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Taking pictures

Once you've worked out the C-2000Z's menu system it's a fairly nice camera to use. I was always happy with the fast cycle times, fast focus and general responsiveness of the camera. The LCD was easily viewable even in bright light circumstances (and is at least adjustable from the SETUP menu). I limited myself by not having enough storage, only having two 16MB and one 8MB SM card at my disposal meant running out of space and doing the one thing I hate, deleting images in the field. I hate deleting perfectly good images in the field because you simply can't tell how good or bad an image is on the tiny LCD on digicams.

Jo (my fiancee) and I went shooting, she had a prerelease Kodak DC280 with a 48MB card and I had the C-2000Z with the assorted SM cards, while she was happily shooting away I was worrying about storage and going back to delete images which I really would have liked to keep. I won't add more fuel to the CF vs. SM argument and I could have helped myself by having a couple of 32MB SM cards (hard to get hold of). One other note, the supplied Olympus 8MB SM card produced errors on 3 of the images on it.. Not what I'd call reliable, the other two 16MB SM cards were fine.

My few gripes:

  • Zoom is too fast, sometimes difficult to get the exact "crop" you're looking for
  • Jog dial was too easy to push left or right when pushing down (screwing up menu settings)
  • It's a pain to have to go into the menu system to choose macro, change flash mode etc., these should be function buttons on the body of the camera
  • ALL settings should be stored after power-off (or optional as they are on the Coolpix 950)
  • LCD should be optionally on or off on power-up (should be a menu option)
  • What no AE lock? (Auto WB and AF lock would also be good)

Suggestions:

  • With all that flexibility why not add a fully manual mode as well?
  • Change the jog dial for four separate buttons
  • Add function buttons on the body of the camera (focus mode, flash mode etc.)

Timings

Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. In record mode the "live preview" image comes back about a second after the review image is displayed, you can take a shot almost immediately after this (around 1.5 seconds recycle time) for up to 10 images (filling the internal memory buffer). Timings below are time to take-and-store the image (that is when the green light on the viewfinder stops flashing - an indicator of card activity).

Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 1600 x 1200 JPEG image @ HQ compression.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes

OFF to RECORD (P, A or S)

3.2 Time is taken mostly be lens extension
OFF to PLAY 2.4  
RECORD to OFF 3.2 Time to retract lens
A-REC / M-REC to PLAY 2.4  
PLAY to A-REC / M-REC <1.0 Instant if lens is extended.
PLAY: Image to Image 3.3  
PLAY: Image to Image (TIFF) 33.0  
PLAY: Thumbnail view 2.0  
PLAY: Zoom-in <1.0 Almost instant
Auto Focus LAG 1.2  
Shutter Release LAG 0.2  
Store 1600 x 1200 SHQ (TIFF) 33.0  
Store 1600 x 1200 SHQ 7.0  
Store 1600 x 1200 HQ 5.8  
Store 1024 x 768 SQ 4.0  
Store 640 x 480 SQ 3.2  

File sizes

Notes: All file sizes as an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary wildly depending on the content of the image (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect. The reported JPEG compression ratios for the various JPEG image modes are: SHQ (1:4), HQ (1:8), SQ (1:8 / 1:16) - lower resolution.

The estimated number of images per 8MB SM card is give as a guide to beginners (as an 8MB SM card is supplied with the camera). It is always recommended that you get a larger SM card (the C2000Z supports up to 32MB SM cards).

Image resolution / mode

Compression
Ratio

File Size (KB) No. images per 8MB SM card
1600 x 1200 SHQ TIFF 1:1 5,633KB 1
1600 x 1200 SHQ JPEG 1:4 850KB 7
1600 x 1200 HQ 1:8 480KB 15
1024 x 768 SQ 1:8 170KB 38
640 x 480 SQ 1:16 60KB 122

Battery life

Battery life is a very variable thing, and as most digicam users will know using ordinary alkaline batteries such as the 4 AA's supplied with a digicam won't last you long enough to fill up your 8MB SM card. This is of course true of the C2000Z, fortunately I have several sets of GP 1300mAh NiMH rechargables.

Using these I managed to get around three 16MB SM cards full of images over a couple of hours using the LCD all the time before getting a battery warning (around 120 images).

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