* Prices may differ from that shown
found this camera very good value and print quality excellant.
However i would have liked to be able to print after zooming in after taking the shot. Have found battery life no problem with rechargable batteries.I fell that to get the best out of the camera you really need to download to computor firstand then iron out any problems,ie. redeye,contrast, brightness etc.before it costs you money on wasted prints.In summing up I dont think you could do better at this price.
OLYMPUS - 'CAMEDIA' C-170 digital camera .
~ Why this one ? ~
Having previously had experience of an Olympus digital camera ( Camedia C100 ) which was stolen , I had tried a few others some with success , some without , but once again I was now on the lookout for a reasonably priced entry level digital camera that the whole family could use .
Whilst looking , what did catch my eye was the C-170 from Olympus , which was of similar proportions and weight to a standard 35mm point and click camera . The price for this was a mere £79.95 , from Jessops ( usually retails at £99.95 ) and with a resolution of 4.0 megapixels is slightly above par compared with the rest of todays entry level digital cameras .
~ A little about its appearance..... ~
As I said previously , styled on a 35mm camera , this is a sleek looking silver piece of gear . On the front lower centre you have the on/off slider which operates the camera lens cover . To the right is the lens ( 6.1mm lens ; f2.8 aperture ) . Above central you have the built-in flash a small red LED which is put to use when using the flash feature.
On the top of the camera you have just the shutter release button .
At the back you find the view finder , 2.5cm * 2.cm monitor screen ; three 'direct use' buttons ; digital zoon control toggle ; jog wheel ; arrow pad/ok button .
: Direct buttons - used for switching between viewing / shooting modes , accessing the menu functions and deleting unwanted items .
: Zoom toggle - used inconjunction with 4* digital zoom feature of this camera .
: Jog wheel - aka Mode dial , this allows you select the optimal setting for the various conditions when using the camera : these are : Auto ; programmable auto ; movie mode ; beach and snow ; self portrait ; sporting event ; illuminated night scene ; landscape ; landscape with front main subject ; portrait .
: 2 * LED's - these are used to inform of battery life , camera busy etc.
When looking from the rear , the left hand side of the camera has a rubber cover that protects a USB port and DC adaptor socket . The right hand side has a slide cover that hides the battery and memory card slots , and a hook for a strap .
The underside provides a standard tripod screw fixing .
As for size , it fits into the palm of my hand ( not much use to you though ! ) and measures 100mm long * 35mm deep * 52mm tall . Without batteries , the camera weighs in at just 120 g ( 0.26lb ).
~ What you get - basics...... ~
Ok , so I've bought the camera and unpacked it and what do I get . . . the camera , 1 * USB cable , 2 * alcaline batteries , 1 * strap , 1 * guarantee , 1 * multi-language basics instruction manual , 1 * CD based advance user guide Adobe file with Adode reader software supplied ) and finally 1 * software disk ( drivers for windows 98 ; viewing software for windows / mac os systems ) .
Now the software is suitable only for Win 98 upwards and Mac OS x.2.+ , however the camera is plug and play compatible . Since most windows applications are plug and play compatible , then use of the software is limited and can be omitted . I myself do not use the software supplied , Win. XP easily recognises the camera and is easy to access your photo's .
Additionally the camera comes complete with 14 meg of built in memory , which can be bypassed with the use of XD type memory cards ( 16 meg-256 meg ).
~ In use..... ~
This camera is able to take pictures in four qualities , namely SHQ , HQ , SQ1 , SQ2 . At SQ2 the quality is easily acceptable for mass photography for reproduction in home made news letters etc. SHQ is publicity quality . Quality is selected from the the menu , and is simplicity in itself once you learn the basics of digital photography.
To give you a clue as to photo quality , with the built in memory , you can store :
4 * SHQ photographs ( 2288 * 1712 pixels)
14 * HQ photographs ( 2288 * 1200 pixels )
27 * SQ1 photographs ( 1600 * 1200 pixels )
144 * SQ2 photographs ( 640 * 480 pixels )
Obviously mixing qualities of stored images will adjust the amount of storage available.
This camera has date and time facility , which saved with each picture ( not imprinted though ) and used in the file name of each .
A customisable sleep function is also available to aid battery life when the camera uis switched on but not in use . The default setting is 30 seconds bu this can be increased to 1 ,3 & 10 minutes.
The camera also has a built-in but manually run pixel mapping function accessed via the menu function , which should be run once a year . This allows the camera to correct and adjust CCD and image functions.
The camera is also Pictbridge compatible for those with suitable printers - Pictbridge allows for direct printing .
As well as standard photographs , the camera can also take sequential photographs using the in-built timer function , and also moving images . the latter will however require the optional smartmedia cards as these are ram hungry .Moving pictures are capured using the standard Motion-Jpeg format , without sound . Two record modes are supported namely ;
HQ ( 320 * 240 pixels - 30 frames per second ) - 20 secs = 14 meg of internal memory .
SQ ( 320 * 240 pixels - 15 frames per second ) - 41 secs = 14 meg of internal memory .
As you can see memory is used quite quickly , so you will require additional storage via a XD card .
Taking photographs / moving images can be made via the view finder or with the use of the LED screen , which is activated by the press of a button - a handy af camera mark allows for easy centering . NOTE however that the use of the LED does wear out batteries very quickly ( in two weeks I have gone through 4 set of duracell batteries ) .
The flash is fully automatic , but can be programmed via the menu for special conditions .
Zoom is digital zoom only , available at 1.6 * , 2 * , 3.2 * and 4 * current settings , again easily accessable when taking your photographs .
For those of a professional standard , you also have exposure compensation, white balance and a spot metering mode.
~ Viewing your masterpieces.... ~
To view your masterpieces and to access the majority of menu driven settings , you need your shutter closed . This done , a press of a single button , and on comes you LED , complete with last image taken ( or beginning of movie if motion capture used ) . Using the buttons , you can now view your stored images . Pressing certain buttons will then allow access to the main menu , form which you can afjust these images or for matter delete them . It really is very easy.
~ Transferring to PC... ~
Dead simple , just connect the USB lead from camera to PC . Your PC will recognise the camera as a removable hard disk and allocate a drive letter to it , which can be accessed as any normal drive . It is then simply a matter of copying all or selected files to you PC hard drive , from which you can use your chosen software to adjust / print or whatever . Nothing could be simpler . As for the software supplied , can't say as Win XP was sufficient to access my photographs .
ANOTHER NOTE - when finished copying , remove the USB lead , or your batteries will drain , alternatively use the optional PSU adaptor .
I would recommend the use of re-chargable NI-MH batteries if this camera is to be used on a regulat basis . A further alternative is a lithium battery ( CR-V3) , which last a lot lnger than any conventional type battery , but are not rechargable.
~ Overview..... ~
A great camera , let down only by the excessive demand on batteries . If only Olympus could include an adaptor and rechargable batterioes in the initial package .
The basics manual supplied is well thought out and simple to follow , allowing you to quickly be able to use this camera . The advanced manual is easy to read via the CD and is quite informative .
As with any item of this type , practice makes perfect . I'm no profesional , but got to grips with the essentials very quickly , as have my wife and children .
Getting started in digital photography then the CAMEDIA C-170 from Olympus is the one for you . Those who still believe digital photography is complicated and expensive should take a good at this , entry level point and shoot digital camera .Well worth a close inspection