A simple and straightforward operation is a must for a compact camera like the Olympus FE-5020; no fuss and no need to consult a manual. In that respect, Olympus did take a good look around and applied different ways of menus and graphical symbols, thus keeping the camera as easily accessible as possible. It actually starts with the home screen, at which every effort is made to display a composition that is as clear as possible, without too much information on the monitor. Pressing the DISP button, you can also opt for no pictograms on the screen at all, or you can choose to display a grid helping you to keep horizontal lines straight in your composition.
Olympus FE-5020 capture modes
Start-up of the Olympus FE5020 is nice and smooth, it takes only a mere second for the camera to be ready to take the first picture. Upon pressing the red button next to the monitor, the camera's capture mode is activated, and the next program is automatically selected. In itself, this is helpful, however, if you accidentally press the red button while grabbing the camera, sometimes the shooting mode is changed unintentionally. In my case, it happened that I wanted to take a picture, but then found out the camera had suddenly been set to the video capture mode. It would be more convenient if it required pressing the button a second time in order to select the next program, instead of this happening automatically.
Olympus FE-5020 camera settings
The OK/FUNC button in the center of the multi-controller provides direct access to settings such as white balance, resolution, compression and ISO. The Olympus FE-5020 stores the pictures in standard JPEG format, at which the user can choose from two different compression factors. With the current memory card prices and the high storage capacities, a higher resolution and the lowest compression factor are the most obvious choices to set as default. The menu button provides access to the entire array of settings. Before the usual tabs appear, Olympus first uses a number of colorful graphics. Pleasant to the eye if you ask me, however, it is still an unnecessary extra step in order to access the menu.
Olympus FE-5020 camera operation
The unusual structure of the buttons is the reason for the sleek appearance of the Olympus FE-5020. The buttons are comfortable to your fingertips, as well as easy to operate. The only downside is that when you look at the camera from an angle from above, the buttons are not that easy to read. The transparent top layer of the buttons causes an effect which makes you feel like you've become somewhat cross-eyed.
Olympus FE-5020 offers multiple built-in filters
The additional feature, which makes the Olympus FE-5020 distinguish itself from competitive entry-level cameras, is the option of the built-in filters. In auto P mode, you can activate four filters through the menu of the camera, which enables you to shoot in a more creative way. In Magic Filter mode, the monitor is divided into four windows, displaying the immediate results of the filters. For certain objects, it is somewhat difficult to judge the effect well, and although once you've selected a filter, you then have a better view on the effect, you have to go through all the steps again in order to get into filter mode. All in all, however, it is a great feature for creative photography.