Olympus Camedia C-360 Zoom
(Also known as the Olympus Camedia D-575 Zoom)
Review Date: July 6th 2004
Ease of Use
The C-360 Zoom is clearly based upon the stylish and very popular Olympus µ[mju:] 410 Digital and 400 Digital models, with the same sliding cover that turns the camera on and off, as well as protecting the lens, and the same emphasis on simplicity and ease-of-use. What it has lost is the shiny metal body of the more expensive models, although the C-360 Zoom is still very well made and doesn't cut any corners. Also Olympus do not claim that the C-360 Zoom is waterproof, as they do with the Olympus µ[mju:] 410 Digital and 400 Digital.
The C-360 Zoom is the kind of camera that you can pick up and work out how to use within an hour or so, thanks to the uncluttered and logical design of both the camera body and its menu system. The camera body is very well thought out. You will notice straight away that there is no traditional D-pad on the rear of the C-360 Zoom. Instead there are four buttons that perform the same functions as a D-pad, allowing you to scroll through images and the menu system, but which also have their own specific functions as well. For example, the top button of the four allows you to select the macro mode, whilst the bottom one turns the self-timer on and off. This ensures that a lot of the controls are available by pressing buttons rather than scrolling through menus, which makes using the camera quicker and more immediate.
This clever placement of so many options on the exterior of the C-360 Zoom means in turn that its menu system is uncomplicated and easy to navigate. As mentioned above, the four buttons that form the D-pad have their own particular purpose, whilst pressing the OK button accesses the rest of the menus. These include setting the image quality, white balance, exposure compensation and a sub-menu called the Mode Menu, which contains settings like the metering mode and formatting the memory card. So the less commonly used options are accessed through the menu system, whilst the more commonly used options are available via the press of a button.
Internally Olympus have added a new TruePic Turbo image processor to the C-360 Zoom, which is supposed to deliver more image clarity, contrast and brilliant colour and also increase the camera's processing speed by up to 30%. More about image quality later - the new C-360 Zoom does feel a little faster in general use compared to the older Olympus µ[mju:] 400 Digital, although not enough to make you go "Wow!".
The C-360 Zoom still retains a few of the minor handling quibbles found on its predecessors. The zoom lens is still a little noisy in operation (I wouldn't try any close-range candid street photography with this camera) and the optical viewfinder is still too small to use effectively - I used the LCD screen to compose all the shots that I took. Also Super Macro Mode has to be turned on and off via a menu option; as the default macro mode isn't that great in comparison, I would have liked an extra external control on the camera body to access Super Macro Mode. Other than those minor points, though, the C-360 Zoom is a very well-built, easy to use and pocketable digital camera that carries on the good work of the Olympus µ[mju:] 410 Digital and 400 Digital models in terms of handling.