Review: Olympus Brio D-150 Zoom
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Friday, July 20, 2001
Friday, July 20, 2001
continues to expand their entry level line with the Brio
D-150 Zoom. This is in addition to the 1.3 Megapixel Brio D-100
and new C-370 cameras. The D-150 Zoom is the same as the D-100,
but with a 3X optical zoom lens. If the content of this review seems
familiar, it's because it's largely based on the D-100 review.
$350 D-150Z costs an extra $100 than the D-100. What's even more
interesting is that the 2.1 Megapixel D-510Z costs just $50 more.
I'd think most people would spend the extra $50 for more Megapixels,
but that's another story.
The Brio D-150 Zoom is known as the C-1 Zoom in some countries.
in the Box?
D-150Z has a very good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
1.3 Mpixel Olympus D-150 Zoom camera
CR-V3 lithium battery (non-rechargeable)
featuring Olympus Camedia Master software and full manual
page basic manual plus 108 page full manual (PDF format on CD)
kindly includes an 8MB SmartMedia card with the Brio. Now if we
could only get them to include larger cards with their more expensive
camera has a built-in cover over the lens, which negates the need
for a lens cap.
the other hand, I wish they'd include rechargeable batteries with
their cameras. While the CR-V3 (and only one of them) lasts a long
time, they end up polluting landfills and are expensive to replace.
My advice: buy a 4 pack of NiMH rechargeables. Since the camera
only uses 2 AA-sized batteries, you'll be set.
have good news and bad news about the manuals included with the
D-150Z. The good news is that they're a vast improvement over earlier
Olympus manuals. The bad news is that the main manual is only on
CD, in PDF format. There is a "basic" manual that's included,
but it's just that -- basic.
taken a look
at the included Camedia Master software before, and would rank it
as average among other products bundled with digital cameras.
nice thing about the D-150Z and other new Olympus cameras is the
USB AutoConnect feature. This allows users of modern Macs and PCs
to connect the camera without installing any drivers. This also
means that the camera is compatible with Mac OS X.
Brio D-150Z is a small and light plastic camera. It's also very
small, and can easily fit in your pocket. The camera can be held
without trouble with one or two hands. While the camera is made
out of plastic, it doesn't have that "cheap" feel that
some other cameras have. The dimensions of the D-150Z are 4.4 x
2.4 x 1.4, and it weighs just 185 grams (6.5 oz.). For those of
you playing along at home, that makes it slightly bigger and heavier
than the D-100.
our tour with the front of the camera: the F2.4 lens has a focal
range of 5 - 15mm, which is equivalent to 38 - 114 mm. The lens
is not threaded so don;'t expect any accessories lenses for the
the D-510Z, the D-150 has the annoying pop-up flash, which takes
up valuable space for your left hand. You can't put the flash down
until you close the camera, either. The flash on the D-150Z has
a working range of 0.2 - 3.5 m.
back of the camera is pretty sparse. The 1.5" LCD is smaller
than your average LCD, and seemed a bit dark at times. You can adjust
the brightness via the onscreen menus.
optical viewfinder, while good-sized, lacks diopter correction for
those of us with glasses.
the right of the LCD are all the controls you'll find on the Brio
D-150Z. The four-way switch not only moves through the menus, but
it also controls several camera functions, including macro and flash
the four-way switch you'll find buttons for invoking the menus (which
doubles as the OK button), as well as another for turning the LCD
on and off. That button (Display) also puts the camera in playback
mode. Hit it once when the camera is off, or "double-click"
it while it's on.
the top of the camera, you'll find the shutter release button, as
well as the zoom controls. There is no LCD info display on the D-150Z,
so you'll need to turn on the LCD to see current settings and how
many photos are remaining.
one side of the D-150Z, you'll find the I/O ports, under a rubber
cover. They include USB, Video Out, and power in. There's no serial
support available on the 150.
here's the other side of the camera, with the 8MB SmartMedia card
shown. The door over the slot is solid plastic and won't be coming
apart anytime soon. The slot itself is not spring-loaded, so you
just yank the card out.
but not least, the bottom of the camera. Down here you'll find the
battery compartment (which holds one CR-V3 or two AAs) as well as
a plastic tripod mount. To the right is the CR-V3 Long Life Lithium
the Olympus Brio D-150Z
camera takes about 5 seconds to extend the lens and "warm up"
before you can start taking pictures. The LCD does not come on by
default so you'll need to hit the Display button to turn it on.
Depressing the shutter release halfway results in focus lock in
under a second. There's slight shutter lag when you press the button
all the way, but it's minor. Shot-to-shot speed is about average
-- you'll wait about 4 seconds before you can take another shot
(HQ mode). The zoom lens is fairly responsive and accurate.
to some other Olympus cameras, the Brio's resolution and quality
choices are simple. Here's a chart to explain:
card (for reference)
(1280 x 960)
(1280 x 960)
(640 x 480)
D-150Z has a different menu system than all the other cameras, with
the obvious exception of the D-100. Settings are not saved when
the camera is shut off, and they're a little slow to navigate.
choices you'll find in the menus include:
(auto, redeye, force, slow synch, off) - you can also set this
using the "left" button on the four-way switch
(single, continuous, self-timer)
compensation (-2.0EV to +2.0EV in 0.5EV increments)
(SHQ, HQ, SQ)
Balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent)
continuous shooting mode allows you to take several photos in a
row (four in HQ mode) at about 2 frames/second.
take a look at some photos now, shall we?
camera did a good job at our macro test shot, with little noise
and accurate colors. The D-150Z can shoot between 0.2 - 0.5 meters
in macro mode.
D-150 did fairly well at the low-light test as well. It didn't take
in as much light as I was hoping, but for a cheap camera it's fine.
an inexpensive 1.3 Megapixel camera, the Brio D-150Z takes very
good photos. Color and sharpness are very good in almost every situation.
But don't take my word for it -- decide for yourself after looking
at our photo gallery.
D-150Z's playback mode is pretty basic. You've got slideshows, image
protection, DPOF print marking, and "zoom and scroll".
menus in playback mode annoyed me a bit. For example, when you want
to delete all photos or format the card, you have to invoke the
menu, scroll down, choose "yes", pick between format or
erase all, and choose yes again. Perhaps all this is to prevent
accidental formatting? Who knows...
can zoom into your images (up to 2X, no "steps"), and
then scroll around in them. Scrolling around is a bit on the slow
Brio doesn't tell you much about your photos other than when they
were taken and the quality. I'd like to know the exposure information,
but I'm not sure if the target audience does as well.
camera moves between HQ quality shots in about a second, which is
plenty fast. It will take a little longer to move between SHQ photos,
as you might guess.
Does it Compare?
you want an inexpensive camera that's good at taking shots for web
pages and e-mailing photos, check out the Olympus Brio D-150 Zoom.
I'd definitely pay the extra bucks for this model, over the zoomless
D-100. At the same time, I'd encourage shoppers to pay a little
more for the D-510Z, which has more features, 2.1 Megapixel resolution,
and movie modes. Either way, it's not a bad deal.
light, well designed
value for 3X zoom camera
AutoConnect means no drivers
I didn't care for:
rechargeable batteries included
other cameras to consider while shopping include the Canon PowerShot
FinePix 2400, Olympus
D-510Z, and the Sony DSC-P30
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the Brio D-150Z and its competitors before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the D-150Z. If you're still hungry, check
out Imaging Resource's review.
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to email@example.com.
Due to my limited resources, I cannot make personal camera recommendations