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Olympus C-3040 Zoom

Olympus updates its top-of-the-line 3-megapixel model with a "faster" lens and increased movie capabilities.

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 4/14/2001

The Olympus C-3040 Zoom looks very much like its 2.11-megapixel counterpart, the C-2040 Zoom, with the same compact SLR shape and style, identical size (4.3 x 3.0 x 2.7 inches), and slightly lighter weight (10.8 ounces / 307 grams). The only apparent difference in body design is the all-black color of the C-3040 Zoom, instead of the two-toned black and champaign color scheme that distinguishes the C-2040 Zoom. The external control layout is the same, as are the lens and other external features.

The C-3040 Zoom looks and feels very much like a small film-based SLR camera, substantial enough for a good hold (due to a large right hand grip), but small enough to slide into a large purse or coat pocket when you're done shooting. A comfortably wide neck strap is provided for those times when you want the C-3040 to be out and ready to shoot on a moment's notice.

The telescoping lens extends approximately 1.75 inches beyond the front of the camera body when powered on in either Still Shooting (Record) or Movie capture modes. When fully retracted, the 0.75-inch (20mm) lens barrel projects only about 0.25 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 large 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.

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). The inside lip of the exterior lens barrel has a set of 41mm filter threads that accepts a lens adapter tube for attaching auxiliary lenses to the camera.

The camera's 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 and Spot / Macro buttons, with the latter having an additional 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 covers 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 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.

The infrared remote control included with the camera allows you to trip the shutter, control optical zoom, and scroll through captured images remotely. We've always enjoyed this feature, as it comes in quite handy in the studio.

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