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Digital photography is getting better making it easier to take great pictures. Improved technology has made it affordable for consumers to own high-quality digital cameras; make excellent prints using ink jet printers at home; order prints from a web-based service; post and send pictures over the internet. The awkward years for digital are over.

This lesson is designed to teach you:

  • the simplicity of capturing images with an Olympus Stylus 500 digital camera
  • saving or deleting them on the camera
  • copying the image files to a computer
  • preparing image files for email attachments with Olympus Master software

(Most images can be clicked for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  • Battery
  • Media
  • Powering up
  • Disabling the All Reset function
  • White balance
  • Transferring images to your computer
  • Preparing images for email

Equipment Used:

Lighting Equipment

  • Photoflex LiteDisc

In this lesson, we used the Olympus Stylus 500 Digital Camera (5.0 Megapixel), a 32MB xD-Picture card, and a lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

The Stylus 500 comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery (model LI-12B) designed specifically for the Stylus cameras.

Although you can expect to capture and play back many images for each charging, we recommend that you invest in at least one more Lithium-Ion battery so that when you run out of power, you won't have to suspend shooting until your only battery fully charges (figure 1).

Figure 1

Installing the Batteries

On the bottom of the camera you will find the battery access door. With your thumb, slide the door in the direction of the arrow to open (figure 2). The battery is installed with the contacts facing forward or toward the lens, slide the battery into place (figures 3 and 4) then close and secure the door by clicking it back into the locked position.

Figure 2

Figure 5


Digital cameras use media cards to store and transfer images to a computer, and can be used over and over again, eliminating your film and processing costs. The Stylus 500 uses the new xD-Picture Card media, which is much smaller than other types of media and transfers data at a significantly faster rate. The maximum card size to date is 1GB, but this media has the potential of achieving an 8GB capacity in the near future!

Note: Always switch the camera's power off when inserting or removing the xD-Picture card.

The port for the xD-Picture card is located in the battery compartment. To access the xD card port, open the battery door in the same manner shown above (figure 2). The xD card will sit next to the battery (figure 6).

Properly orient the xD card (figure 7) and push into the card port (figure 8). Close the compartment door (figure 9).

To turn the camera on, press the power button on top of the camera. Once power is on, the lens will extend into position. (figure 10)

Figure 10


While you are now able to start taking pictures, you may also want to take a minute to customize the camera to suit your needs.

Out of the box, the functions of the Stylus 500 are set mostly to Automatic. While this allows you to start taking pictures immediately, it also limits the versatility of the camera. In the following steps, we will illustrate how to customize your camera to achieve optimal results.

This camera 21 shooting modes including Program, Night Scene and two underwater modes. For simplicity's sake, we left the camera on Program mode to focus more on the internal settings of the camera. By default, the camera is set to Program.

Before you make any custom settings to your camera, it is important to know about the ALL RESET function, which is activated as a default setting. This feature clears and resets any custom settings you may have made to White Balance, Resolution, etc. . . To disable this function take the following actions (figure 11-15).

With your Stylus 500 powered up, press the OK button to access the main menu. (Figure 11)

Figure 11

Press the right button once to access the mode menu (figure 12). The mode menu is your access point for making adjustments to various camera settings.

The first tab on the left side is CAMERA.

Figure 12

Press the down arrow two times to highlight the SETUP tab (figure 13).

Figure 13

Press the right arrow once will highlight the ALL RESET function and pressing again will enter the menu (figure 14).

Press the up arrow to OFF (figure 15). To return to the shooting mode and/or continue the programming of your Stylus 500 camera, press the OK button once and you will see the All Reset is now set to OFF. Then press the OK button once more to return to the shooting mode.

WARNING: If your batteries run down and you don't exchange them with fresh ones within an hour, the camera will automatically activate the ALL RESET function when you go to power it up again.


Since different sources of light vary in color temperature, it is necessary for a digital camera to have variable color capture settings. In a traditional camera, the type of film (Daylight, Tungsten), as well as filters for the lens, determine how the colors of a shot will turn out.

In a digital camera, you can adjust the White Balance (WB) setting to either balance or modify the colors in your shot. In the Stylus 500, you can either leave it on the AUTO setting (AUTO enables the camera to make its own interpreted setting) to color balance your shot or choose from a selection of icons that represent different Kelvin temperatures (for example, the sun icon represents the color temperature of daylight, which is approximately 5500 degrees Kelvin).

We will set our white balance setting to daylight since we will be shooting outdoors.

Press the OK button once to open the Main Menu window. (figure 16) Then press the down arrow to enter the WB (White Balance) menu.

Figure 16

The White Balance menu window will open with the current setting highlighted (figure 17). By default, the setting is on AUTO.

Figure 17

The up and down arrows are used to scroll through the menu settings (figure 18). Press the down arrow to select daylight (represented by the sun icon).

Press OK to return to the shooting mode.

Figure 18


The Stylus 500 offers a few Record mode JPEG settings that ascend in both image size and quality. They are:

• SQ1/SQ2 Standard Quality - 2 JPEG settings ideal for web quality images.
• SQ2 mode allows you to adjust the resolution (number of pixels) of the image.
• HQ (High Quality) - a JPEG setting good for web and some print quality images.
• SHQ (Super High Quality) - the least compressed JPEG format, great for both web and print.

The following chart further defines these mode types.

Chart 1

Chart 1


This chart will give you an idea of the number of images you can save onto a 32MB or 512MB memory card based on the resolution setting of your Stylus 500.

Stylus 500 Record Modes

Stylus 500 Record Modes


If you prefer to shoot in the SHQ mode, we recommend purchasing larger xD-Picture cards, as you will only be able to record 9-10 images to an empty 32MB card.

To select the Record Mode, activate the Main menu (figure 19) and press the Left arrow button to enter the Record Mode menu (figure 20). This will bring you to a menu where you can select among the various JPEG modes. Select SHQ press the OK/Menu button twice to exit the menu.

The Record mode menu appears with the current setting highlighted (figure 21). Here we are set for the SQ1 record mode.

Figure 21

The up and down arrow buttons are used to navigate through the record mode menu items. Select SHQ (figure 22). Press OK to exit and return to the shooting mode.

Figure 22


Taking good portraits outdoors can be easy if you have some basic light modifiers on hand. A bright sunny day can render beautiful, vibrant colors but can also present a high degree of contrast: a primary concern when shooting portraits.

Figure 23

To illustrate more effectively, we set up a typical backyard portrait set-up with our model. As the model faced the camera, she had to squint as she was also facing the afternoon sun. We zoomed all the way in on her face and took a shot (figure 23).

Here's that contrast we talked about. In addition to the model's squint, notice how bright her forehead is compared to the shadows cast from her nose and chin in this result shot (figure 24).

Figure 24

To reduce the contrast, our assistant held a Photoflex 12" Translucent LiteDisc up to diffuse the sunlight falling on the model's head and shoulders. This eliminated the harsh shadows, but also darkened the lighting slightly. We set the camera to Program mode, composed the frame and took a shot. Notice how much more we can see the model's eyes, and that the shadows have diminished drastically (figures 25 & 26).

For a final touch, we had our model hold a 22" White LiteDisc just under her face to bounce sunlight up into the shadow areas. We took another shot and viewed it on the playback mode of the camera. The shadows under the eyes and nose have been eliminated, and the bottom LiteDisc has created a nice "sparkle" in the model's eyes (figures 27 & 28).

For a full body shot using this technique, you would simply use larger LiteDiscs.


Before you download your images onto your computer to manipulate, email, or print them, you'll need to install the Olympus Master software that came with the Stylus 500. After you've successfully installed this software onto your computer, use the USB cable (included with the camera) to connect the camera to your computer.

It is also possible to use an xD-Picture Card Media Reader to download your images to your computer. This allows you a little more freedom with where the camera is situated. For instance, if you have the camera mounted to a tripod and you want to review the images before striking your set, you need to make sure the computer is within the relatively short USB cable distance to the camera. Otherwise, you have to remove the camera from the set to download the images. With a card reader, all you have to do is remove the card from the camera and insert it into the reader. We can't recommend them enough.

To connect your camera to your computer via the USB cable open the same access door that the xD card went into. Here you will see the USB port where you will connect the camera end of the cable (figures 29, 30, and 31).

Figure 29

Connect the other end of the USB cable to the USB port on your computer and your ready to go.

Once you have connected the camera to your computer, switch the camera to the ON position. After a few moments, an icon will appear on your screen (Mac users on your desktop and PC users in your My Computer folder) that appears as a removable drive icon. Next, create a new folder or choose an existing folder to save your photos into and open it. Now click on the camera icon twice to open the image folder (figures 32 and 33).

Figure 34

With both the camera folder and the new folder open on your desktop, drag and drop the image folder from the camera to the into the new folder. This process may take a few minutes, depending on how many and the size of the photos you are saving (figure 34).

Emailing with Olympus Master Software

Figure 35

Once you have copied the images to your hard drive, you can prepare them for print, email, or web posting by starting up the Olympus Master software (figure 35).

In this sequence, we're going to show you how to use Olympus Master software to send your new images in an email. After launching the software, follow this sequence: Click on the Create and Share icon (figure 36).

Figure 36

When you click on the Create and Share icon, a new window will open up. In this window, click on the E-mail icon to open the e-mail screen. Once you have opened the e-mail screen, click the browse button and choose the folder you saved the photos in, and then click the e-mail icon to return to the e-mail screen (figures 37 and 38).

Once you have the E-mail window open you will see the selected folders contents displayed on the left side of your screen, click on the images you wish to send via e-mail, and then click the ADD button to add them to the queue.

Once you have selected your photos, you can use the image controls on the right side of the e-mail screen to select the file type and size of the image you wish to send. We recommend you select the jpeg format and keep the size to a minimum so that you don’t clog up your e-mail with over-sized files (figures 39 and 40).

Figure 41

Now that you selected the pictures, you want to send and have made your control selections, make sure your e-mail program is open. Then click on the Launch Mailer button on the bottom right side of the e-mail screen (figure 41).

When you click the Launch Mailer button, the Olympus Master software will automatically create the proper file size and types based on your image control settings. Place the images in the attachments field in your e-mail program and open your e-mail window. Next, insert the e-mail addresses of the people you wish to receive your photos, type in any messages you want to send, and click the send button. You have just sent out an e-mail with pictures attached. (figures 42 and 43).

Equipment Used:

Lighting Equipment

  • Photoflex LiteDisc

Recommended Links

  • To learn more about Photoflex equipment, go to www.photoflex.com
  • For more tips and techniques on lighting and cameras, visit www.webphotoschool.com
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