*For the low price of around US $120.00, the first time novice user looking for a straight point-and-shoot digital camera for snapshots and unconcerned with growing into more advanced features will find this camera a feasible option. The D-425 will provide those users with a 4 MP CCD and fixed lens (with digital zoom). But even in the budget camera category, this will create problems for most users. It is likely to be only a matter of time until the digital zoom starts to look like an attractive alternative to the fixed view. Then it becomes a crutch and before you know it, all of your images are of horribly compromised quality.
The small 1.5-inch, 85,000 MP CCD is the only viewing option and with the solarization which occurred during use in strongly lit situations, it seems to be underdeveloped. The camera is capable of recording both still and movie footage, although there is no audio recording capability on this camera. The user will be able to engage in direct printing when a PictBridge compliant printer is available and users can begin shooting immediately with the 14MB of internal memory included on the camera, although optional memory cards are necessary and will add an additional cost to the camera’s base price.
While the D-425 will provide beginner and budget-conscious digital camera users with the basics at an affordable price, for less than US $50 more, users can look to the Canon PowerShot A400 or A510 and gain higher quality images, better manual control settings, more visible LCD screen and faster response times.****
Canon PowerShot A400 – The Canon A400 is currently retailing online for slightly more than the Olympus but offers a good deal more in the way of control and shooting flexibility. The PowerShot A400 is equipped with a 3.2 MP CCD and a 2.2x optical zoom lens, unlike the fully digital Olympus. This gives users the potential to zoom in and out, altering the focal length of the shot without losing image quality. The A400 has a small sleek body with a polished silver exterior accentuated with clean lines. The PowerShot A400 can record still images in four sizes and video clips in three sizes with varying frame rates, and it allows for more manual control options such as white balance and ISO. The A400, unlike the D-425, does not contain any built-in memory but ships with a 16MB SD memory card. The PowerShot A400 has a 1.5-inch LCD screen and a real image zoom viewfinder, unlike the D-425. If users are interested in control options beyond a fully automatic mode and desire the ability to alter the focal length of a shot using an optical zoom which will garner better quality images at a distance, then this camera seems like a good alternative--especially if one considers the number of pixels on the LCD and the fact that it also has a viewfinder.
*Hewlett Packard HP Photosmart M307 -*The M307 offers 3x optical zoom with a smaller CCD size of 3.2 MP. This camera is retailing online within the same price range as the Olympus D-425. This camera can record still images in three settings with video in one, but it is possible to record audio with this camera model. The M307 also allows for user input on white balance, ISO, EV Compensation and other settings, making this a better choice for the novice user seeking a more transitional camera for future learning. This camera also has a burst mode available. It has both an optical zoom viewfinder and a larger 1.8-inch LCD screen. The fact that it has a larger LCD, a viewfinder that registers zoom, optical zoom lens, and manual controls seems to make this a stronger candidate for the budget user seeking more flexibility and shooting alternatives.
Fujifilm FinePix A345 – The Fujifilm FinePix A345 retails for around US $179.95 online and comes with a comparable CCD size of 4.1 MP. It also has a 3x optical zoom lens and a 3.6x digital zoom setting. The A345 can record in five still and two video formats (both with a frame rate of 15 fps). Like the D-425, this camera does not have audio recording abilities. Although the A345 has manual exposure compensation, it has a more limited white balance selection than the M307. That being said, it does have EV and flash control available. The A345 does not have any built-in memory but does come with a 16MB memory card. And finally, the A345 is also able to engage in direct printing, and comes with a larger 1.7-inch LCD screen with a pixel count of 115,000 pixels. When compared with the M307 in regards to options and features, it seems that the HP is still a better option for the user who is looking for more control and higher image quality/number of image settings for capturing photos and videos.**
**Who It's For
***Point-and-Shooters -* The Olympus D-425 is solely designed for the point-and-shoot market. The camera is light on manual controls but compensates by creating a fully automated interface. Users can shoot and print right out of the box without any photographic understanding or camera training. This is all offered at a budget price and if a fixed focal length lens is not a problem, will be sufficient for most beginner users.
*Budget Consumers - *This camera is certainly a potential choice for the budget consumer, due to the affordable online price of $125.00 (currently); however, if the user can afford to pay a bit more, they could remain under $200 and gain a lot in the way of control and image quality.
Gadget Freaks – The D-425 is a basic, stripped down, unfettered, point-and-shoot camera with no surprising or intriguing add-ons to stimulate the gadget freak into a frenzy of tech talk and spec citing.
Manual Control Freaks - *Unless frustration is an intended result of this camera purchase, the manual control user would benefit from looking elsewhere for their next camera with point-and-shoot capability.
*Pros/Serious Hobbyists - There is no reason that the pro or serious hobbyist would be drawn to this camera model since the Olympus D-425 has so few manual controls, low image resolutions, no optical zoom, and requires extra memory for a memory card for higher quality images to be captured.