**Manual Control Options
**The D-425, like many entry level cameras in its price range, does not contain much in the way of manual controls. Users can select the image size, choose a specific flash preset and then alter the exposure using the EV compensation function. Other than that, it’s all point-and-shoot.
Focus is the only focal setting that the user of the Olympus D-425 can engage, and it is available in all modes on the camera. The focal range for the D-425 is 19.7 inches to infinity in normal mode and 7.9 inches to 19.7 inches when in macro mode. There is a CCD contrast detection system within the auto focus controls of the camera, which adjusts the settings to properly register depth and focus in situations with extreme image contrast. Since this is a point-and-shoot largely intended for novice users, the lack of manual focus or other auto focus features like center focus or spot focus is not really a huge surprise or problem. For slightly more money, consumers can find other models from both Olympus and other manufacturers which allow for auto focus preset options and manual focus control.
There is no manual focus control available to the user of the Olympus D-425. The user must rely entirely on the automatic focus settings which are outlined above. This camera is heavily intended for snapshooters looking to just point and shoot who would only be slowed down by manually adjusting focus.
*The metering system for the Olympus D-425 does not allow the user to manually control it. The metering system is based on an ESP system (not that ESP; it’s an acronym for electro selective pattern). This senses the overall patterns of light and dark within the camera frame and selects a meter rating which allows for the best possible exposure setting. This system of metering works well in situations where the subject, background, and foreground are all in a similarly lit situation. When the subject is backlit, or a strong contrast exists within the frame, the user will find that having an automatic ESP setting will lead to imbalanced compositions and poor exposures. The backlit subject may appear as a member of the Witness Protection Program in the midst of an interview with Barbara Walters.
*The Olympus D-425 allows the user to control the camera’s EV compensation settings; EV allows users to control the overall brightness of the image. The EV settings are accessed through the menu, which appears on the LCD screen when the Menu button is engaged. Once engaged, the user may select the EV subsection. It should be noted that this subsection menu is not labeled explicitly and is instead designated by a symbol that the user may or may not recognize, depending on familiarity with camera setups: a box divided diagonally with a plus on one side and a minus on the other. The exposure compensation is fortunately set on a live feed background so that the user may gauge the effects of specific EV settings on the image being shot. The EV scale on this camera ranges from between -2 to +2 with 1/3 step increments.
*With the Olympus D-425 the user is unable to manually control the white balance settings on the camera. The automatic white balance settings are controlled via an iESP II multi-pattern auto TTL structure. With this one setting any situation with non-standard lighting may result in photographs which are tinted inaccurately and can lead to photographs which are unflattering. Most novice level point-and-shoot digital cameras still give the user the option of choosing between at least a few general preset modes such as fluorescent, daylight, and halogen. Though in situations like those, automatic white balance often overcompensates or undercompensates levels and registers imbalanced color calibration. These lighting situations are basic and experienced by most every photographer, and it is unfortunate that even these fairly standard presets are denied to novice digital camera users.
The ISO settings on the Olympus D-425 are controlled automatically and are theoretically equivalent to ISO settings of 50-250. Therefore, the Olympus D-425 will be functional in relatively well lit situations, but in lower light conditions, such as night scenes or indoors, images produced by the D-425 will require the use of the flash or will likely result in dark and shadowy images. The flash on the camera will help in these situations; however, with a range of only 9.8 feet, most situations beyond arm’s reach will still be left in gloomy darkness. For around US $40 more online, the user can find the Canon PowerShot A510 which provides multiple ISO settings, shutter speeds up to 15 seconds, and manual white balance settings.*
*The shutter speed is, not surprisingly, fully automatic on the Olympus D-425. This means that the camera will select a shutter speed between 1/2 and 1/1500 of a second depending on the available light in the scene. When set in night scene mode, the user is able to shoot with a shutter speed of up to 2 seconds, but this setting is also automatic. The faster speeds found on this camera remain in line with other similarly priced models. With a 2 second maximum shutter speed, most users comfortable with flash illumination should be able to attain the exposure needed to make the subjects visible. That being said, capturing that multi-layered, distant, dusk timed safari shot, on the last night of the trip of your life, may not be so feasible.
*The aperture range on the Olympus D-425 is between f/2.8—f/5.6 and is not precisely controllable by the user, though as mentioned in the exposure section above, the user can alter the overall brightness of the image on a scale between -2 and +2 in 1/3 stop increments using the exposure compensation function. The f/2.8 maximum aperture opening is typical and will help out in low light, although the camera will have to select it.