Top of camera controls

Top of the camera is the main mode switch, controlling the power mode of the camera either RECORD, OFF or PLAY.

The smaller round buttons control flash mode, focus mode (manual / infinity lock / macro) and self timer. The kidney shaped MODE button enters the exposure mode menu on the LCD which let you switch between:

P Mode (programmed exposure), Movie, Panorama, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Landscape, Portrait and Night Scene.

Controls are definite if a little plastic to the touch, it's good to see a good number of controls on the outside of the camera (not having to dive into menus to change standard modes). All of the settings can optionally be memorised between power-off and power-on (detailed later).

Rear of camera controls

On the rear of the camera we have the main 4-way cursor controller, in record mode pushing left or right (+ / -) sets exposure compensation, in menus the cursor control is used for navigating the menus in combination with the MENU / SET buttons.

Useful feature: The PREVIEW button allows you to preview the last shot you took (in record mode) which is displayed for as long as you hold the PREVIEW button, DISP controls the LCD display, toggling between no preview, simple preview or preview with overlayed information (as above).

The zoom control is angled perfectly to fit under your thumb when holding the camera, as I previously mentioned it doesn't actually move very much which causes two problems (1) you're never quite sure if you've moved it and (2) the zoom moves too much with each touch.

Record mode display

The image on the left is the normal record mode display, indicating the current record settings (in this case, no flash, macro, P mode, 2048 x 1536 / FINE, continuous). The hand symbol (camera shake) on the left indicates that the light is insufficient for a good handheld shot (shutter speed would be below about 1/60s). Half-pressing the shutter release button triggers the autofocus and exposure system, the central bracket [   ] turns green to indicate a good focus or red to indicate a bad focus, to the left is the aperture and shutter speed which will be used for the shot.

Their is also a useful GRID mode which displays this 4 x 3 grid over the live preview image, this can be extremely useful for aligning horizontal or vertical elements of the composition or for ensuring centralisation of a subject.

I particularly liked this option and used it almost by default.

Playback display

Switching to PLAY displays the last image taken, along with a brief display of the date and time the shot was taken, unfortunately it's not possible to display exposure information at this stage. To zoom in to the review image you must enter the menu system and select zoom, there's only one zoom level which is about 3 x zoom. Scrolling is smooth using the 4-direction control.
Selecting thumbnail (9 Multi) from the menu gives this display, unfortunately it's not a selection grid, but does allow you to scroll through your images using the left and right on the 4-direction control.