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Olympus have this to say about the camera:
"If you want to shoot high quality pictures but need a camera that is extremely easy to operate and that doesnt break the bank, look no further than the C-180. This camera packs 5.1 million pixels, seven scene programmes, a quality autofocus lens, advanced TruePic Turbo image processor, and a movie function into its very compact design."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: It's
very compact and made out of shiney silver plastic.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm Camera (PC-550).
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - a large memory card, and a case would have been nice.
The Camera in Use:
Using alkaline batteries I managed around 45-50 photos - this is
poor compared to some of the newer Sony Stamina cameras, however, it's
better than others - rechargable high-powered Ni-Mh batteries and a charger
are highly recommended and should provide much better battery life.
Speed: The camera is quick to switch on and take photos. The screen updates are quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is also fairly quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 4x. Shot to shot time seemed about average. The camera shutter response seemed about average, and sluggish in low light. Focusing was quite good, but slow in low-light.
Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, the built in help explains the dial-modes when you select them. The controls on the back of the camera are very easy to use - with the clear photo / play buttons. The camera is compact but not overly small. The menus are responsive, easy to use, and the options are easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation (there's very little control beyond point and shoot operation).
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are very easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled well. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically. The buttons are a good size, and I especially like the play / record buttons. Build quality seems good.
Screen / Viewfinder: The 1.5" screen, although small, is clear with accurate colours, and updates smoothly. There is no optical viewfinder.
Image quality generally: Outside image quality was good, colour was rich and saturated, and noise seemed quite low, the pictures had good contrast, although images were soft and as a result detail was average. Indoors - image quality was quite good - although focusing was occassionally a problem and red eye was quite noticable. Images were generally fairly soft, and may benefit from sharpening. The maco mode was fairly poor as the closest you can get to the subject is around 20cm away.
Image quality issues: There was very minor purple fringing.
Zoom: The camera
has no optical zoom lens, meaning you will either need to walk closer
to the subject in order to frame the subject correctly, or alternatively
use the digital zoom - which will degrade image quality drastically.
Movie: The movie mode offers 320x240 / 30fps or 15fps. The video mode is good and works well, however the lack of sound seriously limits it's usefullness.
Size + Compression options: The choices are SHQ 5mp, HQ 5mp, SQ1 2mp, SQ2 VGA. There's a limited choice here although it should keep the intended market happy - it would be nice to see a 3:2 aspect ratio available (especially for those wanting to print traditional 6x4" photos).
The flash performed quite well in the photos I took and performed better
when the subject was closer to the camera - however I wouldn't expect
the camera to light up large rooms.
Conclusion: The Olympus Camedia C-180 D-435 scores very highly on ease of use, but unfortunately falls short on image quality, with soft images, and slow speed in use. The lack of optical zoom is a real shame as well - especially considering Olympus offer the 4 megapixel, 3x optical zoom C-480 for around the same price as the C-180, you'd be better off buying a camera with an optical zoom lens. Images do have good colour and this camera may suite those looking for an extremely easy to use point and shoot camera.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.