Olympus Camedia D-395
The 3.2-megapixel Olympus Camedia D-395 offers a nice set of basic features at a very affordable price. However, its 33mm lens (35mm-camera equivalent) limits its versatility. It doesn't cost much more to get a camera with a 3X zoom lens, a feature that most people will find is worth paying a little extra for.
In typical Olympus fashion, the D-395 has a sliding lens cover that, when opened, powers up the camera. Its moderate size and weight--6.8 ounces with batteries and an xD-Picture Card installed--put this camera in the pocketable class, while it's not too small for larger hands to operate.
Aside from the flash, the self-timer, and the digital zoom (which are directly accessible via a four-way arrow pad), you change settings by using a graphical dial and menus on the LCD. Once you get the hang of using the dial, decipher what the icons mean, and learn to navigate the tabbed menus, the system is easy to use. However, if you're accustomed to using dedicated buttons for setting changes, you may find it a bit unwieldy and time-consuming.
The D-395's feature set is pared down to the very basics, including several scene modes and white-balance presets, as well as exposure compensation and silent video capture. But Olympus has provided a few extra features for the point-and-shoot set, such as in-camera resizing for e-mail and also black-and-white and sepia effects. Each of these processes produces a separate file, so you retain your original. Panorama and two-in-one pictures are also available. For fun, you can create a nine-frame still image from movie clips.
Conveniently powered by one CR-V3 or two AA batteries, the D-395 offers performance that's a mixed bag. On the plus side, its 3.26-second start-up time to first shot wasn't bad, but its shutter lag extended to almost a second, and the shot-to-shot time was average or below at about 3.3 seconds without the flash and 4.6 seconds with it.
With a few exceptions, images were well exposed, with pleasingly rendered and saturated colors. An occasional underexposure surprised us, while hot spots from an overzealous flash in macro shots did not. Our test shots were moderately sharp, but details were sometimes soft or missing.