Olympus Camedia C-8080 Wide Zoom
Review Date: 24th May 2004
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom features an 8-megapixel CCD which will allow you to create great-looking prints up to A3 in size. The camera has a bright f/2.4-3.5, 5x optical zoom lens which gives a zoom range equivalent to 28-140mm on a 35mm camera. It comprises 14 high quality lenses arranged in five groups and includes two aspherical lenses to reduce distortion. In addition, three ED elements help minimise chromatic aberrations. The lens has a 58mm filter thread to allow you to attach conversion lenses via the optional CLA-8 accessory. There is a 1x – 3x digital zoom available, which provides a 15x seamless zoom when combined with the optical zoom.
The LCD monitor is a 1.8 inch sunshine colour TFT LCD monitor with 134,000 pixels, whilst the electronic viewfinder has an impressive 240,000 pixels. The tilting LCD monitor helps you to frame scenes when shooting from difficult angles, such as from the floor or above the head. Great for macro or candid photography, as you don't actually have to lift the camera to your eye to be able to frame the subject successfully. The LCD can be tilted down 20 and up 90 degrees in 4 positions that click into place. You can't rotate it left or right, as in some more recent cameras, as the monitor pivots on a large hinge that extends along its width. The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom also has a 240,000 pixel EVF, which replaces the small and dim optical viewfinder on earlier models like the C-5050 Zoom.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom uses a dual autofocus system - TTL autofocus with contrast detection and passive AF by phase detection. The TTL contrast detection system is combined with the passive metering system, which uses a second sensor to calculate the phase difference and thereby the subject's distance. The camera then fine-tunes the readings for optimum sharpness. The working range is 0.8m – infinity in standard mode, 0.2 – 0.8m in macro mode and from as close as 5cm in super macro mode.
The main exposure mode is Olympus' Digital ESP (Electro Selective Pattern), which is used throughout their range of digital cameras. If that fails to give a well-exposed image, there is also spot metering, multi-spot metering and centre-weighted metering available. There is a very useful histogram function that you can enable to check the exposure of your photographs, either before the photo is taken or afterwards, and the camera also offers AE lock and exposure area selection functions. Images are recorded as JPEGs in a range of different quality and size settings; TIFF and RAW formats are also available.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom offers the usual four main exposure modes - Programmed auto exposure, Aperture Priority Auto and Shutter Priority Auto and Manual, plus four different scene programs to help the beginner - Normal, Portrait, Night Scene and Landscape. The shutter speed range is 16 seconds – 1/4000 sec. (bulb 8 minutes), depending on the selected exposure mode. Exposure Compensation is available ±2 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps (selectable) and you can auto bracket either 3 or 5 images (except TIFF).
There is a wide range of white balance settings including
Auto and nine different presets (Shade, overcast, sunlight,
evening sun, tungsten light, fluorescent light 1,2,3,4). You
can also tweak the white balance adjustment (Red) -7 –
+7 (blue) and create your own custom white balance setting.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom has a short shutter release time lag
of 0.3 seconds and a fast startup time.
The built-in flash features numerous modes including Auto (automatic activation in low and backlight), Red-eye reduction, Fill-in (forced activation), Slow synchronisation, Off (no flash) and slave mode. It has a guide number of 9 and a range of 0.8 m – 5.3 m when the lens is at its widest setting, and 0.2 m – 3.6 m at its longest setting. Recycle time is 6 seconds. The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom also incorporates a hot shoe for connecting a compatible external flash unit.
There are a large number of ISO speeds available on the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom, although the actual range isn't that great. You can either choose the Automatic setting and leave it up to the camera to pick what it thinks is the best setting, or set the camera to Manual and choose from ISO 50, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320 and 400.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom has two different continuous shooting modes. In the high speed setting you can take up to 1.6 shots per second in any JPEG mode (maximum of 5 images). In the normal setting you can take up to 1.0 shots per second in any HQ mode (maximum of 26 images). The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom has a motion picture mode which allows you to record QuickTime Motion JPEG movies with sound until the memory card capacity is reached. Using the supplied 32MB xD-Picture Card, this is either 34 seconds at SHQ (640 x 480 pixels) with audio, or 93 seconds at (320 x 240 pixels) without audio.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom uses Olympus' new TruePic Turbo image processor and also employs proper gamma technology, noise reduction, advanced noise filter, noise canceller and pixel mapping. Various adjustments can be made to the image quality within a range of -5 – +5, including Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Color Phase. There are a few shooting functions available (sepia mode, black & white mode, guide line).
PictBridge support allows direct printing with compatible printers, whilst the camera can be controlled by a PC (using the Software Development Kit). The camera can store and memorise up to 8 custom settings, allowing you to cutomize the operation of the camera to your own needs. There is also a self-timer, DC input terminal, USB 2.0 high speed AutoConnect interface and an A/V output.
The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom is compatible with three different memory card formats - xD-Picture Card (16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512MB), CompactFlash Type I/II and Microdrive (except 320MB). The camera is powered by a rechargeable 7.2V Li-ion battery. Dimensions are 124 (w) x 84.5 (h) x 99 (d) mm and the camera weighs approx. 660g without the battery or memory card fitted.
Olympus have been quite generous with what they supply with the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom camera. A neckstrap, remote control (RM-2), audio/video cable, USB cable, Li-ion battery BLM-1, battery charger BCM-2, lens hood, lens cap, 32MB xD-Picture Card, instruction manual, warranty card and a software CD-ROM are all included in the box. Like most other digital camera manufacturers, Olympus have chosen to supply a memory card that is far too small - only 2 RAW files or 8 SHQ JPEG files can be stored on the 32Mb card. You will have to buy at least two 512Mb xD-Picture Cards to provide sufficient storage for the 8-megapixel files, especially if you are primarily shooting in RAW mode.