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Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom

3.2 megapixels, a sharp 10x zoom lens, tons of features, and an affordable price!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 11/25/2002


The Olympus C-730 Ultra Zoom displays the same general body shape and size as the rest of the C-series, though with a slightly larger lens barrel (to accommodate the impressive 10x zoom lens). The silver-toned body is boxy but compact, with a size that fits the hand well, and good balance when you're holding it. External control layout is similar to previous models, with a large Mode dial on top of the camera and an array of control buttons on the back panel. The C-730 Ultra Zoom features a 3.2-megapixel CCD, which delivers a maximum image size of 3,200 x 2,400 pixels with interpolation, or 2048x1536 uninterpolated. This is enough resolution for sharp prints as large as 8x10 inches. The most exciting feature on the C-730 is its 10x zoom lens, with a surprisingly large maximum aperture range of f/2.8-3.5. Besides the exceptional optical zoom, the C-730 also has a 3x digital zoom, although the digital zoom makes the unavoidable tradeoff of lower resolution proportional to the magnification achieved.

The C-730 Zoom measures 4.2 x 3.0 x 3.1 inches (107.5 x 76.4 x 77.5mm), identical in dimensions to its "little brother," the C-720 Ultra Zoom model. A mixture of plastic and thin aluminum body panels keeps the C-730 Zoom relatively light weight at 11.2 ounces (310 grams) without batteries, though it does have a reassuring heft when you pick it up (due in part to the larger lens assembly). The camera won't fit into a shirt pocket, but does have a chance at larger coat pockets and purses. It comes with a neckstrap, but I strongly recommend picking up a soft camera case to protect the C-730 when traveling.

The front of the C-730 is relatively plain, featuring only the lens, self-timer LED, IR remote sensor, and the front lip of the pop-up flash compartment. When fully retracted, the lens barrel projects only about three quarters of an inch beyond the depth of the hand grip, and it extends about another three-quarters of an inch when powered up in any capture mode. When not in use, the lens is protected by a removable plastic lens cap that attaches to the camera with the supplied tether strap. A plastic grip bar on the inside of the handgrip provides firm purchase for your fingers as they wrap around the camera's body.

On the right side of the camera, the SmartMedia/xD-Picture Card compartment is covered by a hinged, plastic door that opens from the back panel. The center of the compartment door hinge serves as the eyelet for attaching the neckstrap.

On the opposite side of the camera is the connector compartment, which houses the DC-In, A/V Out, and USB connector ports. A hinged plastic door protects the jacks when not in use, and snaps firmly shut. The external flash sync connector is concealed behind a small black circular cover in the lower left hand corner, just below the speaker grille.

The C-730's top panel has only a few controls on it, just the Shutter button (surrounded by the Zoom lever), a Mode dial, and pop-up flash compartment (with a Flash Release button).

The back panel layout is clean and logical, with all of the control buttons positioned above or to the right of the 1.5-inch LCD monitor. The four-way Arrow Pad serves multiple functions depending on the camera's operating mode, and is adjacent just to the right of the display. Arrayed across the top of the back panel are the Self-Timer/Remote / Erase, Spot / Macro (with the added DPOF print feature), and Flash / Protect buttons. Below these are the Power and AE Lock / Rotate buttons. A Display button sits just below the four-way Arrow Pad and controls whether or not the rear-panel LCD is illuminated. The electronic viewfinder in the upper left corner of the camera shows a miniaturized version of the larger LCD display, and features a diopter adjustment dial for eyeglass wearers.

The bottom of the camera holds the battery compartment cover and a plastic screw-mount tripod socket. The tripod socket is just a little too close to the battery compartment to make battery changes easy when mounted on a tripod. (This is a pet peeve of mine, but I recognize that most people don't spend as much time with their digicams locked down to a tripod than I do.)



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