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Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus C-7000
Olympus C-7000 Zoom Review
Date: Jan 24, 2005
The Olympus Camedia C-7000 Zoom is a digital
camera targeted to serious amateur photographers.
It has 7.1 megapixel resolution on a 1/1.8 in.
CCD image sensor, and a 7.8-39.5mm (38-190mm,
35 mm equivalent) 5x optical zoom lens, with a
maximum aperture of f/2.8(W)-4.8(T).
We find the overall image quality of the Olympus
C-7000 Zoom to be very good.
(38mm, 35mm equivalent)
(190mm, 35mm equivalent)
The Olympus C-7000 provides quite a number of
professional features in that compact and light
body. Features like RAW file format (though no
internal buffer, takes about 9 sec. to write to
memory); AF Area (11 down * 13 across = 143 positions,
i.e. anywhere on the screen); large high resolution
(206K pixels) 2 in. LCD monitor with excellent
refresh rate for incredible detail and smooth
display; traditional histogram or "Direct
Histogram" that displays black and white
areas directly on the picture; full exposure flexibility
(P, A, S, M, Scene Modes); grid superimposed on
screen (can't have both histogram and grid displayed
at the same time); Manual WB.
|7.9mm (38mm), Program, Multi-Pattern,
1/6 sec., F2.8, ISO 80
Macro, Tripod Used
There are two macro modes on the Olympus C-7000:
standard macro at 8 cm (3.2 in.) and Super Macro
at 2 cm (0.8 in.). You can zoom in standard macro
mode, but not in Super Macro mode. With Super
Macro at 2 cm, the front of the lens is really
close to the subject and it is challenging to
ensure enough light gets to the subject without
throwing the shadow of the lens onto the subject.
I find that it's better to use Macro, back off
a bit and use the zoom to frame the subject.
With macros, don't expect to be able to handhold
the shot: using a tripod is mandatory (although
I handheld the above shot using my elbows as a
makeshift tripod). Also ensure the subject is
not moving at all (e.g. in the breeze); though
a fast shutter speed can freeze the movement,
the subject may have slightly moved into an out-of-focus
zone. Out-of-focus macro shots are usually caused
by trying to handhold the shot of a moving subject.
||WB = Fluorescent 3
As the above three pictures show, the auto white
balance (AWB) indoors under fluorescent artificial
light (since most sites demonstrate tungsten lighting,
we decided it would be more helpful to demonstrate
fluorescent lighting) need to be manually set
for best results. As expected, AWB works well
in natural light.
The C-7000 has 4 ISO settings going from ISO
80 to ISO 400. The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds
of 80, 100, 200 and 400. At ISO 80 and 100, noise
is under control. At ISO 200 upward, noise becomes
visible, but the images are still very usable.
Noise reduction is automatically applied when
the shutter speed is slower than 1/2 sec.; set
it on in the Menu (MODE MENU > CAMERA >
NOISE REDUCTION > ON).
It is worthwhile to note that at long focal lengths,
the Olympus C-7000 will hunt to lock focus. In
low-light situations, the AF Illuminator helps,
but it's still challenging.
It is perhaps appropriate to mention something
about the focusing range of the lens on the Olympus
- The lens will focus from 120 cm (47 in.)
to infinity; in other words, anything closer
than 4 feet will be out-of-focus (OOF).
- When zoomed max, the focusing range is 60
- 120 cm (24 - 47 in.) in regular Macro Mode;
if your subject is less than 2 feet away or
more than 4 feet away, they'll be OOF.
I'm not sure about this, but it seems that the
camera will automatically switch to regular Macro
Mode if you move close and zoom to the max. Perhaps
a user can verify or debunk that. I mention this
because at first I had a hard time getting the
C-7000 to achieve sharp focus when I was taking
the ISO images above (camera on tripod, no Macro
Mode set). I thought I had stumbled upon a focus
problem at long focal lengths. When I finally
got out my ruler and measured the distance of
the subject to the lens, I found that it was 51
cm (20 in.) away at full telephoto. Move the camera
a few cm back, past the 60 cm mark, and presto,
the images came out tack sharp! Again, no Macro
Mode was set.
So, if you find that your pictures are inexplicably
blurred when you zoom out max, do a sanity check
to see if your subject is within the appropriate
CA is minimal to non-existent in everyday shots.
Usually, the corner delimited by the red square
at top middle, and reproduced at 100% crop at
bottom right, would show some purple fringing,
but we can find none here. However, other reviewers
have found some CA (from minimal to quite a bit),
so be aware that this will vary on the type of
shots you take.
On the positive side, the amount of detail present
is simply excellent.
|7.9mm (38mm), Manual, Multi-Pattern,
8 sec., F8, ISO 80
Manual WB, Macro, Self-timer, Tripod Used
The Olympus C-7000 allows the use of a long shutter
speed of up to 15 sec. in Manual mode, therefore
allowing night photography. Generally, with CCD
image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent
at slow shutter speeds. The C-7000 has special
noise reduction algorithms that automatically
kicks in at shutter speeds longer than 1/2 sec.
and you'll notice a slightly longer processing
time (approx. twice as long) before the next picture
can be taken.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we decided
to take a low-light indoors shot. Let's make it
also a Macro shot so we can more clearly see any
noise present. Light is from two fluorescent energy-saving
bulbs on the ceiling. To obtain a dark background,
I place Bamm-Bamm under my desk.
We experiment a bit to obtain the optimum exposure,
eventually settling on 8 sec. at F8. Even at this
long shutter speed, the C-7000's noise reduction
seems to be working great, producing a nice smooth
blurring effect of the background.
We had to use Manual WB to obtain correct colour
reproduction in this picture. Neither AWB nor
any of the preset WB settings worked.
There are a couple of niggles:
- Some functions cannot be saved: for example,
AF Area needs to be set every single time by pressing
the AE/AF button.
- Noise Reduction (NR) is only applied at shutter
speeds slower than 1/2 sec. and shooting time
is approx. doubled, making continuous shooting
impossible. That's fine and as it should be. But
when NR is set to ON, the camera automatically
disables continuous shooting at ALL shutter speeds.
[This strange "NR-Continuous Shooting"
association took me a long time to figure out.]
The last feature we will mention is the Olympus
C-7000's histograms (yes, there are two live histograms
available). A histogram can be displayed live
during Recording Mode. You can display the standard
histogram or display the unique "Direct Histogram"
(indicating the black and white areas) directly
on the image.
The latter feature will be more intuitive to
most people than the regular histogram -- it not
only indicates there is over- and under-exposed
areas in your image, but also where they are!
By changing light metering mode, you can see which
one gives the best overall exposure for that particular
picture you're trying to take. Or, you can then
decide to meter directly at the problem areas.
The histogram is invaluable to give an indication
of under- and over-exposure (don't rely on the
LCD/EVF since the brightness is adjustable and
may be misleading).
The Olympus C-7000 is capable of producing very
good image quality with very low noise and great
detail. It is certainly a perfect outdoors landscape
camera where you take your time to compose, focus
and fiddle with the controls to get a really superb
The pictures in the Olympus Camedia C-7000
Zoom Photo Gallery page provide a good sample
of what the camera is capable of. I have provided
samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality
60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 3072x2304
pixels original size (click on the image for the
You can safely assume that most macro shots
and slow shutter speed shots required the use
of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels
in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended
to the file name.
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious