Olympus C-2000 Zoom
By Bryan Young
The Setup position gives you access to the camera's main setup screens. Pictured above is the first setup screen where you can:
The second page of the Setup menu lets you:
On the back is a 4-way rocker switch that lets you navigate through menus.
The button on the top turns the LCD monitor on and off. The button
below initiates the on-screen menu system for the advanced manual controls
and features. The "OK" button is used to confirm the selected menu option.
During recording operations you can access two menus:
The variable ISO is only available in the Shutter or Aperture Priority
modes, in Programmed-Exposure mode the camera seems to raise or lower
the ISO value to suit the lighting conditions and the user has no real
control over this.
The removeable SmartMedia memory card is accessed by a door on the side which means it can be removed even when the camera is on a tripod. You extract the card by pressing it in which makes it pop far enough out to grasp with your fingertips.
The C-2000Z can use any 3.3v SmartMedia
card up to the new 32MB size.
The I/O ports are hidden beneath a solid-latching door on the side. The optional AC adapter plugs in the top jack. The Video Out cable plugs in the center (NTSC or PAL format depending on where the camera is sold.) The Serial cable plugs in on the bottom and can be used with PC or Macintosh computers with the included adapter.
Note the diopter control knob for the optical viewfinder located just
above the AC adapter/5VDC input port.
The C-2000Z has an external flash PC sync port for connection to standard photo strobes. It is not TTL operation but by putting the camera in aperture priority mode you can match the proper f/stop for the automatic mode of your external strobe. You can disable the builtin flash and use only the external flash which is how I use the DigiSlave Deluxe with the head in bounce position.
In case you missed it above, here is a RF-1 Ringflash on the C-2000Z
Olympus C-2000 Fast Shutter/Ext Flash Workaround!
From our friends at The Imaging Resource comes this highly useful information.
"Playing around with the camera, I found another undocumented feature that solves this problem: Press "OK" and "Arrow down" on the Jog dial simultaneously in Aperture priority mode with flash switched off, and the exposure time will get no longer than 1/30 s (and will be shorter with longer focal lengths). This is what you need to avoid too long exposures with an external flash at low light. (Dave's note: On my camera, it produced shutter speeds ranging from 1/30s at wide angle to 1/100s at telephoto.)
You can leave this special mode by switching the internal flash and the slow flash mode on (and off).
I have just tested it with my camera, which was bought in Germany. (Dave's note: As noted above, it worked on my US-branded C-2000 also, so is likely universal.)
A similar result can be achieved by setting the camera to sequence shooting mode. Exposure times are then limited to 1/25 second. This does not work with the highest (SHQ) resolution, though. But I find HQ more useful in most cases, anyway."
During playback you can zoom into the picture up to 3x, this allows you
to see detail and insure proper focus, color or lighting. The green
arrows indicate you can use the 4-way rocker switch to move around the
picture segments once you have zoomed in.
Finally somebody besides Ricoh is offering an infrared remote control for their digicams! I have been a strong proponent of this for a long time and was extremely happy to see it included with the C-2000Z. In record mode you can operate the zoom lens and trip the shutter. In playback mode you can step through your pictures, bring up the thumbnail index and zoom into the displayed pictures.
Kudos to Olympus for adding the remote control which is highly useful
when using the camera in macro mode to avoid camera shake when tripping
the shutter. It is also very handy for playing your pictures on the TV
while lounging in your easy chair on the other side of the room.
The Olympus C-2000Z is an excellent camera with many advanced features, the most noteable is the 1/3-stop aperture control that really improves your flash pictures. Most digicams with builtin flash units have a tendency to put out too much light at close range and burn out the highlights, this is not the case with the C-2000Z. My flash pictures resembled the kind I was used to getting with a more expensive (and TTL-controlled) external flash unit.
The C-2000Z is housed in a lightweight hybrid aluminum and plastic case that resembles a traditional 35mm film camera. Unlike many of the other new megapixel cameras the C-2000Z's user controls and buttons have been kept to a minimum. They are clearly marked and it doesn't take long to "get familiar" with them. The advanced manual controls are accessed through onscreen menus and most can be set or changed using the 4-way rocker switch. The main operating modes are selected from a control dial on the top, you can easily switch from automatic programmed exposure mode to either shutter or aperture priority quickly.
The optical viewfinder is big and bright and has a diopter adjustment knob on the side that can be tweaked while your eye is still in the viewfinder. It has a wide viewing angle so even those who wear eyeglasses will be able to use it comfortably. The 1.8" color LCD on the back has a clear plastic shield over it so it is easy to clean. This is good news for those of us that use our left eye in the viewfinder and leave greasy nose prints on the LCD screens.
Advanced manual features include: shutter speed and aperture priority modes, average or spot metering, adjustable ISO (100, 200, 400), two different slow synch strobe modes, external flash sync connector, onscreen display of aperture setting, shutter speed and EV compensation values, five white balance settings. Of particular interest is the C-2000Z's ability to adjust the aperture in small 1/3-stop increments!
Shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/800 of a second are available and an undocumented feature lets you access slow shutter speeds up to 16 seconds. While in Shutter Priority, press and hold OK button and press the down position of the 4-way rocker switch -- you'll now be able to access the slower shutter speeds. Follow this link and go to digitalkamera.de's page where you'll find even more valuable info about taking long exposure night shots with aperture values up to f/11. See my Olympus C-2000Z Samples page for some night exposure picture samples.
The C-2000Z has a large internal RAM buffer that lets it operate similar to a 35mm motordrive. Six to ten pictures may be captured at HQ mode in 1600x1200 resolution at approximately two frames per second. SHQ mode is not available when you enable the sequence mode. The flash is also not available in the motordrive mode due to the recycle time involved. When operating in the single exposure mode the internal RAM buffer helps speed the image processing times and allows you to shoot one shot after another quickly.
The 3x optical zoom lens is a quality piece of glass that yields sharp pictures and shows little to no barrel distortion when in its widest focal length setting. The lens is exceptionally fast meaning that its largest aperture setting is f/2 and this makes it more useable in low light conditions. The autofocus system is quite accurate *if* you are within the working distance of the lens. The C-2000Z provides no feedback to the user -- you half-press the shutter button to activate the autofocus and a green light comes on no matter whether it is properly focused or not. Other digicams will flash the green light to indicate a failure of the autofocus system.
Anybody who knows me or has been reading my camera reviews or comments should know what a big supporter I am of remote controls. They have included one with the C-2000Z and I love it! During recording you can run the zoom in and out and trip the shutter -- invaluable for closeup and macro work with the camera on a tripod. It also lets you control playback from up to 16 feet away so you can run a slideshow on the TV from your easy chair. OK Nikon, Canon, Agfa and the rest of you camera makers -- get on the stick and add a remote control to your next "top of the line" consumer camera.
My biggest complaint is the way they designed the battery door, it is quite difficult to close without using a lot of strength and a lot of fingers. You will eventually learn the right way to do it as the C-2000Z goes through a set of batteries like most megapixel cameras with power zooms, autofocus and big LCD screens. Battery life is no better or worse than the Nikon 950 so you better plan on having at least two sets of NiMH rechargeables at the ready. Forget alkalines!
Complaint #2 - The On/Off power button is located where most people will
mistake it for the shutter button. I have lost count of how
many times I've pressed it by mistake and turned the camera off instead
of snapping a picture. If Olympus makes a newer version of this camera
I hope the designers find a better place for the On/Off button - like on
the back of the camera.
The Bottom Line
All in all the C-2000Z is an excellent 2 megapixel digital camera that produces sharp and colorful 1600x1200 images that rival the Nikon 950. The Olympus C-2000Z would be the obvious choice for those that don't like the unconventional design of the swiveling-lens Nikon Coolpix 950. These two cameras share a lot of the same features and are very close in price so you will see a lot of "Nikon 950 vs Olympus C-2000z" kind of articles and messages in the discussion forums. The Nikon uses CompactFlash cards and the Olympus uses SmartMedia cards which is also a highly debated thing amongst digicam users. I used a 32MB SmartMedia card in the C-2000Z and before too long we will have 64MB and 128MB sized cards as well.
I can highly recommend this digicam as being a very good high-end consumer priced camera that stands well against the competition. There's differences in the overall camera design and the storage medium but the real bottom line is the image quality and the C-2000Z's images are top notch! I have been most impressed with its ability to shoot average room- to low-light pictures without the flash, this is great for natural candids.
Worth noting since my original review is that the C-2000Z comes with a very nice software package including Camedia Master v1.1 that allows you to alter JPG files and then upload them back to the camera -- something that a lot of Nikon 900/950 owners wish they could do. Also included is QuickStitch panorama software which Nikon used to include but does not now. And the venerable Adobe PhotoDeluxe.
Both the Olympus C-2000Z and the Nikon 950 exhibit what some are calling "the purple fringe" effect. This is well demonstrated at Thomas Breuel's web site devoted to this problem with most 1600x1200 pixel digicams. This seems to be a result of these new 2Mpixel CCDs being overly sensitive to the infrared portion of the spectrum.
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