Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Free Shipping on ALL Products
Olympus E-400 with Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ED Gordon Laing, November 2006

Lenses and viewfinder
/ Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust

Olympus E-400 screen

Olympus has equipped the E-400 with a 2.5in colour monitor featuring 215K pixels. Like an increasing number of digital SLRs these days including the Canon EOS 400D / XTi, Sony A100 and the Panasonic L1, the E-400 employs its main screen exclusively for displaying shooting information.

Olympus E400 main recording screen  

As with these other cameras, there’s both pros and cons to this approach. On the positive side, you can pack a lot of information onto a high resolution colour screen, and the E-400 includes battery life, exposure mode, aperture, shutter, today’s date, an exposure compensation scale, ISO, White Balance, flash, colour, metering, AF and drive modes, along with the memory card in use, quality setting and the number of photos remaining.

  Olympus E400 detailed recording screen

The E-400 also exploits the ability to reformat this information, and pressing the Info button switches to smaller fonts to squeeze in even more data including colour space, actual pixel resolution and red and green white balance adjustments. That’s a massive amount of information to have at a glance.

On the downside, these displays can be harder to read under bright conditions than dedicated (and increasingly rare) secondary LCD information screens. To be fair in our tests the E-400’s screen remained readable under direct sunlight, but if you’re concerned you may wish to try it for yourself.

Olympus E400 rear view


Annoyingly though, the E-400, like the Lumix L1, doesn’t feature sensors which automatically switch the screen off when you look through the viewfinder. Again to be fair, the screen does temporarily switch off when you half-press the shutter release button, and if it’s proving distracting at other times, you can always manually switch it off altogether – but then you won’t have any indication of settings which aren’t shown in the viewfinder, like the ISO. It’s a small point, but we’d definitely prefer that cameras which use their main screen exclusively for shooting information also employed sensors to automatically switch them off.





Click here for the Olympus E-400 video tour


Menus


As mentioned on the last page, the E-400 doesn’t have any buttons dedicated to settings like the ISO or White Balance, but luckily you’re not forced to delve into the menu system just to adjust them.

Olympus E400 ISO menu   Olympus E400 alternative ISO menu  

With the E-400 powered-up and the screen showing all the exposure details, press the OK button and the ISO value is highlighted in yellow. You can then turn the dial to change the setting, or if you prefer, press OK again to enter a dedicated adjustment menu.

Alternatively with ISO highlighted, just use the up, down, left and right buttons to highlight any other option, before then using the dial to adjust it, or pressing OK to again view a dedicated menu. In practice it’s quick and intuitive.

Olympus E400 set-up page 1   Olympus E400 recording menu page 2  

Pressing the Menu button presents the E-400’s options arranged into five vertically-tabbed pages: two for recording, one for playback and two for setup.

These pages offer alternative access to the dedicated adjustments described above, along with additional options including noise reduction, AE bracketing and configuration of the Function button, which by default activates the depth-of-field preview.

       
Olympus E400 25 thumbnail playback mode   Olympus E400 RGB histogram  
       

During playback, turning the control dial to the right zooms-in on the image, while turning it to the left presents a number of thumbnails, first four, then nine, then 16 and even 25, followed by a fun calendar view of the current month showing a tiny photo thumbnail on the days you took a photo.

With an image filling the screen in playback, pressing the Info button cycles through RGB and brightness histograms, along with options to flash any clipped highlight or shadow areas. It’s great to find this variety of options on an entry-level DSLR.


Olympus E-400 features continued...

Lenses and viewfinder / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing / Anti dust

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs