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Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom

Olympus enters the 8 megapixel arena with a feature-packed body and fast f/2.4-3.5 5x zoom lens.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 02/12/2004, Updated: 05/07/04

Eight-megapixel sensor, delivering 3,264 x 2,448-pixel images
Super wide angle lens, with 5x optical zoom, equivalent to a 28-140mm lens on a 35mm camera
Redesigned user interface, with more external controls for faster operation.
Unusually flexible, powerful white balance system for precise color control.
Accepts xD-Picture Card and CompactFlash memory card formats

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Manufacturer Overview
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The Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom digital camera is the latest in a long line of Olympus Camedia models stretching back to the earliest days of the consumer digicam industry. Olympus is one of the truly dominant players in the digicam marketplace, with a current product line that ranges from bare-bones entry level models like the D-390 to their "from the ground up" all-digital SLR, the E-1.

The Camedia C-8080 Wide Zoom represents an evolution of the previous top-end C-5060 model, combined with user interface elements borrowed from some of Olympus' earlier pro models, such as the E-10 and E-20. The 5x wide-angle zoom lens reaches to 28mm, and offers a very "fast" maximum aperture range of f/2.4 to f/3.5, unusual in a longer-ratio zoom lens. Besides the 8-megapixel CCD, new long/fast zoom lens, and improved user interface, the C-8080 also incorporates a phase-detection autofocus system using an external phase-detect sensor for faster autofocus performance. While I've seen phase-detect AF systems in some other cameras produce very ho-hum autofocus speed, the system in the C-8080 does appear to help AF speed a great deal, as the camera's overall shutter lag is among the best that I've seen in a prosumer camera.

I originally wrote the "First Look" version of this review in mid-February of 2004, having seen only a prototype model at that point, which hadn't had its image quality tweaked to final specs yet. While I couldn't comment on its image quality at that time, the rest of the C8080's capabilities looked impressive indeed. Now that I've had the opportunity to test a production model of the 8080, I'm all the more impressed: Olympus' investment in the excellent lens design of this camera translates into exceptional sharpness and clarity in its images, not to mention excellent low-light capability, thanks to its generous f/2.4 maximum aperture. The entire camera exudes build quality as well, making this one of the best 8-megapixel models thus far on the market. Read the rest of this review for all the details: If you're in the market for an 8-megapixel digicam, you should give the C-8080 a long, hard look.

High Points

  • 8.31-megapixel (8.0 effective) CCD delivering up to 3,264 x 2,448-pixel resolution images.
  • 1.8-inch, color LCD display that tilts 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward.
  • Olympus 5x, 7.1 - 35.6mm, f2.4 - f/8.0 zoom lens (equivalent to a 28-140mm lens on a 35mm camera).
  • 3x Digital Zoom.
  • Dual (contrast detection / phase-difference detection) AF system with Auto (iESP), Manual, Macro, Super Macro, and Super Macro Manual Focus control, with AF assist light for low-light shooting.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/4,000 to 15 seconds, with a Bulb setting limited to 8 minutes.
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus four preset Scene modes.
  • My Mode for saving custom user settings.
  • Spot, Multi, Center-weighted or ESP multi-patterned metering systems.
  • Adjustable sensitivity with an Auto setting and 50, 64, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320 and 400 ISO equivalents.
  • Auto Bracketing, Sequence Shooting and Panoramic capture modes.
  • Adjustable White Balance with 11 settings, plus a WB color adjustment function.
  • Built-in flash with four operating modes, three Slow Sync modes.
  • External flash hot-shoe accepts generic strobes as well as dedicated Olympus units.
  • Noise Reduction for improved image quality on long exposures.
  • Optional autofocus-assist illuminator.
  • Live histogram display option.
  • Image sharpness, saturation, hue and contrast adjustments.
  • Black-and-White and Sepia capture modes.
  • QuickTime Movie mode with sound, and Voice Caption mode.
  • Compatible with optional infrared remote control.
  • JPEG, uncompressed TIFF, and RAW file formats.
  • Images saved to either CompactFlash or xD-Picture Card memory cards (32MB xD-Picture Card included in the box in the US).
  • USB Auto-Connect for fast image download.
  • Video cable for connecting to a television set.
  • Software CD with Olympus' Camedia Master utility software (includes QuickTime and USB drivers).
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility and print settings.
  • Power from a single lithium-ion battery pack or optional AC adapter (battery and charger included).

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