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Olympus C-720 Ultra Zoom

Olympus packs an 8x zoom lens into an amazingly small body, for an amazingly low price.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 7/1/2002


3 megapixel resolution for 1984 x 1488 images
8x zoom lens
Surprisingly compact body for a long-zoom camera
Inexpensive for a long-zoom camera
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Manufacturer Overview

For several years now, Olympus has been a dominant player in the digicam marketplace. It boasts one of the broadest digital camera lineups in the industry, with numerous models ranging from pure entry-level, point-and-shoot digicams to the incredible E-10 and E-20 SLRs. Currently (June of 2002), some of the hottest action in their lineup is in the three megapixel category. Recently, they introduced the D-550 Zoom, an excellent little pocket camera with point & shoot ease but plenty of more advanced features, and great picture quality. Simultaneous with the D550, they also unveiled the C-720 UltraZoom, also a three megapixel model, but this time with an incredible 8x optical zoom lens.

In most aspects, the C-720 UltraZoom is a direct follow-on model to last year's 2-megapixel, 10x zoom C-700 camera. It's the same size and weight, the main differences being the increased pixel count and slightly reduced zoom ratio. Like the C-700, the C-720 is one of the smallest long-zoom cameras I've reviewed to date, no larger or heavier than its 3x zoom counterparts. It offers a broad range of exposure controls, with four fully automatic settings, four manual modes, QuickTime movie capabilities, panoramic stitching, and a continuous shooting function. It also carries forward the "My Camera" menu, which lets the user custom-configure a broad range of settings to meet their specific needs. With a street price of under $600, the C-720 UltraZoom definitely deserves strong consideration if you're looking for the great versatility in a long-zoom digicam.

High Points

  • 3.0-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 1,984 x 1,488 pixels.
  • 1.5-inch, color LCD display and 0.5-inch electronic viewfinder (EVF).
  • Olympus 8x Zoom, 6.4-51.2mm aspherical glass lens (equivalent to a 40-320mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • 3x Digital Zoom.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to eight seconds for still images; 1/8,000 to 1/30 seconds for movies.
  • Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus three Scene modes.
  • Spot or Digital ESP metering systems.
  • Auto Bracketing, Sequence, Panoramic, and "2-in-1" capture modes.
  • Adjustable White Balance with five settings.
  • Variable ISO setting.
  • Contrast and Sharpness image adjustments.
  • Built-in pop-up flash with six operating modes.
  • QuickTime Movie mode.
  • "My" mode for saving customized settings.
  • JPEG and uncompressed TIFF file formats.
  • Images saved on SmartMedia cards (16MB card included).
  • USB cable for fast connection to a computer.
  • NTSC video cable.
  • Software CD with Olympus' Camedia Master 4.0 utility software (includes QuickTime and USB drivers).
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility and print settings.
  • Power from two CR-V3 battery packs or four AA batteries (AC adapter optional).


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