Olympus C-500 Zoom
Review Date: May 5th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The Olympus C-500 Zoom is an easy-to-use, well-made entry level digital camera that ultimately is difficult to get too excited about. With the exception of the Manual exposure mode, which gives you some control over aperture and shutter speed, it doesn't offer anything to set it apart from the competition. It's not particularly compact or stylish, doesn't offer a wide-angle or ultra-zoom lens, has an average movie mode, and only has a 1.8 inch LCD screen. Having said all that, it is well-suited to the entry-level market that it is aimed at. The scene modes are numerous and will definitely help the beginner and there is even an in-built help system (although it is pretty limited). The Olympus C-500 Zoom is not very well-suited to capturing fast-moving subjects, with limited continuous shooting modes and no continuous auto-focusing option, but it does consistently achieve focus indoors despite the lack of an auto-focus assist lamp.
Image quality is, well, you guessed it, average. The images were soft out of the camera and you can't change the sharpening level, which means that you will either have to accept that all your photos will be slightly soft, or sharpen them later using a program like Adobe Photoshop. In terms of noise, ISO 200 exhibited some obvious noise that removed fine detail from the image and ISO 400 is really a last resort option. On a more positive note, chromatic aberrations were well controlled and the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds is great for night photography. The Macro mode allows you to focus on a subject that is just 4cms away from the camera and the built-in flash worked well with no signs of red-eye.
The Olympus C-500 Zoom is one of those cameras that you would be perfectly happy to receive as a gift for Christmas, but which wouldn't actually be that high on your own shopping list. The Olympus C-500 Zoom is a perfectly competent camera that ticks most of the right boxes, just not a very exciting one.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Olympus C-500 Zoom have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.