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Olympus C-5000 Zoom


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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 11/04/2003


Continuing the familiar Olympus Camedia C-Series design (with a few slight tweaks), the C-5000 Zoom's outward appearance is similar to that of previous "C" models. The camera is essentially an update to the previous C-4000 model, and features just a few style differences to set its body apart, in addition to a handful of feature differences that I'll discuss later on. Overall, the camera has a few more curves and angles than the previous model, giving it a sleeker, more fashion-forward appearance. Size and shape are somewhere between a traditional 35mm film point & shoot and a compact SLR, as the camera measures 4.1 x 2.9 x 1.8 inches (105 x 74 x 46 millimeters), just a hair smaller than the C-4000. The C-5000 is just slightly lighter as well, at 9.6 ounces (272 grams) with card and battery installed, with a body design that combines structural plastic and aluminum decorative panels.

Just like previous C-Series digicams, the C-5000 Zoom looks and feels very much like a small film-based SLR camera, substantial enough for a good hold, but small enough to slide into a large purse or coat pocket when you're done shooting. However, the C-5000's redesigned handgrip felt a little awkward at times, perhaps because of my larger hands. (Others at IR didn't share this view though: writer-helper Stephanie Boozer and newsletter editor Mike Pasini both found the C-5000 very comfortable to hold.) A comfortably wide neck strap comes with the camera, enabling you to keep the C-5000 out and ready to shoot on a moment's notice.

The telescoping lens extends just over three-quarters of an inch beyond the front of the camera body when powered on in either Still Shooting (Record) or Movie capture modes. A body flange with accessory threads inside it projects about one-quarter of an inch from the camera's front panel, well inside the hand grip. The lens is protected by a spring-lock, removable plastic lens cap that can be tethered to the camera with the included strap.

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 receiver (for the included wireless remote control). As mentioned earlier, the inside lip of the exterior lens barrel has a set of filter threads that accepts a lens adapter tube for attaching auxiliary lenses to the camera.

Featuring a similar control layout to other C-Series digicams, the C-5000 Zoom's back panel has all of the control buttons positioned above or to the right of the 1.8-inch LCD color monitor. The four-way Arrow Pad serves multiple functions, and is located next to the lower right corner of the display. An OK/Menu button is at its center. Just above the LCD monitor are the Flash / Erase, Spot / Macro / Protect, and AE Lock / Custom / Rotate buttons. Adjacent to the top right corner of the LCD monitor is the Monitor button, which controls the LCD display. The optical viewfinder in the upper left corner of the camera zooms in and out with the lens, and a pair of LED lamps next to the eyepiece report the camera's status. An LED lamp in the top right corner lights whenever the camera accesses the memory card.

The large hand grip, housing the battery and xD-Picture Card compartment (accessed from the bottom panel), makes up the right side of the camera. The grip is sculpted to fit comfortably in your hand, with a subtly recessed finger hold on the front and a dimpled plastic thumb grip on the back. At the top of the handgrip is one of the eyelets for attaching the neck strap.

Below the left side neck strap eyelet is the connector compartment cover, a hinged plastic door that covers the DC-In, Video Out, and USB connector ports.

The top of the camera holds the external flash hot shoe (with a plastic cover), Zoom Lever, Shutter button (surrounded by the Zoom Lever), Power dial, and Mode dial. Angling down from the top panel is the Quick View button.

The bottom of the camera holds the battery and memory card compartment and a plastic screw-mount tripod socket, which is just far enough from the battery compartment to make battery changes easy when mounted on a tripod. The tripod socket is also off-center from the lens, making panorama shots with foreground objects more difficult.

The RM-2 infrared remote control included with the C-5000 Zoom isn't as capable as the RM-1 remote I've come to know and love on earlier/higher end Olympus cameras. While the RM-1 allows you to trip the shutter, control the optical zoom, and scroll through captured images remotely, the RM-2 that ships with the C-5000 is limited to tripping the shutter, by way of a 3-second self-timer delay. Happily though, if you happen to have an RM-2 from an earlier Olympus camera, or choose to purchase one separately, the C-5000 is fully compatible with it, providing full support for the RM-2's functions. I've always enjoyed this feature on past Olympus digicams, as it comes in quite handy in the studio. It's also great any time you're using a really long exposure time and want to prop the camera on something to avoid jiggling it by pressing the Shutter button. A pleasant surprise is the distance from which the IR remote will control the camera (in my experience, out to 15 feet or more, depending on the ambient lighting). I'm less crazy although, about the fact that the camera always waits a few seconds, counting down before firing the shutter in response to the remote. An option to set the shutter delay to zero when using the remote would be very welcome.


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