Olympus Stylus-9000 Digital Camera First Impression Review$329.99
The Stylus-9000 delivers a solidly built metal chassis, available in champagne (shown here) and black. While it's a bit too big to fit comfortably into your top shirt pocket, we felt the balance between size (3.8:' x 2.4' x 1.2', or 96mm x 60mm x 31mm) and extended zoom capability makes a fair trade-off, and it certainly fit nicely in our hands while shooting.
The flash has a small auto focus assist / self-timer indicator lamp to its right. Beside this lamp is the microphone.
As you can see, the brushed metal front is bright and shiny.
Camera controls are clustered in a rectangular panel to the right of the lens, which has a small textured thumb pad at the top. The mode dial has six positions: Auto, Program, Scene Modes, Beauty (for the Beauty shooting mode appearing in several new Olympus cameras), Movie mode and Playback Mode. Next down are the Menu and Play buttons, followed by a four-way controller that consists of a single pivoting plexiglass piece. When not navigating menus, this controller has four assigned functions: exposure compensation (at top), flash mode, self-timer and macro mode. At the bottom left of the control panel is the DISP/? button which toggles on-screen display when shooting or playing back photos, and brings up an on-screen explanation for the choices available in menu modes. To the right is the OR/ Trashcan button. OR stands for Olympus Recommends: it calls up shooting functions the company feels are too often ignored in their appointed spots in the menu system. During playback mode this button controls image deletion.
The camera controls are uncluttered and reasonably sized.
*The left side of the camera has a quiet, understated elegance that fits its total lack of functionality.
Zen and the art of doing nothing.
The right side of the camera includes a secure door covering the I/O and DC-input ports. Below this is a metal loop for threading the included wrist strap.
*All input/output chores are handled by a
single jack behind the silver door above.
Three controls find their home on top of the camera: the power button, the shutter and a zoom control that pushes right and left.
*Top controls are well designed: the power button is recessed, the shutter
has an easily recognized two-step travel, and the zoom moves smoothly.*
The latched compartment on the left holds the battery and xD memory card. The tripod socket is centered horizontally on the camera body.
The battery compartment latches securely.