I've had this camera for 4 years now, it's been with me on many trips and travels, and has not encountered drastic problems. It's very tough and sturdy, hard to accidentally break.
It has excellent zoom (8x) for its size, and for its time. It's light, and comfortable to hold. Good battery life, if you use common sense and use the LCD viewscreen sparingly.
In my experience, it handles low-light situations wonderfully, coming out with sharp images each time, where other cameras would blur them. (I'm sure that's also due in part to learning to hold the camera steady, but even when I've handed it to people who didn't know how to use it, it had good results.)
Its interface is not overwhelmingly complicated, which is a plus - the buttons on the back are all fairly straightforward.
I particularly like the easy access to the AEL button to capture light from another area then take the picture I want, if the camera disagrees with me on the exposure it needs.
For its time (in this day and age, 4 years is a lot for a digital camera that routinely takes quite a bit of abuse during travel etc) it was an excellent deal. It was my first digital camera, and I'm just about ready to upgrade to something else with more megapixels (the C-720 only has 3 megapixels) and with manual features. I've held back so long only because every time I think I want another camera, it surprises me with a great shot I didn't expect it to be able to take.
This one has been a good friend, as all cameras are when you learn how to use them. I'll still keep my Olympus C720 even after the inevitable upgrade to something new.
The only problems in this camera's nearly-4-year life with me, have been the beginnings of dead pixels (it's been 4 years, what do you expect), and occasionally, if the memory card is almost full, it will freeze trying to take a picture (again, 4 year old camera, what do you expect. If it freezes, and doesn't shut off with the power button, take batteries out and put back in to "reset" it. But the freezes are fairly rare.)
Drawbacks for today's user in 2006:
- If you're really looking for a perfect shot, using this camera, you will get in the habit of having to take the same picture 2 or 3 times to get the shot you're actually looking for in terms of exposure and focus. They will be slightly different each time. The Olympus C720 tries hard, but this will be inevitable. This is what made me want a camera with more manual control.
- 3 megapixels, today we expect more. Still, the pictures are smooth, and come out looking well in prints even to 8x10 inches in size and up.
- SmartMedia memory cards of its type are no longer made, you may have difficulty finding one.
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