review is now final. I have tested a production model camera,
and updated the text and product shots accordingly. Also, all sample
photos are from the production camera.
D-560 Zoom ($299 street price) is a stylish new replacement
of the popular D-550Z from last year. As you can see, it has
a new, sleeker, smaller body. It also uses the new xD Picture
Card format, instead of Smartmedia.
D-560Z is a point-and-shoot camera that's easy to carry anywhere.
It's also in a very crowded field, which makes it a
challenge to be the best of the bunch.
does the D-560Z stack up? Find out now!
in the Box?
Olympus D-560Z Zoom has an average bundle. Inside the
box, you'll find:
3.2 effective Mpixel D-560 Zoom camera
xD Picture Card
AA batteries (non-rechargeable)
- Video cable
featuring Olympus Camedia Master software and drivers
page basic manual (printed), fold-out Quick Start guide, plus
manual on CD-ROM
find a 16MB xD Picture Card in the box. It's enough to start
with, but you'll definitely want a larger memory card right
away. xD cards are available in capacities as large as 256MB.
D-560Z uses two AA batteries for power. It can also use a CR-V3
lithium battery. Olympus leaves the battery buying to you, as
they include non-rechargeable batteries in the box. I recommend
a set or two of NiMH rechargeables and a fast charger. You'll
save money in the long run, not to mention the environmental
benefits of not tossing alkaline batteries into the trash every
built-in lens cover is part of the D-560's stylish design. The
cover also doubles as the power switch.
options are fairly limited on the D-560. You can get an AC
adapter ($60) and NiMH charger/battery kit ($50). That' s about
all of Olympus' recent models, the D-560Z is
compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X. In most cases, you won't
even need to install drivers.
D-560Z includes Olympus' Camedia Master 4.1 software. If you've
used older versions of this software, you'll be pleasantly surprised
with the changes in this one.
editing tools included with Camedia Master are impressive. You can
change all kinds of things like brightness, contrast, and color
balance. There are also red-eye reduction and "instant fix" options.
software is much more responsive than the previous versions.
only complaint is that the interface is non-standard (doesn't follow
human interface guidelines) on both Macs and PCs.
$20 more (groan), Olympus will upgrade you to the "Pro" version
of the software. This adds contact sheet printing, image e-mailing,
HTML albums, panorama stitching, and slide shows.
D-560Z keeps up Olympus' unfortunate tradition of putting the
manual on CD. There's a very basic manual in the box, but for
the real dirt on your camera, you'll need to view the PDF file
on the CD. Once you actually get there, you'll find the manual
a bit confusing, but that's typical of camera manuals.
D-560Z has an elegant-looking plastic body. The
camera is super easy to hold, and fits in your pocket with ease.
Despite being plastic, the body feels well built.
official dimensions of the camera are 4.2 x 2.2
x 1.6 inches
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions),
and it weighs 170 grams empty. It's not a super-small camera by
any means... "compact" is the word I'd use.
start our tour of the D-560 now:
D-560 has an F3.0, 3X optical zoom lens. The focal range is 5.8
- 17.4 mm, which is equivalent to 35 - 105 mm. As with most compact
cameras, the lens is not threaded.
at the top-middle of the camera is
the built-in flash. The working range of the flash is approx.
0.2 - 3.4 m at wide-angle, and 0.2 - 2.0 at telephoto. Thank
you Olympus for getting rid of the annoying pop-up flash on previous
below the flash is the self-timer lamp. Sadly, there's
no AF illuminator on the D-560Z.
I mentioned earlier, the plastic door cover doubles as the power
switch. I found it a little too easy to accidentally bump,
thus turning the camera off.
now is the back of the D-560Z. It is nice to see that Olympus
did not skimp on the LCD size here. It's a 1.8" model that
is bright and fluid, though the resolution is a little lower
than I'd like at 85,000 pixels. LCD brightness is adjustable
via the setup menu.
the LCD is the optical viewfinder, which is average-sized
for a small camera. It does lack a diopter correction knob,
but then again, the competition doesn't have it either.
the right of the LCD are several buttons. The Display button
toggles the LCD on and off if you press it once, and
enters playback mode if you press it twice rapidly.
below that is the four-way switch, using for menus and more.
The "more" includes turning on macro mode and the self-timer,
and adjusting the flash setting (auto, auto w/redeye reduction,
fill flash, flash off).
is the top of the D-560Z. Up here, you'll find the shutter release
button and zoom controller. The lens moves from wide-angle to
telephoto in about 1.5 seconds. The lens moves at one speed,
so being precise can be challenging. The lens motor is fairly
this side of the camera, you'll find the I/O ports for video
out and DC-in. They're kept under a rubber cover.
on the other side, behind plastic doors, you'll
find the xD card slot as well as the battery compartment. The
plastic door for the xD slot is much flimsier than the one for
above the xD slot, under another rubber cover, is the USB port.
included xD card and battery are shown at right.
here is the bottom of the camera. The only thing down here is
a plastic tripod mount. It's neither inline with the lens, nor
in the center of the camera.
the Olympus D-560 Zoom
takes a little over 3.5 seconds for the D-560Z to extend its
lens and "warm up" before you can start shooting. That's about
speeds were very good in most cases -- the camera took less than
one second to focus. At lower light levels, the lack of the
AF illuminator becomes apparent, as the camera often couldn't
lag was not a problem when the shutter speed was fast. As you
approaching "I really should be using a tripod" shutter speeds,
it becomes noticeable.
speed is quite good, assuming you turn off the Rec View feature.
That will allow you to quickly take another shot in under two
seconds. If you have Rec View on, you can just half-press the
shutter release to get ready to shoot again.
and quality options are very simple on the D-560Z, which is good.
The options are:
photos on 16MB card (included)
uses one of the better file numbering systems that I've seen. Files
are named Pmdd####.jpg, where m is the month (1-9, A-C), d is the
day, and #### is 0001-9999. This way your file numbers are always
unique (well, for one year at least). File numbering is maintained
as you erase and switch memory cards.
D-560Z uses Olympus' newer menu system, but it's not customizable
like on their higher-end models. When you first press the menu
button, you are presented with four choices: Movie/Photo mode
(depending on which mode you're in), Quality, Mode
and Mode Reset.
of the mode menu, let's take a look at the menu options found
select (Program auto, portrait, landscape, night scene, self
- Metering (ESP, spot)
compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/2EV increments)
(Single-frame, sequential) - the latter takes up to 11 shots
at 1.5 frames/sec
zoom (on/off) - using the 3X digital zoom will reduce
of your images
- helps you make panoramic shots. Requires Olympus-branded
in 1 - two shots in succession combined into one
balance (Auto, sunlight, overcast, tungsten,
(the interesting ones, at least)
reset (on/off) - retain settings after camera is powered off
(English, French, German, Spanish)
View (on/off) - shows image after it's taken on LCD
naming (Auto, reset)
mapping - helps eliminate "bad pixels"
output (NTSC, PAL)
There are no manual controls of any kind on the
D-560Z. It is strictly a point-and-shoot camera.
you as tired of menus as I am? Then here are the photo tests:
D-560Z did a very good job with the macro test. The red is a
little too saturated, but the color colors, as well as the sharpness
of the subject, are fine. The focal range in macro mode is 20
- 50 cm.
Twin Peaks closed during the "orange alert", I've been
trying to seek out other night shots. This one, taken from Dolores
would've been a lot nicer had the D-560Z been able to do a longer
exposure (a faster lens wouldn't hurt, either). In normal program
auto mode, the slowest speed it 1/2 second. To go a little longer
scene mode, which is what I did here.
good thing about night scene mode is that it uses a noise reduction
filter. This noticeably slows down the shot-to-shot speed, but
you do get a relatively noise-free image.
Olympus got rid of the pop-up flash, they made redeye more of
a problem. In general, the closer the flash is to the lens, the
more of a problem it will be. And it's quite noticeable here
in the test shot. It can be removed in software, including Camedia
Master. Redeye is almost a given with smaller cameras.
distortion test is used to illustrate barrel distortion, which
you'll usually notice when taking pictures inside small rooms,
or of objects with straight edges. The distortion here doesn't
seem too bad. Another thing this test often shows is vignetting,
or darkened corners. Thankfully I don't see any of that.
At first I was a bit concerned about how the D-560's photo quality
would turn out. The reason for that concern was that the 560 has
an automatic ISO sensitivity system, similar to the Nikon Coolpix
3100 I just reviewed. Such a system usually leads to higher noise
the D-560 was more conservative about using higher ISO levels,
which kept the noise down. There is still some there,
but it's acceptable in my opinion. Images have Olympus' trademark
sharpness, and colors look accurate as well. My only real complaint
is that the camera blew out the highlights on a few images
(see photos #1 and 10 in the gallery).
Aside from that, I think the image quality is comparable to the
other models in the D-560's
As I always say, don't take my word for it. Take a look at our
photo gallery and judge for yourself.
I realize that I'm missing some of the "usual" shots
in this gallery and I apologize for that. I just wasn't able to
get out there this week.
D-560Z's movie mode is very basic, especially when compared to
those on Canon and Sony cameras. Clips are limited to just 15
seconds at 320 x 240, or 60 seconds at
Sound is not recorded.
are saved in QuickTime format. You
can use the zoom lens during filming.
is a sample movie for you. I'm not sure why there's a reddish
cast to it.
to play movie (3.1MB, QuickTime format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
D-560Z has a very good playback mode. Slide shows, DPOF print
marking, thumbnail mode, and image protection are all available.
zoom and scroll feature is here too, allowing you to zoom in
much as 4X into your photo, and then move around in it.
other handy features are image resizing (to 640 x 480 or 320
x 240) and rotation. You can convert images to black and
white or sepia as well.
you don't get much information about your photos in playback
mode. Turn on "info" in the menus and you'll get more stats,
but no histogram.
Does it Compare?
Olympus D-560Z does what it's intended to do: take good photos
with point-and-shoot ease-of-use (that's a lot of hyphens). That
makes it a fairly average camera in the low cost 3 Megapixel
arena (being the the Canon PowerShot A70, Nikon Coolpix 3100,
and Sony DSC-P72). Photo quality is competitive, as is the performance.
The movie mode is probably the worst of the bunch. I
would've really liked to see some longer shutter speeds, control
over ISO sensitivity, and manual white balance. An AF illuminator
wouldn't hurt either.
now, the only camera in the crowd to offer full manual controls,
a nice movie mode, and an AF illuminator is the Canon A70, which
folks who just want a point-and-shoot camera without a lot
of bells and whistles, the D-560 Zoom is certainly worth a look.
good photo quality
value (3MP for $300)
Master software much improved over earlier versions
I didn't care for:
manual controls of any kind
could be better
3 Megapixel cameras worth considering include the Canon PowerShot A70 and S230,
EX-Z3 and QV-R3, Fuji
FinePix A303, HP
Photosmart 735, Kodak EasyShare DX4330, DX6340 and LS633, Kyocera
Finecam S3L, Minolta
DiMAGE Xi, Nikon Coolpix 3100 and 3500, Olympus
Stylus 300, Pentax Optio 33L and S,
Sony DSC-P72 and -P8,
and the Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try
out the D-560 Zoom and it's competitors before you buy!
out our sample photos to decide if the D-560Z's photo quality
works for you!
a second opinion? How about a third?
welcomes your comments or questions about this review. Send them
to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due
to my limited resources, please do not write asking for personal
recommendations, missing software/manuals, or technical support.