second, then three times just before the picture is taken.

Conclusion

The overall worth of the camera can only be determined by the buyer. If consumers are looking for a variety of manual options and array of settings, the Olympus D-630 Zoom will look threadbare. However, consumers looking for a hassle-free digital camera that will essentially record the image for them, the D-630 will do it with style. Users can take high resolution pictures without digging through menus or making manual adjustments. The user-friendly interface offers simplified menus with visual examples and written explanations. The outer controls on the camera are just as simple; the layout is neat and organized, so users can easily find the clearly labeled controls. The Olympus D-630 Zoom is the highest model in the simplistic point-and-shoot D series and will be available for $299 in April.

**Specs Table

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Value

**Initially offered at an MSRP of $299, point-and-shoot users will get a basic 5-megapixel images with a bit of style. While appropriately priced, the D-630 really does not offer much beyond the competition aside from looks. Although, with the pixel mapping function and included help guide, novice style-seeking users should be content with a sub-$300 investment. **

Meet the tester

Emily Raymond

Emily Raymond

Editor

Emily Raymond is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

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