Olympus Camedia C-310 Zoom
(Also known as the Olympus Camedia D-540 Zoom)
Review Date: July 14th 2004
The Olympus Camedia C-310 Zoom is positioned towards the bottom of the range in what Olympus call their "Easy" category. It has a 3.2-megapixel CCD and a 3x optical zoom that is equivalent to a 38–114mm lens on a 35mm format camera. The lens has a respectable aperture range of f2.9 at the widest setting of 35mm and f5.0 at the longest setting of 114mm. The shutter speed range is 2 – 1/2000th second.
The C-310 Zoom uses the xD-Picture Card format, which is tiny and allows the camera to be physically small (102 (W) x 55.5 (H) 36.5 (D) mm to be precise) and weigh very little (150g without battery and memory card).
The C-310 Zoom doesn't have conventional exposure modes like aperture-priority, shutter-speed priority or manual. Instead it offers a range of scene modes, starting with Program AE (basically a full-auto mode), then Portrait, Self-portrait, Night Scene, Landscape and Landscape with Portrait. The C-310 Zoom also has a panoramic mode and it allows you to record short movies (without sound) in the QuickTime Motion JPEG format. There is one movie mode, HQ (320 x 240 pixels), which allows you to record up to the capacity of the memory card (48 seconds with a 16Mb card).
The C-310 Zoom uses the Digital ESP metering system, which takes an average reading from the scene. ISO speeds range from 50 to 320, but unfortunately you can't actually choose the speed - instead the camera selects the most suitable setting for you. White Balance can be set automatically by the camera, or you can choose from sunlight, overcast, tungsten light and fluorescent light presets.
The focusing system used is TTL system iESP autofocus with contrast detection. The working range in Standard mode is 0.5m – infinity. There are also two different macro modes available - Macro mode allows you to focus as close as 0.2m, and Super macro mode as close as 2cm. The built-in flash has a guide number of 7.6 and offers a range of different modes; Auto (automatic activation in low and backlight), Red-eye Reduction, Fill-in (forced activation) and Off (no flash).
Images are recorded as JPEGs in a range of different quality and size settings (2,048 x 1,536, 1,600 x 1200 and 640 x 480); there are no TIFF or RAW formats. To compose your images, you can either use the small optical viewfinder or the 1.8 inch colour TFT LCD monitor with 85,000 pixels. The C-310 Zoom features Olympus' new TruePic Turbo technology, which delivers more image clarity, contrast and brilliant colour and also increases the camera's processing speed by up to 30%.
The C-310 Zoom is powered by either a proprietary rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which takes a couple of hours to fully charge, or 2 x AA Ni-MH/Alkaline rechargeable batteries. PictBridge support allows direct printing with compatible printers, and there is a USB 2.0 Full Speed Auto Connect interface to connect the camera to your computer.
Finally, the box kit includes a camera strap, 16MB xD-Picture Card, USB cable, 2 AA Alkaline batteries, instruction manual and the CAMEDIA Master 4.2 software package. You will need to invest in a few additional items: more xD-Picture Cards to store your images on, a few sets of AA Ni-MH batteries to power the camera, and maybe a camera case. The standard box kit is one area in which Olympus has chosen to save some money.