Olympus E-400 SLR
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Olympus E400 SLR - Page 4/14
Thursday 14th September 2006
Written by Dennis Hissink
The Olympus E-400 digital SLR camera is also available as a kit with two lenses. The kit consists of a standard zoom lens with a tele lens. The Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 is a light-weight lens with a focal length of 14 - 44mm, which is the equivalent of 28-88mm wide-angle standard zoom with a 35mm film camera. The tele zoom lens is a 40 - 150mm f/4.0-f5.6, which is a focal length of 80 - 300mm with a 35mm film camera. The Olympus ZUIKO Digital 14 - 42mm f3.5-5.6 has an angle of view of 75° - 29° and consists of 8 groups with 10 lens elements. The aperture has a range of f/3.5 - f22 and a minimum focus distance of merely 25cm. The Olympus ZUIKO Digital 14 - 44mm has a weight of 190 grams and a filter size of 58mm. The second new lens, the Olympus ZUIKO Digital 40 - 150mm f/4.0 - 5.6, has an angle of view of 30° - 8.2° and consists of 8 groups with 10 lens elements. The aperture has a range of f/4.0 - f22 and a minimum focus distance of 90cm. The Olympus ZUIKO Digital 40 - 150mm has a weight of 220 grams and a filter size of 58mm.
Olympus E-400 - ZUIKO lens
Olympus E-400 Built-in flash
Olympus Master software
Olympus Master software
Olympus E-400 Olympus Master software Olympus E-400 Built-in flash
The Olympus E-400 is delivered with a CD-ROM with Olympus Master software. Use the Olympus Master Software to get the best out of your digital photography experience. Designed to enhance the organising, editing and sharing of all your photos, Olympus Master combines an easy-to-use interface with the latest digital imaging tool and functionality. The Olympus Master software can be upgraded via the Olympus website. An upgrade to the Olympus Master Plus provides you with extended options for advanced Movie (QuickTime) and photo editing functions: Record on CD/DVD media; Create Video CDs, Slideshows, Wallpaper and Screensavers; Print with backgrounds or other illustrations, and much, much more. The Olympus Master and Master Plus versions are compatible with Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, Professional, XP and Mac OS X 10.2 (or higher), and support cameras of Olympus equipped with USB, including Auto-Connect USB for instant viewing and managing of your images.
The Olympus E-400 camera features a built-in flash. It is always handy to have this type of small assistance flash ready to provide extra help in low-light conditions. After all, when working with a small DSLR camera with such a compact size as the Olympus E400, you simply do not always feel like hauling along a "large" flash. The Olympus E-400 sets the flash settings in accordance with the exposure setting and the light condition. Although the automatic mode -the flash pops up automatically- will generally suffice in many situations, there are moments when manual operation simply offers a better solution. The flash modes can be accessed through the flash button on the top side of the camera. The Olympus E-400 features a wide variety of setting options. Users have the choice between automatic flash, red-eye reduction flash, fill-in flash, flash off, slow shutter speed synchronisation (first curtain) flash, slow shutter speed synchronisation red-eye reduction flash, and slow shutter speed synchronisation (second curtain) flash. Moreover, the manual flash mode allows you to decide on the amount of light that is fired off (1/1, 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64). The guide number of the internal flash is 10 at ISO 100.
AEL AF assistance illuminator ISO
AF assistance illuminator
Olympus E-400 AEL Olympus E-400 AF assistance illuminator Olympus E-400 ISO
It may come in handy in certain situations to maintain a particular part of the exposure of a composition, or check the focussing more accurately. Although a part can be locked by pressing the shutter release button half-way down, this only provides a small part of the control. The AEL/AFL button on the Olympus E-400 offers a generous choice of options to, in combination with different camera settings such as single or multiple images, different light metering or in the manual mode, lock certain combinations, and thus influence the result of the exposure. The camera's menu allows you to set whether or not the built-in flash pops up automatically in situations where extra light is needed, or when the focus could do with some assistance. In low-light conditions, the flash fires a rapid series of flash-light, so that the camera has the chance to focus. If unsuccessful upon first try, the Olympus E-400 will repeat the same action until proper focus is achieved. The effective range of the AF-assistance illuminator is several meters. Those who wish to capture a shot unnoticed may choose to deactivate the function through the menu of the DSLR camera. The Olympus E-400 AUTO ISO adjusts the sensitivity automatically between ISO 100 and ISO 1600, so that the available light is used fully, and an optimal exposure thus achieved. The sensitivity can also be set manually between ISO 100 and ISO 1600, with which the intermediate ISO values, such as 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000 and 1250 allow you to fine-tune. As far as ISO values are concerned, the Olympus E400 is no exception to the rule; the higher the ISO value, the higher the amount of noise will be. A well-balanced exposure greatly contributes to the quality of the noise.
Image quality Scenes Light metering
Olympus E400 Centre-weighted metering
Olympus E-400 Image quality Olympus E-400 Scenes Olympus E400 Centre-weighted metering
The new Olympus E400 digital SLR camera supports several image quality options. In addition to the four different JPEG compression settings, and the three combined JPEG/RAW settings, the Olympus E-400 also offers RAW format. RAW produces a file size of approximately 22MB, whilst the highest JPEG quality (SHQ 3648x2736 pixels / compression1/2.7) amounts to approximately 7.9MB. The images are stored on the small xD Picture card, or on a CompactFlash memory card. The option to store a RAW and JPEG format of an image at the same time proves to be very handy. The Olympus E400 offers fans of automatic DSLR photography no less than nineteen pre-programmed scenes. The Olympus E400 camera will basically react the same way as in the AUTO mode, but selecting a scene will prioritize the setting that will produce the best results for the composition; such as more depth of field for a landscape image, faster shutter speeds for the more active moments, or a smaller depth of field for the capturing of a portrait. Simply turn the mode dial to SCENE, and the monitor will show the nineteen different programmes. The compact E400 DSLR features an impressive five different light metering settings, one of which is the centre-weighted metering. This centre-weighted metering often provides the solution when capturing a composition where the light metering requires a more accurate or selective execution. The centre-weighted metering puts the emphasis on the centre of the composition. On the Olympus E-400, the centre-weighted metering is selected preferably in situations where a bright background tends to have too much of an influence on the subject in the foreground. This handy function will undoubtedly be appreciated by the creative photographer.
Dennis Hissink
Olympus E-400 DSLR
Editor's conclusion:
Olympus E-400 - FourThirds system
"Although the Olympus E-400 reviewed by us is still of a pre-production status, we did indeed get a very good impression of the performance and functionality of the E-400 digital SLR camera. Where manufactures such as Nikon aim at the serious novice photographer with their Nikon D80, Olympus seem to focus more on the compact camera user that wants to take the step to a DSLR, but is reluctant to miss out on the user convenience of a compact and light-weight digital camera. Although there will undoubtedly be a share of photographers that swear by a sturdy and robust body, and prefer to feel they really are holding "something" in their hands, a large part - and perhaps even the majority- of the potential DSLR entry-level users will appreciate the compact and light-weight size of the Olympus E-400. With the introduction of their E400, Olympus truly show just what the FourThirds system is capable of as far as size is concerned. The Olympus E-400 proves to be remarkably compact, and will without question have a positive influence on the FourThirds system camera market share. Now that we've seen what Olympus contribute to the lower part of the DSLR market, we have become even more curious about the professional Olympus DSLR, which will be the successor of the E-1... More about this later..."
Olympus E-400 Digital SLR - FourThirds system
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