Not one but TWO reviews of Oly's C-3040Z!|
(Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 16:38 EDT)
It must be the day for double reviews today - first two reviews of Harbortronics' DigiSnap 2000, and now we post our review of Olympus' C-3040 Zoom at the same time as the Digital Photography Review... ;)
We've just completed our review of Olympus' 'third generation' 3 megapixel camera, the C-3040. We say 'third generation' because this new model is based heavily on the earlier C3030, and the two megapixel C-2000 before that. The maturity of the design shows, in a well-developed user interface. Some have complained that UI elements are buried too deeply or are confusing, but we didn't personally find that to be the case. (On the other hand, we're definitely long-term Olympus users, so that may be a factor.) Whatever the case, the 3040 does sport a new lens, with a much 'faster' maximum aperture. We discovered after posting our review that our test unit (which was in fact a full-production model) apparently had an optical problem, with the result that the upper left-hand corner of the frame is quite fuzzy in our test shots. We'd initially chalked this up to the sort of corner softness we've frequently seen in our camera tests, but three factors suggest this may not be the case: 1) The upper left corner is much more affected than the other corners, and a lens problem would affect the four corners the same. 2) The 2040 uses the same lens, and didn't show the degree of the problem we saw in the 3040, and 3) At least one other reviewer managed to get sharp photos out of their 3040. We'll re-test with a new unit that Oly's promised to send us in a day or two, meanwhile, the photos should be representative of color balance, and all the user interface, timing, and power consumption data is correct.
Overall, the 3040 looks like a strong competitor in the marketplace, and we're seeing pretty aggressive pricing for it at retail. Veteran Oly shooters should find this to be a very worthy upgrade, while even novices will find it 'friendly' when used in full-auto mode.
Our good friends at the Digital Photography Review have also posted a review of the C-3040 today, which will offer a good second opinion when you've read our review. Phil concludes:
"New lens, improved electronics (or at least image processing algorithms), several 'fixes' from the C-3030Z but hardly a new camera. For me the C-3040Z is simply Olympus trying to get more life out of an aging design. Not that there's a huge amount wrong with that, it's a proven camera system which works well, there's plenty to like about the C-3040Z and its feature set puts many other digital cameras to shame. What, though, I think everyone was hoping for was something more than the C-3040Z brings... It fixes many of the C-3030Z's faults but doesn't seriously challenge the market with anything new. You should be able find the C-3040Z for around $800, at which price it does offer fairly good value for money (in this ever more competitive market segment)." There's also a review available from the folks at Steve's Digicams, and a first look from the folks at the Digital Eye website.