Olympus C-3020 Zoom Review

Steve's Digicams

Olympus C-3020 Zoom

Features & Controls

The 3X zoom (32-96mm equivalent) is an 8-element in 6-groups, F/2.8 all-glass aspherical lens with continuous 2.5X digital telephoto. It's not as fast as the F/1.8 lens on some of the other Olympus models but it's still performs well in low light. Aperture settings of F2.8 - F11 are selectable.

The focusing range in standard AF mode is 31 inches to infinity. The dedicated Macro mode is not a fixed focus distance as some previous models have been. Macro is 8 inches to 31 inches in AF or Manual Focus.

The lens base is threaded and accepts the optional Olympus CLA-1 lens adapter to attach filters or add-on lenses. These adapters are also available from Tiffen, Kenko and several other manufacturers.

The TTL autofocus system can be WIDE AREA or the user can select a center SPOT focus point. The lens can be manually focused. The user can select single or continuous AF operation.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The eyelevel optical real-image zoom viewfinder has a field of view of approx. 80% of the captured image. It has diopter adjustment for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. Two LEDs are used to indicate focus and flash status, they also indicate Movie recording is active or the camera is writing to the memory card.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The built-in flash has modes for Auto flash, Auto flash with red-eye Reduction, Fill- flash, Fill-flash with red-eye Reduction or Flash Cancel and slow shutter synchronization flash (1st or 2nd curtain effect). The working range of the flash is 31 inches to 11.8 feet in wide angle and 8 inches to 11.8 feet in telephoto. With a fully charged set of batteries the flash recycle time is approx. 6 seconds if maximum flash output is needed. We noted that as little as a 2-3 second recycle time was common when shooting relatively close pictures.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The (non-illuminated) monochrome data LCD on the top lets you see the important camera settings at a glance without the need to turn on the color LCD.

The Mode Dial has positions for Play, Off, Program record, "A"perture priority / "S"hutter priority / "M"anual shutter speed, aperture and "MY MODE" customizable recording mode ("A / S / M / My"), and "S-Prg" scene program record mode.

Above the Mode Switch is the shutter release, surrounding it is the Zoom control switch which doubles as the display's "Zoom-In / Index" control during playback mode.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The 4-way selector lets you navigate through the menus. The OK button is used to enable the menu system and accept selections. The 4-way selector is also used for changing shutter speeds, aperture values, exposure compensation and in playback zomed mode it allows you to move around in a zoomed-in image to check focus etc. To the left of the navigation buttons is the Macro / Spot toggling button. In playback this button is used to mark images for DPOF printing. The upper button control the Flash modes for: Auto flash, Auto flash with red- eye Reduction, Fill- flash, Fill- flash with red-eye Reduction or Flash Cancel and slow shutter synchronization flash (1st or 2nd curtain effect)..

Olympus Camedia C-3020

On the back is a 1.8" color TFT LCD monitor which can be used as a live viewfinder or for image review or accessing the menu system. The OK/MENU button enables the onscreen menus. The Monitor ON / OFF button is next followed by the AEL Button. It locks the auto exposure system for one exposure or pushed again it locks the exposure until you clear it or turn the camera off.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The I/O ports are found behind a door at the opposite end of the camera from the Compact Flash Compartment door and include a fast USB port for transferring images to the computer. On the top is a 6.5v DC INput jack. There is no Video Out capability.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

The C-3020 is equipped with a SmartMedia card slot and is supplied with a 16MB SM card. It's compatible with any 3.3v SM card from 4MB to 128MB. Olympus brand SM cards must be used if you want to use the camera's builtin Panorama function.

Olympus Camedia C-3020

Power is supplied by four AA type batteries, high-capacity NiMH type are strongly recommended.

Olympus gives no exact specs on the number of images that can be captured with a set of alkaline batteries, but claim that it has "new battery saving technology" built in. Our in-house testing was with alkaline batteries, using the LCD at all times and shooting indoor flash pictures. The results were... (keep in mind we shot as soon as the flash recycled, in actual use the LCD would be ON a lot longer in-between shots) ... 169 HQ images that filled a 128MB card and we still had enough power to view some of the images. The warning light finally indicated that the batteries were just about exhausted.

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