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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 12
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Porsche Carrera GT3
Issue Twelve
May 25, 2004
Porsche 911 GT3
2004 New York Auto Show Coverage
BMW Promotes Chris Bangle
First Drive: 2004 Bentley Continental GT
Digital Camera Comparison & Review
ZF Sachs Nivomat Suspension
Preview: 2005 Porsche 911
Coming Next Issue
Beat Gas Prices
BBQ Guide
Dells Auto Museum
iPod FM Tuners

Digital Camera Comparison:
The Quest for the Perfect Road Trip Camera (continued)

Olympus Stylus 410 Camera

Pentax Optio 555 Camera

Go to
Digital Camera Sample Photo Gallery
For more info see:
Canon USA
Fuji Film
Olympus USA
Pentax USA
Olympus Stylus 410
Street Price: $325.00

I have been using a Stylus 400 as my "road trip camera" for a while now and really enjoy it because of its small size, weather resistant case and 4 megapixel chip. The viewfinder is very bright and the picture quality is pretty good. All things considered, it’s a great all around point and shoot camera. If you have money to burn, go to the Ferrari website and price the red Ferrari version of the 410. This special edition camera has the Ferrari crest on its cover and displays a picture of Schumi’s car on startup (for twice the price of a standard 410 - gotta love royalty fees).

The Stylus 410 builds on the success of the Stylus 400 by including Olympus' new TruPic Turbo image processor that produces significantly cleaner images than the trusty 400. This camera also uses the new XD picture cards that are available in capacities of up to 512 MB. The Stylus 400 has a very robust lithium ion battery that will take over 500 pictures before needing a recharge. The Stylus is still limited to capturing jpeg files, so a 512 MB card will net more than 200 pictures on the highest quality setting. You can also capture 320 x 240 QuickTime movies at 15fps.

The Stylus 410 has a very bright viewfinder that worked well in bright outdoor conditions and its tiny size combined with the clamshell case design is a plus. It offers a 3x optical zoom along with 4x digital zoom, but I do not recommend using the digital zoom unless absolutely necessary. The image quality is not that great in digital zoom mode (nor is it in anyone else’s camera).

The Olympus Stylus 410 may not be as cool as the Minolta, but it does move you up on the ladder of picture quality.

Pentax Optio 555
Street Price: $429.00

I guess if the Minolta Xg were a car, it would be a Mini Cooper and the Olympus would be VR6 Golf. By comparison, the Pentax is a Saturn. As Seinfeld says, "Not that that’s a bad thing."

While not as sexy as the other two, the Optio is a bit bigger and heavier, but it packs a lot more capability. The Optio 555 has a 5 megapixel sensor and allows you to capture pictures in uncompressed TIFF mode. While this will cut down the amount of pictures you can take per memory card, the Optio had outstanding picture quality and is capable of make a really nice 11 x 17-inch print (impressive considering its price and size).

The Optio’s autofocus performance was good and the screen brightness was above average. It uses a USB interface and the SD/MMC memory cards that are available
up to 1gb now. You can also capture higher quality QuickTime movies with the Optio. The battery life was quite good and I was able to take almost 600 shots before running out of juice.

A little bit more utilitarian, but takes great pictures.

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