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Camera Reviews > Olympus C-770 UZ
Olympus C-770 UZ Review
Date: July 12, 2004
Beginner to Serious Amateur
HANDLING & FEEL
6.3 (38) mm, Program, Pattern, 1/320 sec., F4.0
and ISO 64 with Fill-in Flash
The Olympus Camedia C-770 Ultra Zoom is
a compact ultra zoom digital camera with dimensions
of 104.5W x 60H x 68.5D mm (4.11W x 2.36H x 2.7D
in.) and weighing 300g (10.6 oz). It has a brushed
silver finish, and the construction feels solid
and of good quality.
The Olympus C-770 fits well in the hands and
the lens barrel helps in holding the camera steady.
The lens jiggle a bit (for those who are always
worried if this is a defect -- it is not in this
case) and the lens cap goes over the lens. My
review model says "Made in China" and
I have absolutely no complaint with the solid
feel and construction [showing how far that country
has come to improving its manufacturing capability
Olympus has opted for tiny control buttons on
the back of the C-770; fortunately they are spaced
out enough so you don't press the wrong one inadvertently.
The buttons also have a nice positive click to
them so you know they have engaged.
On the left side of the C-770 (viewing from the
back), there is a small hard plastic door that
opens wide to give unimpeded access to the USB,
A/V and DC connectors. This is easily the best
design I've seen so far, not requiring you to
fight a rubber flap that does not seem to want
to open or stay open. I wish more digital camera
manufacturer would follow that route.
The shutter release button is pleasantly soft
for the half-press, with a positive click for
the full press. The zoom lever is around the shutter
release button and, as is usual with this kind
of arrangement, it works quite well but just don't
expect precise control over where you want to
stop the zoom.
The Mode Dial can be easily rotated with your
right thumb and clicks nicely into place. It is,
however, still quite easy to inadvertently rotate
it and select a different mode without noticing
The power switch is a sliding switch just above
the LCD monitor, and you have to slide it two
clicks to the right (once past the Playback mode)
to turn the camera on. Go one too far and you
are in Movie mode. I always prefer the power switch
to have only two positions: On and Off.
There is also a Quick Review button that allows
you to review your pictures without sliding into
Playback mode. This is very convenient and a slight
press of the shutter release button reverts immediately
to Shooting mode.
The pop-up flash can be manually lifted by pressing
a dedicated button, and it does so with a forceful
thump. Likewise, closing the flash is also kind
of noisy. Look carefully, and you will notice
that there are in fact two (2) flash tubes in
that pop-up unit! The camera determines which
one to fire depending on the focal length in use.
The Mode Dial allows you to select a shooting
mode, but all other functions must be accessed
via the menu. The menu system is logically divided,
but maybe too much so, since it will sometimes
require you to navigate deep down the menu tree
structure to access often-used functions. For
example, to delete all images from the memory
card (something which I do everytime I finish
transferring the images to my PC), I counted no
less than 9 button/arrow presses!
The EVF has 240,000 pixels resolution and is
very clear. There is an diopter adjustment dial,
but since it is on the right side of the EVF (the
"wrong" side), it is almost impossible
to peer through the EVF and turn the dial with
your right thumb. The dial is also hard to turn
(the only disappointment with the controls). Fortunately,
all I have to do is set this once, and don't have
to worry about it again.
The 1.8-in. LCD monitor has 118,000 pixels resolution.
It is almost flush against the left side of the
camera (looking from the back) and it is easy
to put your thumb on the LCD as you pick up the
camera. It's a good idea to get used to picking
the C-770 from the sides.
One irritating feature is that if you are using
the EVF and you press the OK/Menu button, the
display switches back to the LCD monitor. Which
means that when you want to dial in an exposure
compensation or change any of the other settings,
you have to remove your eye from the EVF (and
the image you have so carefully composed) to look
at the LCD monitor.
There is no AF Illuminator to aid in low-light
focusing and the EVF/LCD monitor has no B&W
high-gain option in extreme low-light situation.
As a result, it may be quite difficult to view
an image in low-light and the camera will be challenged
to obtain focus lock in low-light situations.
Manual Focus is possible on the C-770 (press
and hold the OK button for more than 1 sec.) and
it is controlled by the Up and Down Arrows. The
central portion of the screen magnifies and a
useful distance indicator displays on screen.
It works relatively well and you might find the
need to use it especially in low-light situations
(though in extreme low-light, you won't be able
to see anything). Just don't forget to switch
back to AF mode -- or you'll wonder why your pictures
are out of focus from then on!
The C-770 comes standard with a wireless Remote
Control that is very useful in group portraits,
macro shots, and slow shutter speeds using a tripod.
I find the Remote Control much more enjoyable
to use than having to set the self-timer for macro
shots (to eliminate camera shake). For the Remote
Control to work, you need to first set it in the
Menu (depress the Self-timer/Remote Control/Erase
button repeatedly until Remote Control is selected).
The Remote Control Receiver is on the front just
above the handgrip. I find that if you preset
to use the Remote Control, you can still take
pictures using the shutter release button, so
I am not sure why Olympus did not just implement
the C-770 to accept the use of the Remote Control
by default (i.e. not have to purposefully set
An interesting information that is displayed
on screen, and which I have not seen before in
other digital cameras, is the exposure differential.
The exposure differential gives the difference
between the exposure (shutter speed/aperture combination)
metered by the camera and set by the photographer.
This is especially useful in P/A/S mode. In these
modes, the camera will meter and set the shutter
speed and aperture it thinks will give optimum
exposure. By using the arrow keys, you can change
the shutter speed and aperture independently of
each other. [Note that this is not the
same as Program Shift which changes the shutter
speed and aperture in tandem to preserve optimum
exposure.] The exposure differential value expresses
how much your settings then differ from the camera's
[The manual does not explain this, but the exposure
differential is in fact an exposure compensation.
So, you don't need to really access the menu to
set exposure compensation; just use the left and
right arrow key to deviate from the optimum metered
exposure. I believe I'm right in this. If not,
one of you will write me and set me right -- as
I've found out ;o).]
One wish here that we are seeing in more and
more digital cameras is Program Shift, and I would
have really liked Program Shift to have beeen
implemented in the C-770.
The Olympus Camedia C-770 Ultra Zoom is surprisingly
compact for a 10x optical zoom digital camera.
It is light, easy to handle, and the construction
feels very solid and of top quality.