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Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom

Big camera with great zoom and great macro
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The first thing you think when you see the Olympus Wide Zoom C-7070 is, "Man, that's a big camera." And it is. We're talking almost a pound of big, solid black camera body. That's roughly twice the size and weight of the Olympus C-7000 Zoom. Both are 7-megapixel cameras, both have large optical zooms, but the C-7070 definitely looks like it belongs into an entirely different class of cameras, one that offers more. And the C-7070 does offer more.

There is, for example, one of those ever-useful flip-up-and-twist LCDs that lets you take pictures while holding the camera up high, down low, or even sideways. One disadvantage of the flip-up LCDs is that they tend to be a bit smaller. The one in the C-7070 measures just 1.8 inches diagonally. It partially makes up for that with a semi-transmissive design and wide viewing angles that provide good visibility even outdoors. The LCD is supplemented by a good optical real image viewfinder with diopter adjustment. There is also a secondary status LCD sitting on top of the camera. There is a built-in flash and also a flash hot shoe. The tripod mount at the bottom is metal. The Li-Ion battery is massive and the most powerful in the entire lineup. Open the storage card cover on the right side and you'll find two slots, one for xD-Cards and one for the more popular CF Cards.

Quite obviously, Olympus has thought about everything, and you get an awful lot for your money when you buy this camera. Especially since, despite its many features, it costs no more than the C-7000 Zoom, and you might even find it for less. This makes the C-7070 Wide Zoom a bargain for anyone in the market for a large, powerful camera. The C-7070 , though, will never slip into a pocket and it'll never go unnoticed. Carry it around and you know you have a camera with you, and everyone around you will notice as well.

The C-7070 is called "Wide Zoom" because its 4X optical covers the 27-110 millimeter range. The Konica Minolta A200 also goes down to 28 mm (and has a 7X optical that goes all the way up to 200 mm), but the big Konica can't match the C-7070 on the other end of the spectrum -- macro mode -- where you can get as close as an inch. This Super Macro definitely adds utility to the big Olympus. The camera also has some tricks, like a "predictive" autofocus that keeps objects moving towards you in focus, and a target function that lets you focus on any part of the picture. The movie mode allows 30 frame per second 640 x 480 pixel recording with sound until the card is full. Print manuals (full manual is on CD) and software are marginal, but anyone interested in such a full-function camera will likely use advanced imaging software anyway.

As far as operation goes, the C-7070 is ergonomically designed and perfectly fits into the palm of your hand. Controls are where you expect them. I don't like the way Olympus combines zoom control and shutter, but it's actually one of the best implementations of that design solution. The rest of the controls and menus are all Olympus-style, which means buttons spread out all over the place and marked with a combination of words, letters, icons and colors. That tradition of mixing metaphors and styles carries over to the menu system which youâll either love or hate. Those familiar with Olympus digicams will feel right at home. Anyone else will have to get used to it, and also every one of the many controls. Once you do, there is little the C-7070 can't do. It offers superb manual control over all aspects of the camera, but you can also use it as a point & shooter. The C-7070 produced good to very good image quality, but suffered from purple fringing.

We like:

  • Great wide-angle zoom, great super macro
  • Lots of features and full manual control
  • Excellent ergonomics
Not so much:
  • Smallish LCD
  • Large and heavy
  • Marginal audio capabilities

Specifications Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom
Status Added 5/2005
Camera Type Standard
Size 4.6 x 3.4 x 2.6
Weight (oz.) 13.5 w/o battery
Effective Pixels 7.1 mp
CCD Type 1/1.8
Max pixel size 3072 x 2304
File formats JPEG, RAW, TIFF, MOV
Compression SHQ, HQ, SQ1, SQ2, TIFF
Movie recording (best) til full @ 30fps
Max movie pixels 640 x 480
Voice Recording 4-second clips
Lens NA
Focal length 5.7-22.9mm (27-110mm)
Zoom (optical/digital) 4X/5X
Aperture f/2.8 - f/8.0
Focus modes spot AF, manual
Focus minimum/macro 1.0 inch, 31 feet
Shutter speed 1/4000 to 16 sec
Sensitivity (ISO) auto/80/100/200/400
Autofocus system Dual AF: contrast or phase
Metering Digital ESP spot/center
White-balance modes auto, manual, 6 presets, custom
Shooting modes auto/A/S/M/scenes
Exposure compensation +/-2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 steps
Viewfinder Type optical real-image
LCD size 1.8" LCD (130k)
LCD type semi-transmissive
LCD construction flip-up
Flash type built-in + shoe
Flash range up to 21 feet
Flash modes 7
Camera internal memory none
Storage Medium CF + xD-Picture Card (32MB incl.)
Battery type Li-Ion BLM-1 (7.2V, 1500mAH)
CIPA Battery life (LCD/off) 300 images
List Price $449.99
Contact www.olympusamerica.com.com

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