Butterfly spreads its wings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:00am

Camedia has shed its clunky image to reveal a curvy new look

Olympus Camedia C-5000 zoom

The Camedia C-5000 Zoom, descendent of the Olympus four-megapixel C-4000 Zoom, sports a much-needed facelift.

Features: It has discarded the clunky plain brown-wrapper 'C' series platform for a curvy new body that is much more compact and easier to slip into your hand. With a unique ergonomic design and a hot shoe for more flash options, the C-5000 Zoom provides great value in a compact form.

The camera is 20 per cent smaller and lighter than the C-4000 Zoom, and sports a high-quality Olympus 3X optical zoom lens. It employs a precision Olympus all-glass 38mm to 114mm equivalent lens, which is matched to a primary colour five-megapixel CCD.

Altogether these features allow users to produce consistently crisp, high-quality prints of up to 11x14 inches. Images are stored in removable xD-Picture cards.

Advanced users will appreciate the manual settings for aperture and shutter priority, with manual shutter speeds ranging from 16 to 1/1000 of a second. The Camedia C-5000 uses Olympus' standard contrast detection iESP TTL AF with nine user selectable AF points. The AF is quick and consistently accurate. The new TTL flash hot shoe easily attaches to Olympus FL-50 or FL-20 flash units. Adjustable white balance and one-touch white balance provide maximum shooting versatility.

The C-5000's weakness lies in the underpowered Li-10B rechargeable lithium ion battery (the same unit used in the smaller and less power-hungry Stylus 300/400 and C-50Z). Its miserly power management circuitry sometimes impairs its responsiveness. It also suffers from severe red-eye since the flash is directly above the lens.

There are only two ways to overcome this and the red-eye reduction mode is not one of them. The only choices are removing the red-eye post exposure in software or investing in an Olympus external flash unit.

Bottom Line: At a suggested retail price of $3,980, the C-5000 offers much of the upscale C-5060's cutting-edge technology and the C-5050's professional level of usability.

It is targeted at advanced amateur photographers, personal website creators, savvy family shooters and globetrotting travellers who want to own a dependable five-megapixel camera that will consistently provide lots of bang for the buck.

Pros: Professional features, five megapixels, lots of manual options, superb images

Cons: Underpowered battery, minor noise and major red-eye problems


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