Camera Startup

Olympus decided that the message about their "Supersonic Wave Filter" which cleans the sensor each time the camera is powered on wasn't getting through properly. Hence on the E-500 you are greeted by this animation each time the camera is switched on. With the animation enabled startup takes 2.8 seconds, with it disabled you save around one second; 1.7 seconds.

We assume that much of the 1.7 seconds startup has to do with the execution of the SSWF cleaning the sensor. Surely it would be better to have the SSWF only execute once every 24 hours and automatically after the lens is changed.

(If you can't see an animation above you need the latest Flash plugin, click here)

Record information display / settings change

An example of the detailed information display which provides a summary of current camera settings and exposure. Press the OK button to access any displayed setting, move around using the 4-way controller and OK again to change.
Here an example of the ISO selection screen, this can be accessed using the method above or simply by pressing the ISO (down-arrow) button. Use the 4-way controller or main dial to change a setting then press OK to confirm (or half-press the shutter release*).
Changing drive / self-timer mode. Changing AF Area mode.

* Thankfully the E-500 allows you to quickly change settings without requiring the OK confirmation every time (unlike the Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT).

Record review & Play

If enabled the E-500 will provide a review of the image shot immediately after the shutter release (the length of time this is displayed can be set from 1 to 20 seconds). By default the record review display mode will be a single image with no information overlaid. In Play mode you can choose between the seven display modes by pressing the INFO button, the display mode is then memorized and also used for record review. The only thing you can't do in record review is erase / cancel the image, pressing the erase button does nothing.

Display modes

Kudos to Olympus for providing a wide range of display modes including the very useful blinking highlights and blinking shadow modes.

No overlaid information Basic overlay (quality, filename, file number)
More overlay (quality & size, date & time, filename, file number) Thumbnail with AF point, quality, four-way histogram and detailed exposure info.
Large overlaid histogram with semi-transparent background. Blinking highlights (either over-exposed or almost)
Blinking shadows (either under-exposed or almost)  

Image magnify

Turn the main dial counter-clockwise to enter magnify mode, keep turning to magnify up to 14x. Use the four way controller to pan around the magnified image. Disappointingly beyond 8.0x you don't actually see any more detail, magnify appears to use a low resolution embedded JPEG. UPDATE: We have confirmed that in magnify mode you are only looking at a 1600x1200 embedded JPEG image, hence any magnification 8.0x won't deliver any more detail.

Jump zoom / Side-by-side compare

Two unique features of the E-500 are 'jump zoom' and 'side-by-side compare'. In playback mode simply press the custom WB / multi-function button to display a small bounding box indicating a 10x zoom area, press again to magnify or you can modify the size and position of this box. If you press the AF point button you get a side-by-side comparison view which shows the same part of the next image (you can browse the right side).

Thumbnail index

Turn the main dial clockwise to switch to thumbnail index views, there are a total of five different index views; 4 images (2x2), 9 images (3x3), 16 images (4x4) and 25 images (5x5) as well as the very useful calendar view which allows you to browse your images by the date they were taken.

Other play functions

Press the Erase button to erase the current image. Note that this function can be used with multiple items selected. Press the Copy button to copy this image from one card to another. Note that this function can be used with multiple items selected.
An example of using the OK button to select multiple images and then pressing the Erase button.