|Olympus E-400 d-SLR - Metal lens mount
If we take a look at the Olympus E400, we see a metal lens mount on the front of the body. This mount supports the FourThirds system completely, so that in addition to Olympus lenses, lenses from brands like Sigma and leica can be fitted to the E-400 SLR without any problems. If we look inside, we see a striking small mirror, that just like the E-500 folds upwards to direct the light to the image sensor. To the left of the mount light mount, in de 'handgrip', we see a vertical LED that acts as an indicator for the self timer and is also used for the optional infra red operation of the camera. It is possible to operate to a maximum distance of 5 meters from the camera (indoors) and 3 meters outdoors. To the right of the mount is a button to release the lens.
Olympus E400 - xD Picture & CompactFlash card
On the right of the camera (seen from behind) you can see a large flap which conceals the memory card compartment. Of course, the Olympus E-400 has a double card slot with support for its own small xD Picture card and widely available CompactFlash memory card. It was very handy of Olympus to include the CompactFlash as an optional storage medium. Still, it is striking that the xD Picture card's share of the market is still nowhere near large enough to be able to equip the camera with a single slot as the competition, Nikon does , in this case a SD lock. On the other hand, manufacturers must be realistic and the double card slot removes every conceivable obstacle that could prevent future FourThirds System reflex camera owners from making the switch.
Olympus E400 - 2.5-inch LCD screen
Like other digital SLR cameras, most of the action on the Olympus E-400 goes on on the back of the camera, which has a 2.5-inch LCD screen. This high quality screen with a resolution of 215.000 pixels is really great to work with both indoors and outdoors. The optical viewfinder, an important feature in a digital SLR camera, has been placed above the LCD display. It is a pity that the viewfinder looks rather small, especially when we compare it to that of the Nikon D80, one of the E-400's direct competitors. The view finder can be adjusted to the eye via the dioptre setting beside the viewfinder. To the left of the LCD screen, there are four buttons placed from top to bottom, to the right of the screen, plus a multi-control button together with two other buttons for functions like setting the exposure.
|The number of buttons on the back is rather limited and this keeps the control centre on the back of the camera easy to oversee. The use of green and red on certain buttons is rather unusual. I suppose it would handy for distinguishing things if it was not for the fact that it is difficult to read what's on these buttons in dim lighting conditions.
Olympus E-400 - Top of the SLR camera
At first, things look a lot more crowded on the top of the camera, but, if you take a closer look, it's not so bad; there's a limited number of buttons, just four in addition to the main dial and a commando dial. It just looks a lot more hectic because of the pictograms. On top of the prism, there is a flash shoe for an external flash. Of course, the Olympus E400 also has a small internal flash that folds out automatically in the AUTO setting. The shutter release is on the right hand side and is as far to the front of the camera as possible. Because the handgrip has clearly shrunk in size, I personally didn't think the positioning of the shutter release felt very comfortable under my fingers. You need to force your index finger artificially more to the back to operate the shutter release. Directly underneath the shutter release is a light that indicates if the SSWF (anti-dust mechanism) is active. It seems obvious, but the Olympus E-400 is one of only a handful of SLR cameras that makes use of such a handy system. Canon started using this function recently, but Nikon is not yet convinced. The commando and main dials, where the main programs have been placed are located close to your thumb. The on/off switch is impossible to miss and easy to operate. To the left of the prism they've managed to find space for the flash and serial picture function.
Olympus E-400 - PS-BLS1 Lithium Ion battery
If we turn the Olympus E-400 digital SLR camera upside down, we see a universal metal tripod connection practically in the middle. Beside it there is room for a compartment where the Lithium Ion battery can be placed. The Olympus E400 uses a PS-BLS1 7.2V 1150mAh battery. The battery can only fit completely into the compartment in one way and it held in place by a small safety bar. This is handy as it stops the battery from falling out of the camera when the compartment is opened. The Olympus E-400 DSLR is beautifully finished and you can clearly see and feel that a lot of attention has been paid to the casing. You certainly never get the feeling that you are dealing with a cheap camera.