Originally created 02/21/99

What's hot: New items of interest



The Olympus D-400 Zoom ($799) is one of a new generation of "mega-pixel" cameras (at 1280 by 960 dots resolution) that offers high quality images and standout features at an affordable price.

The D-400Z sports a 3X optical zoom, red-eye and fill flash modes, a 1.8-inch LCD screen, macro focus down to 8 inches, and more. It also has an output port that lets you view your pictures on a TV.

For those who are used to conventional photography, a digital camera takes some getting used to. There's no way to set shutter speed, depth of field, or to accurately determine exposure. The LCD screen is too dark to get an accurate idea of what your image will look like.

The 8MB SmartMedia card that comes with the camera is enough for 16 pictures using the best-quality compression and high resolution, and can hold well over 100 shots using lower resolution and higher compression. It's also possible to shoot with no compression all, but you only get two shots.

So how are the pictures? For the most part, they're sharp and the colors are not overly faded or saturated. If you don't own a copy of Photoshop for tweaking your images, don't worry -- the D-400Z comes with Adobe's PhotoDeluxe software, an excellent image editor for the average user.

Within the limitations of digital photography (which may turn off many old fashioned photographers), the D-400Z is a good choice. Its image quality, feature set, accessories and ease of use make it an excellent digital camera for the amateur photographer.

Information: www.olympus.com or (800) 622-6372.

  • Olympus designed its P-330 Digital Home Photo Printer ($499) with unique features. You can capture still pictures directly from your TV and print them out. A video output jack lets you view and edit camera shots on the TV, too. The P-330 can be hooked up to your computer like other printers, and it has a SmartMedia slot so you can transfer your images directly to it from the SmartMedia memory card in your camera.

    The P-330 prints using continuous tone dye sublimation, a well-established process in which toner is vaporized and transferred to paper. Although its resolution is officially a modest 306 by 306 dots per inch, its prints looks as good as conventional photographic prints. Credit the dye sublimation process, which can produce variable-sized dots that give the appearance of far greater resolution and a smoother range of tones than other printing technologies.

    The big drawback to the P-330 is that it's a dedicated photo printer. It's limited to 4-inch by 5.5-inch paper. There are a handful of printers that can reproduce photos almost as well, and they double as regular printers, but none has the features of the P-330 and all require a computer. If you need high-quality prints from a digital camera, the P-330 is the best solution I've seen.

    Information: www.olympus.com or (800) 622-6372.