Olympus C-2020 Zoom
By Bryan Young
The C-2020 Zoom is the much anticipated update to the C-2000 Zoom, one of Olympus' best selling digital cameras. The C-2020Z uses a 1/2-inch 2.11 megapixel CCD imager to capture 1600 x 1200-pixel, 24-bit color images in JPEG or uncompressed TIF format. It has a fast, 3x optical zoom lens and is the first Olympus camera that records up to 60 seconds of video as QuickTime movies (15fps at 320 x 240 pixels or 60fps at 160 x 120 pixels).
The new C-2020Z is housed in the same 50/50 silver aluminum and black plastic case as the C-2000 and incorporates many improvements and changes to the original design. They did away with the power button in the center of the mode dial that was located too close to (and frequently confused with) the shutter release button. There is now a combination power/mode dial that works great.
With the C-2020Z if you have the "All Reset" option set to OFF it now retains all of your current settings from power off to power on. Also greatly improved is the support for external flash units. They can be used in the manual mode which allows the user to set both the shutter speed and aperture to whatever values are needed.
On the back is the new "Wide-View" 1.8-inch TFT color LCD, for easy viewing at any angle, well almost any angle... The LCD can be used as the viewfinder or you can switch it off to conserve battery power and use the optical viewfinder.
It's large and bright and has a diopter control adjustment knob on the side. The green LED now indicates a focus lock by glowing steadily.
Three of the most-used functions have been removed from the menu system and put on their own buttons. These are the flash mode and the combo macro focus and spot metering buttons which are now located next to the new jog switch.
The jog switch on the C-2020Z is now made up of four seperate switches and much less prone to being pressed in the wrong direction.
Here you can see the new Mode dial that also functions as the power switch. The position marked "A/S/M" is the manual record mode and functions according to how it's been selected in the menu system.
A=Aperture priority, S=Shutter priority and M=Manual where you set both the aperture and shutter speed values.
Also note the dial position just above the A/S/M, that is the new QuickTime movie mode. The C-2020Z can record up to 60-second movies, sorry no microphone so they're silent movies.
The C-2020 Zoom features a built-in, intelligent, multi-mode (auto, fill-in, red-eye, slow sync, disabled) flash with precise +/- 2-step exposure control in 1/3-step increments. It's also compatible with external flashes through the use of its PC sync connector.
No changes on the bottom from the C-2000, still the same battery door and locking lever that requires the user to engage all fingers on both hands to close it properly. The bottom is nice and flat and lends itself well to being mounted on a tripod.
3x Olympus 8-element, aspherical glass optical zoom lens (35mm equivalence of 35-105mm). Manual or fully automatic focus and macro capability down to 8 inches. Fast f2.0 to f11 with aperture control in 1/3 stop increments.
Use the Olympus CLA-1 lens adapter or the Tiffen OLYC2000AD to attach 55mm filters or add-on lenses.
You can really put that CLA-1 adapter to use by attaching a lens like the new EagleEye 5x OpticZoom to the C-2020Z !
Access to the SmartMedia memory card slot is via a door on the side. The tiny cards are easily removed by means of the "push in and pop out" ejector mechanism.
The C-2020Z accomodates any capacity 3.3v SmartMedia card and comes with an 8MB card.
The C-2020Z's I/O ports:
AC power adapter on the top.
Video Out port in the center.
Serial data port on the bottom.
Unfortunately ... no USB port.
The C-2020Z is powered by four AA size batteries and has been re-designed for better battery consumption efficiency. This means longer usability and less frequent battery changes. Olympus includes a set of high-capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries and a charger.
One of my favorite included accessories -- the infrared remote control that operates the camera in Record and Playback mode.
There's no easier way to get sharp macro pictures then by tripping the shutter without touching the camera. And you'll love being able to remain in your easy chair while controlling the playback on the TV set. Kudos to Olympus for including this handy device.
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.