Olympus Stylus 730
One of the few constants of digital cameras (and most consumer electronics) is that substance should always be more important than style. Style can be a great boon, but it can't be the only aspect of a camera. Olympus' 7-megapixel Stylus 730 doesn't quite get that message.
The Stylus 730's slim, rectangular metal body has several striking characteristics that set it apart from other style-minded snapshot cameras. Its 38-to-114mm-equivalent lens uses an internal zooming mechanism, so it always remains flush with the camera body. A large, 3-inch LCD screen somehow leaves enough room for a set of large, tactile buttons on the back panel. The buttons are backlit and look striking in any light, with glowing red, green, and white icons that make the different controls easy to find in the dark.
Though very pretty, the Stylus 730's body isn't the most comfortable to use. The big, bright buttons on the back panel are great, but the shutter release and zoom control on the camera's top edges are small and not very responsive. The camera's LCD, while large, is grainy and prone to image ghosting, which can make framing quick shots awkward. However, the camera doesn't have an optical viewfinder, so you're forced to use the LCD.
Apart from the design touches, the camera's most notable feature is its Simple Mode, an extremely simplified shooting mode activated by pressing a button on the side of the camera. Simple Mode automates nearly every aspect of the camera, leaving the user with only flash, macro, and timer adjustment options. This minimalist control set is similar to the options found on Olympus' budget FE series of cameras. Simple Mode also increases the size and readability of the display, blowing up what little text and icons are shown. This combination of large, easy-to-read text and simplified controls makes the mode a great feature for elderly users.