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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus C-5500 Zoom


Olympus C-5500 Zoom Review

Review Date: Apr 14, 2005

Category: Serious Amateur

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2005 Award


Inside BCE
7.9mm (38mm), Program, Multi-Pattern, 1/30 sec., F2.8 and ISO 122

The Olympus Camedia C-5500 Zoom is a medium compact digital camera that just feels right in the hands. It won't fit into your pant pockets but you won't mind if it's a comfortable camera you're looking for. Its handgrip is well designed with your index finger coming to rest naturally on the shutter release button and ample space at the back for your thumb, providing a very comfortable handling. Construction is solid with a clean and organized feel. Its dimensions are 110W x 67H x 47D mm (4.9W x 3.3H x 3.9D in.), and it weighs 267g (8.6 oz.).

The very first thing you notice as you turn the camera on and take a couple of test shots is that this camera is fast, in both startup and operation. There is no practical shutter lag. The Olympus C-5500, like a number of newer digital cameras, are making shutter lag a non-issue, which is a most welcomed development.

The controls button are precise and easy to use, though most functions are menu bound. The menu is pretty well organized and you can find your way to all the important functions very fast. One function you won't find by going through the Menu choices is Manual Focus. You access Manual Focus by pressing and holding the OK button down for more than 1 second. A black strip displays along the left side from top to bottom with distance markings. Otherwise, all other functions are pretty much easily accessed through the Menu. I would have preferred that some of the most used functions be accessed through dedicated buttons: AF Area, screen info (incl. histograms), and even Frame Assist.

Exposure Compensation at +0.3 EV

The Exposure Compensation defaults to the Left and Right Arrow Keys on the Four Way Controller. It is therefore easy to inadvertently dial in an exposure compensation if you are not used to this arrangement. Once you get used to it, though, this becomes very convenient and makes for fast operation. I make it a habit of checking the exposure compensation value on the LCD monitor before taking a picture.

The onboard flash is positioned at the top left edge of the camera (viewed from the back), exactly where your left index finger normally rests, and it becomes difficult to hold the camera steady. Olympus is aware of this "feature" since its Advanced Manual diagrammatically shows you how to hold the camera when the flash is popped up (Advanced Manual, page 22). The flash is manually popped up (which is something I prefer), and this is a good thing for you do not run the risk that your finger is inadvertently blocking it if it were the automatic pop up type.

The semi-transmissive TFT LCD monitor on the Olympus C-5500 is 2 in. with a resolution of approx. 110K pixels and a fast refresh rate. It does not gain up in low-light; fortunately, there is an optical viewfinder to allow you to compose in low-light situations.

The movie mode (with sound) is 320 x 240 pixels, and has an interesting feature: as is common in digital camcorders, an anti-shake function reduces camera shake when recording movies for clearer results.

The Olympus Camedia C-5500 Sport Zoom packs a lot of features in a medium compact design, making it a good carry anywhere digital camera for the serious to advanced amateur photographer.

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