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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus D-535


Olympus D-535 Zoom Review

Review Date: Nov 22, 2004

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Olympus Camedia D-535 Zoom


Monday, Nov 8, 2004 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Camedia D-535 Zoom
  • Wrist Strap
  • 2 Alkaline AA Batteries
  • 32MB xD-Picture Card
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • Instruction Manuals: Basic Manual; Quick Start Guide
  • Software CDs: Olympus Master Plus (incl. D-535 Reference Manual); ImageMixer VCD DVD2

The Olympus Camedia D-535 Zoom is a compact entry-level digital camera targeted to first-time users. As soon as it came out of the box, my 8-year old took it out of my hand, figured out all by himself how to turn it on, and was off snapping away at his toys, the desk thermometer, and his favourite subject: Dad. I was feeling smug because I had not inserted the memory card yet. But later I found out that every picture he snapped was in fact recorded... in the D-535's 12MB internal memory.

The Olympus D-535 has simple elegant lines with curves, angles, bulges, dimples, and the control buttons at the right places. And elegantly simple to use.

Press the recessed Power button and the D-535 starts up in about 3 secs (2 secs to extend the lens and 1 sec to turn on the LCD). It takes less than 2 secs to go from wide-angle to telephoto. The zoom (3x optical zoom) pauses for about a second before activating digital zoom (which cannot be deactivated in the menu).

There are quite a number of dedicated control buttons on this entry-level digital camera: Record mode, Playback mode, Menu, Flash, Delete, 4-Way Controller with the four arrows doing second duty as Exposure Compensation, Macro, Self-timer. When you press one of the buttons, a menu for that function appears. For example, press the Flash button and a Flash Menu displays, and you can use the Up and Down arrow keys to select a Flash option. Better still, just press the Flash button again to toggle through all the available options. This feature works equally with the Macro button.

The Mode Dial is reserved for selecting a Shooting Mode: Program Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Self Portrait, and Movie. One word about the Movie mode: it is QuickTime motion JPEG at 320x240 pixels 15 fps (no sound), and both the focus and zoom are locked.

The D-535 uses the xD-Picture card. The supplied 32MB xD-Picture card will hold about 13 SHQ (2048x1536 pixels) images. I recommend you purchase at least a 256MB xD-Picture card, or as large a memory card as you can afford. For example, a 128MB xD-Picture card will allow you to record about 54 SHQ images (or 159 HQ). As mentioned earlier, there's also 12MB of internal memory, enough to record 5 SHQ (or 15 HQ) images.

With Windows XP, you don't need to install any software to transfer images from camera to PC, but I recommend that you use the Master Plus software to do your transfer. In this way, your pictures also get indexed. When you plug the USB cable into your camera and PC USB socket, and the camera starts up ready for transfer. Select PC and press OK. The images in your camera are displayed in thumbnails in Master Plus. At this point, the images have not been transferred yet. You need to select the destination and click Transfer. Before unplugging the USB cable, you need to click the "Unplug or Eject Hardware" icon on the taskbar first.

The Basic Manual is, as its name implies, quite basic, and in very tiny type. Since the D-535 is very basic in features, the manual is quite adequate.

Elf: 1/9 sec., F4.8, and ISO 128
15.6mm,Auto, Center-Weighted Average, 1/9 sec., F4.8, and ISO 128

As far as included software is concerned, the Olympus Master 1.0 is a very slick software that allows you to transfer images from your digital camera, backup the images to a CD, create a slide show, stitch images together to form a panorama, reduce an image to a size appropriate for emailing, select a favourite image and create a wallpaper, print images on your personal printer, and send images to be printed by Ofoto. The Olympus Master also indexes your images so you can search them by keywords or by date, and allows very basic image editing.

For a sub-US$150 digital camera, you would expect some shortcomings. There is no viewfinder but you don't really miss it. The 1.5 in. LCD has 130,000 pixels resolution and is clear enough for framing and composition, though I found the coverage isn't too exact (i.e. be on the safe side when framing in the LCD and include more than you wish to capture). Unfortunately, the LCD does not gain up in low-light and the on-board flash is also quite weak, though sufficient for portraits. The D-535 does not have an AF-Assist Illuminator and I found focusing in low-light almost impossible. Use the D-535 primarily as an outdoors camera for bright days, though I was able to obtain some nice indoors shots in the Photo Gallery.

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