This camera is the second olympus I have owned, the first being the c310-zoom which a compact. This camera provides real film similarity and versatility. The zoom is great and has a digital zoom function. There is option for sepia, black and white and editing functions. You can also plug the video setting into the tv direct from the camera and watch your videos. The quality of the photos is amazing and like a good quality real film camera. So clear. You can adjust the size and quality easily. There are really alot of functions on this camera and is well worth the money.
Is your wife a goer? Eh? Much as I’d like to give you this classic Monty Python scene in its entirety I’m not going to. For that you’ll need to visit http://www.intriguing.com/mp/_scripts/livebowl.txt and scroll about halfway down. What I can give you though is this truly appropriate excerpt: Man: Whoa! Is your...is your Glendale wife interested in...photography? Eh? Eh? Eh? Man with hat: Photography? Man: "Photographs, eh?" he asked him knowingly! Man with hat: Photography? Man: Snap, snap, grin, grin, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more! Man with hat: Sort of...holiday snaps, eh? Man: They could be, they could be taken on holiday, you know! Swimming costumes, candid...you know, "candid" photography? Man with hat: No, we don't have a camera! So, photography he asked him knowingly indeed. Why the digital camera must have been a revelation for boudoir photography enthusiasts world wide. It sure made my day when upon unwrapping my main (yes I get several) present at Chrimbo I was presented with a digital camera par du excellence. “Way hey,” I said to my wife, “wink, wink, nudge, nudge,” went I, “say no more, nods as good as a wink to a blind man you know!”. She looked at me and said, “we’ll have none of that.” I wasn’t dispirited; I didn’t just desirest a digital camera for the bedroom. I was away. Batteries in, power on, Click click snap snap. Within 30 seconds of taking of the wrapper I’d already taken 24 pictures of the family at Christmas. A family who at first had smiled for their portraits but dismayingly soon the smiles had turned to frowns. They wanted to continue un-wrapping their gifts. How selfish. But never the less what a wonderful advert for how easy this camera is to use!! The Olympus Camedia C-720 Ultra Zoom is a high resolution, lightweight, fantasta-zoom came
ra. But what does all that mean? Well the Camedia cameras are Olympus’ range of compact digitals designed to function with many of the same capabilities of a digital SLR (SLRs are the big cameras that the proper people use!) but to substantially bring down the cost entailed with that (a difference of around 6 or 700 quid), to allow accessibility to photography to those who want to produce professional looking, high resolution and quality images. So what does the Olmpus provide that’s so great? 3 Mega pixel Camera. What is a mega pixel I hear you cry? Well, in short it’s a 1 million pixel image. A pixel is a tiny piece of information holding the colour, a tiny part of the whole picture. Imagine a piece of a jigsaw if you will. Take your computer screen; most people will have it set to 800x600 (that’s about ½ a million pixels). Those numbers are the amount of pixels on your screen. So if you have a 3 Mega pixel camera, all the images you take will have 3 million pixels on the photograph. 8 x Optical Zoom. Optical zoom is the part of the camera that takes you closer to the thing you want to photograph without you actually having to move. Clever stuff! I’m sure you all know how magnification works so I won’t dwell upon it, but using optical zoom the lenses are photographing exactly what they see. The higher your optical zoom the better. High in comparison to the Fuji F602 (6x) and this costs almost an extra £200 or the Nikon Coolpix 4500 (x4) at an extra £150 3 x Digital Zoom. Digital zoom is the clever bit. It’s where the camera sort of guesses what it is looking at and uses its pixels to increase the image further. In combination with the optical zoom the camera can return an image up to 24 times that which you can see. For those n who have bought lenses for SLRs this gives the ranges of 40-320mm in the optical zoom or up to 960mm in the digital zoom, though at th
is ra nge optimal picture quality is unlikely. Digital ESP metering system with imager. Spot metering. AE lock possible. Basically the light meter takes a small point in the frame and ensures the picture is correctly exposed. In others words it makes sure it isn’t too light or too dark. Combined with the built in flash this camera takes some incredible indoor shots. Further combined with the ability to choose the film speed using ISO Settings 100, 200 or 400 (you’ll maybe have seen these numbers on film that you’ve bought?) and the shutter speeds you can obtain pictures in different situations. Variable F-Stop. F-stop is the term we use to show how large the aperture is. This also affects the amount of light being taken in, so allows the camera to take pictures in a variety of situations. Variable shutter speeds. From 1/1000 of a second up to 8 seconds. The shutter speed defines how quickly the photo is taken. If you are taking a motion picture, for example, you want this to be as quick as possible. However if you are taking a night picture you might want to leave this open longer, for example taking photos of stars or lights. Macro mode. Using macro mode you can take some exceptionally detailed, close range photographs. A fine example is wanting to take a photograph of a flower so only petals fill the entire picture. You’d hope to see the colours within and a highly detailed image. Standard control of the camera is navigated by using a mode setting dial. These modes handle the typical settings associated with the picture you choose. Thus how I managed to get taking pictures so soon! This option gives you four main presets, including portrait, sports, landscape portrait and night. Each of these can be adjusted and there is also a fifth option ‘my mode’ so you can set up your own controls for overall flexibility. Modes can be controlled using an easy to navigate and user friendly me
nu based s ystem that is displayed on the digital screen. The camera includes both a digital view finder and a 1.5” 140000 pixel screen that you can use to take or preview pictures. The camera has a continuous shooting mode that will take up to five pictures at around 1.2 per second, good for action shots! What’s more the camera has a built in timer that allows you to get in on your own pictures, so no more holding the camera at arms length and hoping for the best or, and more importantly, waiting for a stranger to come along and hoping the don’t leg it with your toy! This particular gem also provides you the ability to take titbits of video in QuickTime format. With two settings available you can take between 33 seconds up to almost 3 minutes of footage! Whilst at this stage I haven’t been able to fully test its capabilities I have managed to take some exceptional portraits and close up shots alike (including a great one of a small furry snail that was in the middle of the road!). I’ve found the camera easy to use from the first and easy to manipulate as I have become more accustomed to it. I only have one small gripe and that is with the manual, there are certain terms and expressions used that I wasn’t au fait with and had to search alternative methods to determine optimum settings. A glossary would have been useful! It is of course called a compact camera, and that is just what it is. Probably larger than your average digital compact, 107.5mm (W) x 76mm (H) x 77.5mm (D) but at only 315g you’d be hard pressed to worry about its weight. It fits inside my coat pocket with alarming ease, and once I’d got it tucked away I could hardly feel it at all. Ideal if like me you hate carrying things around! The Olympus comes with a 16MB smartmedia card. This doesn’t sound a lot but depending on which format you take the picture in, the 720C has 7 of varying sizes
and resolution, you can take anywhere from 1 to 99. Surely if you are looking at taking a portrait and have time to set up the camera and work out the details 1 is fine, but if you are snap happy and want to be able to discard unwanted snaps then 99 is fantastic. These cards go up to 128mb and start at around £7 for a 16mb card. The camera is USB compatible, comes with its own drivers and a fantastic piece of software that provides those of us without copious amounts of pirated imaging software (Photoshop etc.) with a handy tool for manipulating images. This includes cropping, resizing and distorting - the list goes on. Most significantly it provides us with a method by which to categorise or “Albumise” our pictures and an easy way of viewing them, thumbnails and full screen. Finally, but not least by any means is the quality of the output. On the screen pictures look fantastic, as I said earlier there are 7 format types that increase or decrease in size. Personally I used SQ2 1,280 x 960 (high) or: SQ2 1,024 x 768 (high) which is roughly the same as the resolution of my monitor. So pictures I took were viewed at full screen and are clear, clean and blemish free. I haven’t quite worked out how this ratio compares to the size of a piece of paper, however I do know that using a HPDeskjet 900C I printed a picture at this resolution on to an A4 piece of photo paper and produced a picture that was near as damn it perfect. In conclusion, this is a pricey entry in the digital compact market. But this is truly a high class piece of digital compact technology. The functionality and output can match and even exceed those that are more expensive in its class. Whilst looking at comparisons I felt this was a better option than similarly priced models of the photographic giants Nikon, Kyocera and Canon. Olympus has a grand tradition of lenses and photography and my family and I have never been disappointed by any o
f their products. I d oubt you will be to!
I like to think of myself as a keen amateur photographer. Im not the sort to spend thousands of pounds on lenses, SLR's or filters but I do enjoy capturing a beautiful photograph with an ideal camera to suit my needs and my pocket. After studying phontography during my 'A' Levels 7 years ago, I was able to collect an active knowledge of the art and skill behind the lense and an ability to appreciate what is hot and what is not when it comes to cameras. Therefore during my pursuit to find that ideal camera all avenues were pursued. The debate over digital and Film based cameras will continue for many years and I dont want to bore you with it now. I chose a digital camera in the end and an Olympus one at that. My reasoning and a description of the camera are to follow. Firstly let me tell you about my camera and the company that make it.. I own the Olympus C-700 Ultra Zoom Camera. It boasts many unique features that many digital cameras do not posess yet as well as some state of the art features found on all digital cameras. The difference with Olympus is that you are buying from a proven and trusted source with many years in the photographic industry. *- History -* Dating back to 1919, Olympus were originally formed in Japan to produce Microscopes and not cameras. In fact, their first venture into the world of cameras was for their high quality lenses. Thanks to the knowledge in lense construction and design, the were soon producing some of the best equipment in the world for camera manufacturers so the production of thie rown brand camera to accompany the lenses was a logical step. Olympus are also famous for one of the most popular 35mm cameras of all time. The Olympus Trip. These were standard issue to students during A levels due to their versatility and durability. This is something synonymous throughout the Olympus range today. Going back to my camera, let me tell you about some of the fe
atures contained within its tiny casing. Design/layout. One of the finest pieces of compact camera equipment that I have ever used, the C-700 has everything and more buit into it. Housed within its sleek aluminium looking shell is a range of electronic technology that even most computers would be jealous. The Front of the camear is dominated by the large zoom lense that is fully retractable within the camera. This prevents any damage to the actual zoom when not in use. A handy way to protect its main moving part. The Button used for all shot snapping is large and round and situated right on the top under your Right hand thumb. This means people with even the largest fingers are not hampered when using this small camera. This large thumb wheel makes menu navigation simple and easy when selecting features on the camera or for general usage. The back of the camera posesses one of the sharpest and most easy to read LCD screens I have seen on a camera. Usually these are too small or hard to see in certain lights but this is a very bright screen that shows tremendous detail. The compact size and specificaations of the camera means that it weighs only 11 ounces. This is one of the lightest digital cameras available and unmatched with its portability and space requirements. Features. The features seem to be endless with this camera as it is suitable for nearly any photographer in any condition. Whether it be macro work on close up images or long range zoom work, this camera can handle it all. The 10X Optical zoom allows for a physical zoom with the lense up to 10 times the normal. Add to this the 2.7 times digital zoom that enhances the image and you have a total of 27 times original zoom. This is ideal for any photography. It is unlikely you will need more that this even in profesisonal situations. For a keen amateur or a holiday snapper, this is more than adequate. The ability to store movies and sound as well as image
s seems to be ever more popular today and this camera supports this too. Storage of JPEG AND TIFF images as well as WAV sound files and Quick time Movies means that any home PC can be linked up to the camera through the handy USB cable supplied and the images can be quickly downloaded and viewed. This USB connection also allows your computer to use the C-700 as an additional hard drive so you can use it in a drag-and-drop format for placing images and files in the correct places rather than forcing the user to download them to one predetermined directory as most software supplied with cameras now does. The storage of images.movies and sound files can be made to the 16 Mb flash card that comes with the camera as standard. As an aftermarket product, additional flash cards can be bought up to 64Mb in size. These can store up to 56 images at the highest resolution or 300+ at a lower resolution. These can be quite expensive to buy and the 16Mb card is ample for most uses. Results. It could not be easier to use. No more ruined shots for you. With digital cameras it is just a matter of erasing pictures you dont want. Results are improved further thanks to the addition of digital ESP multi-pattern and Multi spot metering. This is a technical way to eliminate such problem faults in picture taking such as blurring, red-eye and out of focus pictures. The addition of Auto White Balance and Aute Exposure bracketing also prevents shots being too dark or light from over or underexposure. Actual images. These are clean and crisp. They make anyone look like a professional photographer as they eliminate any chances of bad photography. However, should you wish to have more control, many of these features can be turned off in the menu. Once downloaded to the PC and printed out, they could be straight out of David Bailey's portfolio. Movies. This tend to be short due to the huge amounts of storage space required. I fin
d that they are ok for short snaps but it would be better to use a digital camcorder instead if you indend on making longer films. Oveall. With its tremendous performance and rage of features, the C-700 would be an automatic choice for me everytime. It reduces the chances of ruined films and bad photography to such an extent that you will wish you had bought one years ago. Its compact size and weight means you will not even know you are carrying it around with you on holiday. Pricing. As with all decent cameras, there is a small hitch. Price. At £350 it has a high price tag but this is easily redeemed in the results if you take your photographt seriously enough. I love mine and would never part with it.
I have only had this camera for a week, so these are my first impressions: Brief summary of spec: 2.1 megapixel (1600x1200) resolution 10x *Optical* zoom SLR-style digital viewfinder, and screen Auto, semi, programmed and manual modes JPEG, TIFF & Quicktime movie file output Pop-up flash "Storage Class" USB interface Supplied with 8Mb Smartmedia card The most important area to talk about in a camera review is image quality. The pictures I have taken so far have just been to test the camera. I have found the resolution to be excellent when it or I get the settings right, and the auto settings to determine "film speed" and white balance usually better than me. However, almost all the shots so far have been improved by fiddling with the colours in various ways in Photoshop. While not bad looking, the camera is more functional than stylish to behold. Its metal and plastic body feels well put together, but not very rugged. I would worry about taking this camera into the desert. Fortunately however I dont tend to visit deserts very often. With a 2.1 megapixel CCD, this isnt cutting edge resolution, but having seen the output, I am confident it will be sufficient for up to A4 printing; and how many times have you ever had a conventional photograph blown up that big anyway? The unique selling point of the C700 is its 10x optical zoom, equivalent to a 38-380mm lens on a 35mm camera. This would be an impressive lens anyway, but the fact that it is crammed into a pretty compact camera is a remarkable feat of optical engineering - someone at Olympus can have a gold star from me! The viewfinder is not optical but digital, like that of a camcorder, which means you see what the lens is seeing, just like an SLR camera, so your photo will be as you composed it. However, its resolution is adequate rather than good, and it can sometimes seem to be too bright or have poor colour
tones. The main screen on the back of the camera on the other hand, while quite small, is very sharp & clear and has excellent colour reproduction. This can be turned off to save the batteries, and all the menu functions are then displayed in the digital viewfinder. The camera has a comprehensive range of shooting modes: auto, semi, programmed and full manual. There is also a movie mode with 2 resolutions. Sound may be recorded both with movies and still pictures. Changing the settings in the various modes is relatively simple once you are used to the menu system, and pleasingly, enough buttons are provided to have all the shooting-related controls at ones fingertips without having to resort to ploughing through menus. Transfering files to the computer is simple and fast due to the USB interface. The camera is instantly recognised as a removable drive with windows 2000, XP, and also 98 (after driver is installed). Usefully this means you can use the camera as a portable hard disc, to take files of any kind to other computers. The camera is supplied with a miserly 8Mb smartmedia card. Luckily when I bought mine, Dixons had lost it, so I got them to drop the price, and then ordered a 64Mb card on the net for almost the same money. Also scrimping on the box contents were the batteries - non-rechargable ones. And no mains adaptor either. I seperately purchased 4 AA NiMh rechargables, which are lasting well. The supplied software seems reasonable - a rudimentary editing suite integrated with quite a useful-looking database to store, catagorize and thumbnail images, movies and sounds. It appeared that the software could be used to set up various camera features, but failed to connect to the camera. A call to the free technical support line quickly revealed that only the older serial interface cameras could do this. I bought my C700 in Dixons. The original price was £448, but with a generous 30% discount offer
(last one in the shop) and a further reduction because they lost the memory card, I paid only £302! But then I spent £16 on the memory card and £11 on the batteries. All in an I would say superb value for money, especially at that price! To conclude, I have not yet used my C700 enough to gain a reliable impression of its capabilities, but I am initially very impressed by its lens and the flexibility and control offered by the many shooting modes.