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Another useful tool is the exposure compensation. This is of course available on most cameras, but Olympus has implemented a very nice version. When selected the LCD screen goes into split screen mode, with the effect of the various steps of exposure in real time, so you can scroll through to the desired exposure setting. Very nice. The feature can also be used post capture in the edit menu.
Olympus has also added a shadow exposure adjustment button, which opens up the darker areas of the image before capture. This is similar to systems employed by other manufacturers, but the button is readily available and it's simple to operate so it's more likely to be used.
Another useful, and increasingly popular too, which Olympus has added to the camera is Face Detection, enhancing the auto focus by searching for faces in the frame, and the exposure system then provides the best exposure for that subject.
The 1030 SW has a large 2.7inch Hypercrystal LCD, which is said to enhance the brightness of the screen in bright sunlight, while Olympus' BrightCapture Technology is used to brighten the LCD in low light conditions to allow easier framing of the image. BrightCapture is also used in the low light scene modes to enhance the detail and colour of the images when flash isn't being used.
The metering system uses Olympus' ESP system, recognised from the myriad of cameras it's produced over the years. This allows multi pattern metering to provide the best exposure across the whole scene. A spot metering mode is also included for more tricky or precise needs. Centre weighted metering is not included, but the camera does have a live histogram. How much of a help this is on a camera with no manual controls and that's aimed at consumers, I'm not sure.
In general terms the camera handles really well. The screen is bright enough to use in demanding conditions, including nightclubs and on bright direct sunlight. The back of the camera has a main control dial to reduce the amount of buttons presumably but it can easily be knocked to a different setting if you're not careful.
The other buttons are small, but raised enough to be able to be pressed easily and efficiently. My one criticism is that the engravings aren't cleared marked, and you have to angle the camera in certain lights to be able to see which button you need, which is annoying and slows operation down somewhat. I dare say with constant use, you'd get used to their positions and functions though.
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