The Olympus D-510 Zoom has a slightly smaller and lighter body than its predecessor, the Olympus D-490 Zoom, but it outweighs the earlier model in both features and functionality. Surprisingly, the D-510 Zoom is even easier to use than the earlier offering, thanks to a revamped menu and streamlined controls. The Olympus D-510 Zoom has a slightly smaller and lighter body than its predecessor, the Olympus D-490 Zoom, but it outweighs the earlier model in both features and functionality. Surprisingly, the D-510 Zoom is even easier to use than the earlier offering, thanks to a revamped menu and streamlined controls.
Same but different
The D-510 Zoom retains some characteristics of its older sibling--the same basic body design, 3X optical zoom, 2.1 megapixel count, and clear, bright LCD--but the new model offers more control over image capture. This may not make much difference to the average point-and-shoot photographer, but if you want to fine-tune your images, the D-510 Zoom's additional features provide enough tweaking capability to see a noticeable improvement.
In addition to more resolution options (1,600x1,200 to 640x480), which allow you to easily adjust the image quality to your taste, the D-510 Zoom also has three sharpness settings (Hard, Normal, and Soft), as well as a new contrast-adjustment feature (High, Normal, and Low) to compensate for tricky lighting situations. Accessing and changing these and other settings on the D-510 Zoom is easier than with earlier models, with the addition of easy-to-decipher abbreviations such as PIC, CAM, and so forth to the formerly pictograph-only menu. The controls on the back of the camera have also been pared down and simplified for easier operation of the jog-dial menu buttons.
Perhaps the most significant improvement--and it's about time for this one--is the USB connection. And we're not talking just any old USB connection: the D-510 Zoom incorporates USB Auto Connect technology. So if you're using Windows XP, 2000, or Me or Mac OS 8.6 or higher, you won't need to install a driver or restart your computer to view your images. (Drivers, which are included with the camera software, would need to be installed for older operating systems.) Another nice bonus is that, unlike previous low-end Olympus models that would max out with 16MB and 32MB card capacity, the D-510 accepts high-capacity, 128MB SmartMedia cards, so you can shoot to your heart's content. However, the D-510 Zoom comes with only an 8MB card, so out-of-the-box shooting capacity is somewhat limited.