Small photo of the Olympus D-450Z

Notes on my Olympus D-450Z digital camera

by Gerald Oskoboiny


Contents

I've been looking around for a while for a digital camera, reading lots of reviews & specs, etc., and had decided to get an Olympus D-340R (~ $270 USD), but then Ralph convinced me to get one with an optical zoom so I upgraded myself to the Olympus D-450 Zoom.

I ordered it from Beach Camera (which has a lame web site, but excellent prices) for $397 USD on Nov 15, 1999. It arrived less than 48 hours later, along with an unexpected $30 shipping charge that I intend to take up with the nice folks at Biotch Camera.

It also came with some rechargeable batteries that I agreed to buy at the last minute for $50, and which promptly caught fire a few minutes after I plugged the charger into the wall socket.

Camera info/reviews

News/updates

January 19, 2002

I made a web page to keep track of various cameras I have experience with.

November 23, 2001

I lost my camera tonight. :(

This sucks, but I was intending to upgrade soon anyway, and I did shoot about 10,000 photos with this camera, so I'm pretty sure I got my money's worth. And it was starting to get difficult to use due to wear and tear from all the abuse I put it through while I owned it.

September 10, 2001

Resumed working on my photo metadata management software, and made a page to keep track of photo metadata software/notes.

May 6, 2001

Wrote a script to extract photos from my pcmcia card

May 5, 2001

Bought a PCMCIA/smartmedia adapter in Hong Kong for only $85 HKD (~$11 USD)!

Oct 17, 2000

After getting a bit more experience with photo storage formats, I don't think photopc is quite the marvel I originally thought it was: it doesn't do anything special to deal with photo metadata on its own, it just reads photo files from cameras and writes them to disk as-is. (they happen to have photo metadata already embedded inside.)

gphoto inexplicably removes this metadata from image files before writing them to disk (at least the version I tried does.)

So to sum up: photopc isn't way better than gphoto, gphoto is just a lot worse than photopc.

(This is not meant to knock photopc: it is excellent at what it does.)

Sep 4, 2000

Started writing some software to manage photo metadata.

Apr 24, 2000

I ordered a couple 32M Sandisk smartmedia cards for $64 each, so I can go nuts taking pictures on my vacation in Europe this summer. This will bring my total storage capacity to 88 megs, enough for about 1320 photos on the camera's lowest resolution (640x480), or 352 photos on the higher resolution (1280x960).

After owning the camera for a few months, I'm still very happy with it -- I had no trouble at all getting it to work with various software on my Linux box, the picture quality is very good, and the price I paid still seems to be a very good price (in fact, I haven't seen it priced that low since I bought it.)

Apr 18, 2000

Finally ordered a replacement battery charger from Thomas Distributing for $28.90. I think I've gone through about 40 disposable batteries in the meantime.

Feb 25-27, 2000

I had lots of fun with my camera this weekend in New York -- I tried to fill up all its memory (24M), but failed.

Dec 31, 1999

Bought a 16M Sandisk smartmedia card from Future Shop in Edmonton, for $80 CAD ($50 USD), so I would have enough space for tonight's parties. (Password protected)

Unfortunately, the LCD screen on the back of my camera got broken last night (see photo); I put it on top of a fridge for safekeeping, and someone knocked it off. It still works fine though.

Nov 23?, 1999

photopc is indeed exactly what I was looking for, thanks to Eugene for writing it!

Nov 22, 1999

Cool, it sounds like photopc groks metadata! I haven't tried it yet though.

Here's info on the protocol. And here's a photo gallery run by the guy that reverse-engineered the protocol, with lotsa cool metadata associated with each photo. Excellent.

Nov 17, 1999

gphoto lists the D-450Z as "supported", and I got it working without much trouble.

I first tried using the latest "stable" version of gphoto (0.4.0), but that didn't quite work so I downloaded the current development code from CVS, compiled and ran that. I then found that the problem was I didn't have access to my serial device as a regular user (this might have been the problem with 0.4.0 as well.) Yep, permission checking was only added recently -- less than a day before I downloaded it! Open source software rules!

So within 20-30 minutes of receiving the camera I was able to download images from it and put them online.

Unfortunately I haven't found or written software yet to extract metadata along with the photos (date/time, exposure info.) I hope this is possible somehow (i.e., that the camera exports this data) -- I'm pretty sure it is, but didn't research this ahead of time.

Software

So far I only have experience with gphoto and photopc; of these two, I highly recommend photopc, since it understands and stores photo metadata (time/date, exposure). gphoto has a nice GUI interface, but I can't see why anyone would want to use a GUI interface for something like downloading photos from a camera.

Sample images

Closeups, lots of detail (high-resolution jpegs, 1280x960 pixels):

Photo of my lunch Photo of Chaals

Closeup, with flash (lowest resolution jpegs, 640x480 pixels):

Closeup of my face

Night photos, no tripod, low resolution:

Trees with lights at night A playground at night

I took a ton of photos with this camera during my summer 2000 vacation in Europe; some of them are excellent. (I'll add the best ones to this page when I get around to it.)

See also


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Gerald Oskoboiny, <gerald@impressive.net>