Verve, Olympus' digital camera, offers organic

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December 02, 2004

Verve, Olympus' digital camera, offers organic look, feel in multiple colors

The consumer electronics item projected to be one of the best selling holiday gift items this year is the digital camera.

And it looks like Olympus has come up with something different with its latest offering, the Verve.

The Verve ($349.99) has a kind of organic look and feel that I found to be more ergonomic than its rectangular counterparts. The Verve lends itself to a more natural grip when you're ready to capture an image. The lens is concealed behind a silver-rimmed circular door that opens and closes flush to the camera's surface.

In addition to the shape are the six different colors it comes in which are black, blue, red, silver, copper, and white. And although some of the colors may differ, do you begin to see a similarity with a wildly successful consumer electronic product? Think "iPod Mini" from Apple.

Something about the iPod Mini just makes it stand out in the crowd of MP3 players, and I believe that Olympus might have done exactly the same thing with the Verve.

The Verve includes a built-in flash, red eye reduction, a good 4-megapixel rating, 1.8 inch LCD screen, seamless optical and digital zoom, plus an assorted array of features available through its on-screen menu. These include image effects that let you resize, rotate, convert to black and white or sepia tones, and stitch up to 10 frames for a panorama effect. You can also shoot full-motion videos and sound, their length depending on how much memory you have available on the removable xD Picture Card (a 16-megabyte card is included in the box).

When you power on the Verve, you hear the sound of an automobile engine starting up. Or you can configure it with other power-up sounds and screens.

Olympus includes software for Windows and Macintosh as the camera works on both platforms. Even without installing the Olympus software, OS X on the Macintosh will read the images onto the desktop when using the included USB cable. Olympus includes an audio and video cable so that you can see and hear everything on any television with composite video and audio-in jacks. An included battery charger powers the camera's lithium-ion battery.

Information is available at www.olympusamerica.com.

Craig Crossman/Knight Ridder/Tribune

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