Once upon a time, my lovely big sister gave me my first camera. Packed neatly in a box with its little plastic cover, I was so proud of it. It was a Brownie Camera.
The little black and white photos I took with it are safely stashed away, the camera Im afraid long since dumped and replaced with many varied models, some good and some terrible ones. During that time I grew up, got married and had a family. Finally as the flock left home we could afford a better camera! But which camera should we buy?
The latest model my husband and I share, bought especially for our trip to Canada, but used regularly, because you dont feel you are wasting film with a DIGITAL camera. Wed seen them advertised from £99 and decided we would try one, but due to an excellent salesman in Comet, (who did seem to know what he was talking about as he said he previously owned a photography shop, but now worked 3 days in Comet and earned as much as he didnt have overheads and couldnt compete with the larger stores.) He advised us to get one with higher pixels, than the cheapest camera, this has 1.3 mega pixels, certainly not the highest but we are very happy with the quality of pictures.
Im not really technically minded and dont understand all the features, but I can and do take some good photos, so it must really be idiot proof. Ill even add some pictures at the end as Im getting good at doing that as well now! I like adding photos if I can as Im sure youll agree, it can make reviews more interesting
It has a silver body and black plastic back. The name OLYMPUS is on the front cover in gold capitals and underneath in smaller black lettering, Digital Camera C-960 ZOOM. There is a sliding lens cover, which clicks shut and so switches off the batteries. There is a wrist strap on the right hand side, and on the top right a toggle type of button switch for the zoom/wide angled choice. The button for taking the photo is next to this, which also can be pressed for auto focus and then a glass covered window, which indicates the battery status and number of photos that can be taken and stored. If the battery light lights up and turns off immediately then the batteries are OK and you can use the camera. If it blinks and the other control indicators are displayed normally, the batteries need replacing as power is low, but if it blinks and the other indicators go out the batteries are dead and need replacing. On the top at the other side is the flash, the cover lifts up and clicks back into place when not in use.
On the back is a large screen with a viewable size of 3 x 3.5 cm. I only use this to see if what Ive taken is good, or especially when its a family group to see if someone was looking stupid my family pull silly faces , scratch their head etc. so I make them have it taken all over again because of the timer button I can be in it as well, but more about that later! Using some of the buttons on the back you can access a menu screen and change your settings for the quality of photos, this makes a big difference in the number of pictures which can be taken. There is a small viewfinder on the left top back of the camera, with four lines which almost form a cross, to get the correct focus of your subject.
The battery compartment is underneath the camera, it takes 4 AA batteries or 2 CR-V3 lithium battery packs. These are easy to insert and the cover slides over and clicks shut. The Smart Media card, which is very thin plastic with a chip fits into a section on the front near the wrist strap. The door opens from the front and the card can only be fitted in correctly. When switching the camera on the status of the card is checked and if not in correctly or no card the error indicator shows and a green lamp flashes beside the viewfinder window. At the bottom of the one side there is a cover for the computer connector, video output connector and AC adapter connector.
It is fairly light weight and will fit into a pocket, with the batteries it weighs just over 12oz. or 361g, and is 127cm x 5.3 x 6.7. It has 3 x optical zoom and 2 x digital tele. Mode. No camera case was included when we bought our camera.
*SETTING DATE AND TIME*
To do set the date and time, close the lens cover and press the LCD monitor on/off button, pressing the menu button lets you select the correct date and pressing set keeps this working. If the batteries run out and are not replaced within about one hour, the date will be lost and it has to be set again. We find the date useful as sometimes we cant remember where something was taken, and it helps jog the old memory!
When the camera lens cover is opened the power is switched on and ready for use, after checking battery status and number of pictures which are storable. This depends on the size of the Smart media card, we had an 8MB but bought a 64MB and can now take hundreds of photos, and so far we have never filled it on holiday. For example using normal quality you can store 122 on an 8MB card and 489 on a 32MB card. But if you want exceedingly high recording mode you would only be able to store approximately 18 and 73 on the above size cards.
The camera should be held very still with both hands either in the vertical or horizontal position, keeping fingers away from the lens. Press the shutter release halfway to lock the focus, the green light comes on next to the viewfinder, if it blinks the focus or exposure is not correct. Press the shutter release button fully to take the picture, a beep is heard, and the green light blinks as the picture is being recorded. If a flash is needed open the flash cover first, there is a flash mode button the back of the camera with a choice of auto, red-eye reducing, and slow shutter synchronization for taking night photos. When finished close the flash cover and slide the lens cover over to turn off the power. There is also an override button, so the flash does not fire when in low light conditions if it is prohibited as in some buildings.
Basically just press the button! It works for me every time!
You can take pictures using the LCD monitor, but I always think this is a drain on the batteries and feel I hold it more securely next to my eye than away from my body. It is possible to zoom in or out on a subject, by using the toggle button.
Next to the Flash mode button on the back is the self-timer button. This is always fun for family pictures! Or when you want a picture of you and your partner and no one is about to take it! Open the lens cover, press the self timer button, and a little clock icon appears on the control panel. Aim the camera at the subject, allow room for you to get into the picture, press the shutter release button and you have about 12 seconds to get into place, the signal lights for about 10 seconds and blinks for 2 seconds before taking the photo. 12 seconds is quite a long time and you can say cheese over and over again before the picture is taken!
The button next to this is called the Digital Tele mode and Macro mode. I have to admit to not having used this! It allows you to take a picture really close up to something, in the Macro mode and to make a subject appear larger in the Digital Tele mode by using the optical zoom. Too complicated for me Im afraid, but it is there for the more technically minded perhaps one of these days Ill try it out and up date this review!
The exposure can be compensated if you wish to adjust it and there is a spot metering mode. There is white balance,depending on the amount of daylight and it is possible to change the ISO, that means the higher the ISO the faster the shutter speed and lower the amount of light required. The sharpness can also be altered. Again I do not fiddle with these things, Im frightened of messing the camera about, and it takes wonderful photos without me pressing all these buttons! I just want to tell you what a clever camera it is.
*VIEWING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS*
It is possible to view them on the LCD viewer on the back of the camera, close the lens cover and press the ON/Off button and set the camera to Display mode. With each press of the jog dial button on the back, you can view the photos. It is possible to erase any pictures you dont want, it checks if you want to erase, and you press the OK button if you want to go ahead. We used to view our photographs be connecting the camera by cables to the computer or television, but our latest computer allows us to insert the Smart card into a slot just below where the floppy disc fits and HEY PRESTO a click and away we go, so easy, this is my preferred way of viewing until we have (that is the Royal WE!) downloaded the photos onto a CD or the hard drive, I pretend its beyond me, although with our new digital imaging suite I can do it! Dont tell hubby though! If you view on the computer by connecting the camera there are rules to follow. The power must be OFF on the PC and the camera before connecting, the cable has to be connected into the serial port and connected to the cameras computer connector, only then can the PC be turned on, then the lens cover opened and then Camedia Master started up this is the name of the software, so you can see why I prefer the easy option of inserting the smart card!
It is easy to print off your photos and the soft ware allows you to make dark images brighter etc. although we tend to save them on the hard drive for a while and use as a slide show. In fact we use them like a screen saver and its lovely to look back at all your holiday photos. Older photos are saved on CD.
Well I nearly forgot this, one of the most important points! I knew it was more expensive than the £99 one we went to see. It cost £ 298.85 plus £16.99 for the adaptor to view the pictures. Since then we have bought an additional smart card ,ours was at the airport and was a bit cheaper, but Argos have them for £19.99 for the 64MB and £29.99 for the huge 128MB. So you can click away to your hearts content!
This is an excellent camera for novice or more experienced photographer, we have had excellent results, and would recommend it to anyone. It does use a lot of batteries if you continually use the LCD screen but otherwise its great. It saves on storage space as we have hundreds of photos stored away which we hardly ever look at now, these "photos " are more accessible and takes up very little space, and we only print them if we want a hard copy. Therefore saving money.
This is also on Ciao under my name of jo145 which has already been used on this site.
I have had the Olympus c-960z camera for about 9 months now, I can't praise it enough, easy to use, excellent picture quality for a camera in its price range and great features, 3x optical zoom, 2x digital zoom, panorama photos. the only down point with the camera is the serial interface, this can be a bit slow, but what do you expect for the money. good storage 8mb card can hold upto 122 images (low quality) and a descent 36 at the HQ setting, which if printed from a good photo printer can give good results up to A4 size!. I would highly recomend this camera to the beginner / novice digital photographer, or even the expert ones if they just want something to point a click.
I'm glad I bought the 960 zoom, but there are many issues you should be aware of - and some of them you won't realise until after your purchase. The camera was bought for £249 at a local PC World, as they had just reduced it from £299. I had kept an eye on prices at tradedoubler.com and this was a good compromise price - not the cheapest available, but I'd be able to return the item easily if it went pear-shaped! The 1.3 megapixel resolution has proved fine for my business needs - I use it for webdesign - and even produces reasonable A4 printouts using an Epson 640 inkjet (using photo paper). The preview/review function has proved invaluable, impressing the clients I visit with the cam ("hey that's a nice camera....how much?.....wow, good pictures...." etc). It's not too big or clunky and is easy to use in auto-mode. Having used it for a while now, there are certain aspects of the cam which have proved important... WEIGHT Yes, this IS important - it's not too light, so is steady in use. Camera-shaped too! PICTURE QUALITY On auto exposure mode, photos tend to be a little dark and lacking in contrast. This can be tweaked in Paintshop though, as the lens has good resolution and does actually record the detail in the picture. You also have an option to store in TIFF format, eliminating JPEG artifacts for cleaner images. FLASH Limited range, obviously, but OK. Needs to be selected on the control AND popped-up before it fires (fooled me a few times). COLOUR SCREEN Fast in operation (quick refresh) but actually displays the previews better than they really are - they look brighter and have more saturation than when they're transferred to the PC. CONTROLS The zoom works smoothly, but wide & tele seem to be in reverse! Pull the switch towards you and the lens zooms IN and vice versa. Flash & macro buttons are easy (not used the timer yet) and dis
play the selected functions in the LCD window on top. The "shuttle" control which scrolls through the previews and menus is OK, but is limited by the software. IN-CAMERA SOFTWARE Surely they could've done better. The icons are iffy and I still can't find how to delete an individual image! I can live with it though - its better than the Kodak I used before. PC SOFTWARE Does the job, but also a bit naff! I have downloaded the digital camera extension for Paintshop Pro 7 and use the C420L module to import direct (doesn't seem to be a dedicated 960 module). The serial link means the downloads are slow - think about using a SmartMedia reader instead. BATTERY LIFE What battery life's that then? Using the zoom, display and flash will get through the 4 AA's in no time. There's no AC adaptor provided with the cam, so the fact that it eats batteries may annoy you! You may wish to invest in a third-party battery eliminator. But, don't let these drawbacks put you off. It's a good cam. You can get round the problems as long as you are aware of them - and I'm sure there's no such thing as "the perfect digital camera". Consider that you may be adding another £100 to the price of owning this camera to use it to its full potential (a battery pack and a Smartmedia reader) I still like Olympus gear (I used an OM10 SLR for millions of years) and it's apparent they have put their lens expertise to use here. Just a pity they didn't use better software - oh, and those batteries....
I got an Olympus C960 from my work, because I happen to sell them. I was impressed by the value of the camera. Olympus are generally regarded as having EXCELLENT lenses, and everything else is good to high quality. That is what spurred my to buy it at £250 (rrp is £299 Being a salesman, I got it cheaper.) The menu system used is very good, but I had one minor problem about a week after I got it. I deleted all my photos!!! I was only trying to delete one of the photos, but I pressed the wrong icon, if I had read the manual, I would not have had this problem, so it is no fault AT ALL of Olympus. I like the fact that the camera uses smart media, which is the format it uses to store the photos. Whilst other camera may use diskettes or larger cards, the C960Z uses the small Smart Media card, that is actually able to be used on lots of other things, like voice recorders, and MP3 plyers, if foratted correctly. With the camera, I got an 8 MB card (good for about 30 medium quality shots), but before I went on my trip around Europe, I ought a 32 M card, definately worth it. The software that comes with the camera to download it to your pc is very easy to use, if somewhat slow. The slowness is understandable, because my PC (300 MHZ with 64 RAM) has trouble with any graphics programs. With the software, you can enhance theimage, change its size or orientation, name it or even give it some filters, like I said, very good, and I am surprised that the camera could be sold at that prise WITH the software. To connect the camera to the PC is easy, the plug is basically a port socket, and ALL pcs have them. The other end fits into your camera under a flap on the left side. Incidentally, it is also possible to plug an electrical adaptor into it and even plug it into yourTV- I havent done that yet, though. The only possible downers I can think about this (which are pitiful downers) is the fact that the flash has to be lifted manually (no problem,
and it still has an auto flash facility.), the batteries are used up quickly and to turn it off, you need to push the lense cover over, which is a 2 stage process. It is a lovely camera though, especially for the price. Keep in mind that it is a mid range camera, and will not have as many functions as the top range cameras. You also get a great warranty, excellent support and a seperate lifetime warranty for the picture card.
As a motor racing fanatic, I get very tired of the cost of developing hundreds of trackside photographs to find about four that actually have a whole car in the shot! Although really not able to afford a digital camera, I decided to stretch my budget as far as I could go with the view that it would be cost effective in the long run! I was very fortunate that when I went to look at digicams, PC World had a special offer on the Olympus-C960 Zoom reducing it from £300 to £250. It comes with an 8mb mediacard (which can hold over 100 800x600 - pictures at the second highest quality lebel, which I find adequate). I did want a bigger card though so also purchased a 16mb one for an additional £49.99. The C-960 is extremely versatile and easy to use. It takes 4 AA size batteries (and eats them for breakfast but all digicams do that!) I looked into the cost of an AC adaptor as it seems particularly that downloading the images to the PC takes the most juice out of the batteries. However the adapter is about £60 so I think investing in rechargeables is the way ahead... If you limit the use of the LCD screen, particularly in live mode for setting up shots, the batteries last a lot longer. I only occasionally use the LCD to check the pictures that I have taken. It's also worth being careful too - I just shove the camera into my bag and although the lens is closed the LCD can come on if the right button gets accidentally pressed! The camera switches on and off by sliding the lens cover across - which is very easy and useful except when you don't realise the batteries are getting low! Opening the cover and nothing happening at all is pretty scary the first couple of times it happens - you then have to fiddle with buttons before the camera display will tell you the batteries are low! I really thought it was broken once or twice! The zoom facilities on the camera are very useful - you can use the optical zoom (3x) by pull
ing a small switch on the top of the camera - it's next to the *shutter* button so makes it easy to use while framing the shot in the viewfinder in a one-handed action. additionally there is a 2x digital tele zoom - using both together produces 6x zoom which for a £300 camera is fantastic value for money! It is a bit more fiddly to get both working together though and requires pre-planning which I'm not so hot at! Point and snap person that I am! Of particular use to me - when taking pictures of fast moving motor cars - is the sequential shot feature. Selected from the display menu (which can be done very quickly once you get used to it), the C-960 will take a sequence of ten pictures at two frames per second while maintaining the focus brilliantly. Gone are the days of the rear wing vanishing out of the picture! Many other features, most standard to digital cameras in this price range, are also available such as 1.3 megapixels, combination of flash facilities, self-timer and a host of others are present. It comes with one set of cheap batteries which don't last long but not many gadgets actually come with batteries these days! The connector plugs into a spare com port - which is great if you have an internal modem! It's quite slow to download though and that really uses the power as I mentioned before. I have taken over 1000 pictures in two months of ownership - probably 500 of which are *good* and the others deletables! However compare the cost of developing those and already my money appears extremely well invested! I will be giving the camera it's first Grand Prix outing at Silverstone in three weeks and look forward to some decent pictures for a change. In terms of photography the C-960 Zoom has changed my life and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an entry level digicam.
Two years ago you could expect to pay around £600 for a good quality digital camera. A friend of mine bought one for about £250, i cant recall the make of it but it gave a fish eye perspective. This wasnt very flattering when taking a portrait picture of someone you love (or dont as the case may be). At the same time i had another friend who bought a Kodak camera for about £650. He took a couple of medium strength shots of me in his conservatory and the images were astounding. I then realised that its not worth buying a camera under £400. So i didnt. Until now that is, I recently purchased the 960 on the grounds of price and brand name. I would always trust Olympus. Another thing was that i thought they were far too complicated to even bother with. I have now been proved quite wrong. The C960 is a nice compact camera that is not only pleasing to look at but is very practical in its design. The holding position is comfortable and even if your really bad a photography its very difficult to get your fingers in the way of the flash or the lense. Lets take the body of the camera first. Silver or grey seems to be the standard colour for cameras these days as opposed to the the boring black a few years ago. The buttons on it are very easy to see and do not sit too proud from the camera that you keep activating them accidently. I have seen earlier versions of this model and the buttons have been streamlined and are much more efficient. Of course there is a drawback to having fewer buttons on such equipment, they double or treble up in their tasks, this is good except when it comes to remember what each button does. There is a button for a menu system that really is self explanitory and so easy to use, but once again this has two functions and its often difficult to remember what options you have in which mode. In order that you can navigate round the menu or your photographs there are 4 arrow keys, simple and e
ffective. At the top of the camera there are two buttons. The one that takes the picture and the zoom lever. Easy to use and is small enough not to be obtrusive and not to get in the way. Both are a highly polished chrome which is totally in keeping with the looks of the camera. Then of course we need a lense. The lens will pop out automatically when you slide back the lense cover. Equally when you have finished taking pictures you push it to close and the lense automatically tucks itself away. When its in the closed position the plastic cover is just that, a cover that protects the lense very well. We find the LCD viewfinder on the back. You will be inclined to walk around using it all the time, great, this means you dont need to get your eye into the little viewfinder at the top of the camera, NOT SO GREAT. While the LCD veiwfinder is good quality it eats through batteries as easy as ploughing through several chocolate eclairs. A new set of batteries could dissapear in about 15 to 30 minutes of constant use. Something else that consumes a great deal of power is the zoom button. with older cameras you had the option to turn the lense yourself and save on power, here and nowadays you dont have that luxury. So, keep off the power consuming gadgets and you will be fine. Finally there is the flash unit. This is eqally well tucked in at the top of the camera and just flicks up manually as and when you require it. Two clicks of a button and you can 'force' the flash to fire, another click would illiminate 'red eye'. The camera gives you the choice of three degrees of quality. Super high quality, high quality and normal. I have a 16mb card and it gives me the following pictures: 36 SHQ 72 HQ and a staggering 244 in normal mode. It goes without saying that the SHQ ones take up much more room than the normal ones, and this includes your computer hard drive space. In effect you should only
use the SHQ if you have a real need to like a good portrait or a good picture of your car or dog or something. otherwise you will experience problems later when the pictures are on the computer, pictures made from SHQ take up a lot of room in your emails should you want to send it to your granny in Australia. Likewise when you put them into an application such as a newsletter or a spreadsheet. Then there is the software. They supply a CD with a program that allows you to download your pictures from camera to computer, it also allows you to view them easily in thumbnail format. This too is very easy to install and even easier to use. Overall, this has pleased me immensely. It is easy to use, basically a point and shoot but with loads of extras. In this case if your prepared to sit and read the easy to follow intructions you will get a lot of fun out of this not to mention some really good quality pictures. I only have one really large complaint. I bought this camera for work and not myself. But saying that, i would now spend nearly £300 of my own money on it because it is simply worth every penny. Happy Snapping
Frustrated by the appalling pictures taken by my previous camera (a Minolta APS if you're interested), and having just invested in a home PC, I decided it was time for me to get involved in this newfangled digital photography caper. So, with a few hours to kill in Duty Free before heading off on a 3-week business trip to Johannesburg, & needing to cheer myself up at the prospect, I treated myself to a C690Z, recommended to me by a knowledgeable shop assistant. Armed with a 32mb memory card (essential for long trips - the 8mb card which comes with the camera is insufficient) I set about learning the ropes. This was initially made difficult by the fairly spartan instruction booklet - full instructions are on an accompanying CD Rom, which is OK if you've got PC access but a bit of a bind if you're on holiday or just can't get to a machine. Nevertheless, even as a digital virgin I was soon snapping away at all & sundry, & as soon as I was able to download images to a PC I was amazed at the clarity of the results. The C690Z is very simple to use, with self-explanatory buttons and a helpful LCD screen menu. I've only got a few gripes, those being the lack of a carry case to protect what is an intricate and expensive piece of equipment; the lack of a recharger & batteries (that LCD display eats up batteries); the aformentioned instruction manual; the cheap & nasty Camedia software (don't worry though, there's plenty of decent digital imaging freeware out there); and the position of the LCD screen, which means you have to press your nose up against it when taking a picture which causes smearing. Otherwise, it's perfect for someone who wants to take good-quality pictures to download onto a PC, without wanting to spend huge amounts of money in doing so and without having to take a degree in photography to get started. Highly recommended.
I'd used an Olympus C860 quite a lot, and was pretty impressed by it. Good picture quality, good specification, fairly robust, and easy to use. I liked it so much that when I came into a little bit of money, so that I could just afford one, I decided to research further. After several weeks of searching on the UK web, looking at detailed specifications and comparing all cameras around that price bracket, the 860 was the one. Not an exciting product, but well-known and much-liked. Its specification was the best in its price range. Then Dixons started stocking the C960Z for a few pence short of £300. It was a few quid more, but suddenly the competition looked pretty poor, and that includes the 860 itself. I made up my mind, and started the process of persuading my wife to agree to the additional 50 quid or so that would buy a 3X zoom. If you've never used a camera with a zoom before, just assume that it's as necessary as a viewfinder or batteries. It is, frankly, bordering on the essential. And when £50 makes the difference between having a zoom and walking backwards and forwards for a decent shot, well, I'd recommend going hungry for a week to fund that extra cash. I must say at this point that the £300 price tag is a "£100 off" deal, but it looks set to be permanent, and is even bettered by a few of the online shops, though I wouldn't personally use them for such a purchase. The story doesn't quite end there, though. Not only is the zoom there and working, but you also get a surprisingly nice macro mode. Just today, I photographed a newspaper article, and later used the pictures on the LCD screen to follow up some references, all without even downloading to a PC. You can even "zoom" further into a picture using the LCD, typically to check that an important portion of the picture (someone's face, for example) looks right. Also, the general build quality of the camera is a pleasant surprise. T
he squidgy buttons on the back of the 860 have been superseded by positive clicky ones, and the whole user interface (ie the way the buttons and stuff work) is remarkably clear and quick. The thing doesn't just have a high specification for its money, it looks and feels a lot higher-priced than it is. There are a couple of things I didn't like so much, and I include them only to show how trivial they are. For one, the front of the camera operates as an on-off switch (itself an excellent idea), but when you close the front, it's a two-stage operation: one small click to start the lens retracting, and a long slide to move it the rest of the way. Push too far the first time, and the slider presses against the side of the lens, stopping it from retracting. I stopped doing that once I got used to it - about an hour after I got it home. A second niggle is the battery life. This is a niggle aimed at all digital cameras in this price bracket, however, and doesn't detract from this model as a choice. It's batteries. Anything that eats batteries like a 1.3Mpixel camera with an optical zoom and a large LCD display is bound to drain batteries pretty quickly. The C960Z is no worse than the competition in this respect. The solution is to buy a couple of sets of rechargeables and a charger. Why on earth couldn't a charger be packaged in with all these cameras, so that there was no need to remove a set of AAs each time? I'd gladly accept the trade-off of non-replaceable batteries, and their smaller size would surely cut production costs? Oh, and the download software could be better. Yeah, it could be Adobe Photoshop, but it isn't, so I use Photoshop instead. It works though, and has some handy little filters stuck in with it. Shame about red-eye removal - that should be better. But I'll stop carping here. For three hundred quid you can get a camera that would be a bargain at £450, and that's what I posted t
his to tell you. Buy one and have fun!