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Camera Reviews > Olympus C-8080 WZ
Olympus C-8080 WZ Review
Date: May 4, 2004
Friday, May 7, 2004 - Here's what I receive in
- Camedia C-8080 Wide-Zoom
- Lens Hood
- Lens Cap & String
- Neck Strap
- Wireless Remote Controller
- Li-Ion Battery & Battery Charger
- 32MB xD-Picture Card
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- Instruction Manuals: Basic Manual; Quick Start
- Software CDs: Camedia Master 4.2, Reference
The Olympus Camedia C-8080 Wide Zoom comes
with a 32MB xD-Picture card, rechargeable Li-Ion
battery and battery recharger. A wireless remote
controller is a nice addition.
It takes a looong 5 hrs to fully charge a depleted
Li-Ion battery but, once charged, the battery
lasts as long, which is quite nice. There is no
indication how much of the battery is recharged:
red light means the battery is charging; green
light indicates it is fully charged.
The C-8080 is unique among the 8MP digital cameras
in that it accepts both an xD-Picture card and
a CF card, thus allowing you to double the amount
of images you can capture before you have to change
cards. The supplied 32MB xD-Picture card will
hold about 8 Superfine Large (3264x2448 pixels)
images or 2 RAW images or 1 TIFF image. I recommend
you purchase at least a 512MB CF card, or as large
a memory card as you can afford. For example,
a 256MB CF card will allow you to record about
63 Superfine Large images or 21 RAW images or
10 TIFF images. A 8MP image takes a lot of space
(though compressed) so unless you fancy changing
cards in the middle of a shooting session, check
out the larger capacity memory cards. The C-8080
accepts both CF Type I and II.
With Windows XP, you don't need to install any
software to transfer images from camera to PC.
Just plug the USB cable into your camera and PC
USB socket, switch the Mode Dial to Playback,
and power on the camera. The camera is recognized
as a drive, and you just use Windows Explorer
or the supplied Camedia Master software to transfer
images to your PC. Transfer is hyperfast, taking
about only 2 sec. per image! Before unplugging
the USB cable, you need to click the "Unplug
or Eject Hardware" icon on the taskbar first.
The Basic Manual is, as its name implies, quite
basic, and in very tiny type. Fortunately, there
is an electronic version of the Reference Manual
on the CD. [There is one typo in my electronic
manual under Specifications: the image sensor
is listed as 1/1.8 in. instead of 2/3 in.]
I like having the Reference Manual on my PC
for it makes searching for a feature quick and
easy. I can also enlarge the display to a comfortable
viewing size. However, the lack of a printed reference
manual means that you are totally clueless in
the field. If Olympus intends to pursue the paperless
route, then I suggest it seriously considers porting
and formatting its electronic manuals to handheld
35.6mm (170mm), Program AE, Pattern, 1/80 sec.,
F3.5, and ISO 50
The Olympus Camedia C-8080 is a full-featured
prosumer digital camera, and as such does require
some adjustement time to master all its features.
Some reviewers have complained about the usability
factor. I believe it's because Olympus has redesigned
the whole controls and user interfaces, and so
they look a bit unfamiliar at first. However,
spend the time to understand the menu structure
and everything becomes intuitive.
On the one hand, I really like the idea of having
all the options possible for a function available
at the press of a button. It quickly becomes very
intuitive to use. I mean you don't have to go
hunting through the menu to find a function; the
possible options are always available at the press
of a button.
On the other hand, the ideal purpose of a dedicated
button is to set one -- and only one -- functionality.
Some of you might balk at the idea of a menu popping
up when you press a "dedicated" button.
So, I propose to the Olympus engineers to extend
the functionality of each button thus: one short
press of a button sets a functionality, e.g. a
short press of the WB button sets One-Touch WB
(you can safely assume I am already pointing the
camera at the white object); a longer press of
the WB button brings up the WB sub-menu. This
way, we can have the best of both worlds!
You can use two memory cards in the camera, a
CF card plus an xD-Picture card. Just press a
button to switch between them. For panorama shots
using the panorama assist feature, you must
use the xD-Picture card. Of course, if you do
(as I usually do) and take panorama pictures without
the panorama assist feature, then it really does
not matter which memory card you use. Two memory
cards mean you have double the amount of storage
for your pictures! Hey, every prosumer level digital
camera should have that!
Transfering extrafine jpeg images is extra fast,
at an amazing 2-3 sec. per image on my Windows
XP PC. I'm still with USB 1.0 but the C-8080 has
USB 2.0, so if you have USB 2.0, your transfer
should literally zing!
The C-8080 has an AF Assist Illuminator to aid
in focusing in low-light conditions. This works
very well though, as expected, it will hunt a
bit in extreme low-light to obtain focus.
There is a proprietary hot shoe for external
(Olympus) flash units.
Manual focus is done using the up and down arrow
keys on the Arrow Pad, with the central portion
magnified to aid in focusing. It works pretty
well, with the clear magnified central image coming
crisply into focus. Of course, it's not as enjoyable
to use as turning a focus ring.
The C-8080 is a big digital camera. It looks
big and feels big, but it fits well in the hands.
The lens barrel is huge (probably getting ready
for the 4/3 System image sensor, fingers crossed?)
with a ring around it. First thing I did was to
give that ring a twist -- was it a manual focus,
a manual zoom,... -- and it disappointingly did
not do anything. Well, not really: give it a harder
twist and it twists off to allow attachment of
optional extended lenses.
Disappointingly, SETUP and Playback are on the
Mode Dial, which means you have to move from your
chosen shooting mode to access these two functions.
A unique C-8080 feature is the "Direct Histogram"
where white and black areas are superimposed as
tiny blue and red rectangles on the image. Some
of you might find this much more intuitive than
using the traditional histogram.
I found the included wireless remote controller
very handy when taking macro shots to prevent
camera shake. The remote sensor is at the front
of the camera, so you have to be somewhat careful
not inadvertently include yourself (or part of
your hand) in the picture.
I find the C-8080 a very enjoyable digital camera
to use. It gives great images, and the feeling
of quality is tops. Once past learning the controls
and menu structure, it becomes very intuitive
to use. The C-8080 is not really for the Point-and-Shoot
crowd, though they can get excellent pictures
just using the Program Auto mode (we used the
"P" mode for most of our sample images
in the Olympus
C-8080 Photo Gallery).