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Olympus C-2040 Zoom

Olympus updates an old favorite, producing a "third generation" two megapixel digicam.

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 2/20/2001

Anyone who is already familiar with the Olympus C-2020 Zoom will immediately notice the family resemblance in the new C-2040 Zoom. Although not much has changed in body design, there are a few subtle differences in the controls. For example, the Manual Focus button has been changed to an Automatic Exposure (AE) Lock button, and the Macro button has added a DPOF print settings control in Playback mode. A shrewd observer might also notice that the write-protection padlock symbol has changed to a key icon.

The C-2040 Zoom is nearly the same size and weight as its younger sibling, measuring 4.3 x 3.0 x 2.7 inches (109.5 x 76.4 x 69.6mm) and weighing 14.2 ounces (407g). It's a great size and weight for "carry-it-anywhere" spontaneous shooting (though a little too bulky to fit in a shirt pocket). In fact, it looks and feels very much like a small film-based SLR, substantial enough for a good hold (due to a large right hand grip), but small enough to slide into your purse or coat pocket when you're done shooting.

The telescoping lens extends approximately 1 3/4-inches beyond the front of the camera body when powered up in either Still Shooting (Record) or Movie capture modes. When fully retracted, the 3/4-inch (20mm) lens barrel projects only about 1/4 inch (10mm) beyond the depth of the hand grip. The lens is protected by a spring-lock, removable plastic lens cap that can be attached to the camera with the supplied tether strap.

The smooth black hand grip, which houses both the battery and SmartMedia compartments, is sculpted to fit comfortably in your hand, with a recessed finger hold on the front and a stubbled plastic thumb grip on the back. Overall, the Camedia has a very slick look, with champaign metallic color on three sides, and black and silver accents throughout.

From the front of the camera, the edge of the zoom lever (upper left corner) is visible, as well as the flash, self-timer alert light, viewfinder window, and IR sensor window (used for the IR remote control, which is available as a separate accessory). The inside of the lens barrel has a set of 48mm filter threads that accept a lens adapter tube for attaching auxiliary lenses to the camera.

The back panel layout is logically designed, with all of the control buttons positioned above or to the right of the 1.8-inch LCD color monitor. The four-way Arrow Pad, which serves multiple functions, is above the upper right corner of the display. Next to it on the left are the Flash / Erase button and a Spot / Macro button with the added DPOF print feature. Under the Arrow pad are the OK / Protect button, which also serves as an automatic exposure lock (AEL), plus the Monitor and Menu buttons, which control information on the camera's LCD. The optical viewfinder, in the upper left corner of the camera, zooms in and out with the lens, and has a set of LED lamps to report the camera's status.

The SmartMedia compartment, covered by a hinged plastic door, opens on the right side, with a third LED lamp to indicate card status. Right above the SmartMedia compartment door is one of two neck strap eyelets, with the second one counterbalancing it on the left side of the camera.

Adjacent to the left side eyelet is the cable Connector cover, a second hinged plastic door that hides the DC-In, Video Out, and USB connector ports. A five-pin external flash sync connector is set in the lower left corner of the side panel, concealed by a small (and easily lost!) black plastic cover. Diagonally from that is a diopter adjustment control for the optical viewfinder.

The top of the camera is virtually clutter-free, with only the Shutter button (surrounded by the Zoom Lever), a Mode dial, and a small LED display panel, which indicates the status of nearly all of the camera functions.

The bottom of the camera holds the battery compartment cover (easier to open than the battery doors on the C-2000 and C-2020), and a plastic screw-mount tripod socket, which is just a little too close to the battery compartment to make battery changes easy when mounted on a tripod. One way around this is to use the optional AC adapter, which we always recommend for time-consuming projects, such as working in the studio or downloading images to the computer.

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