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Conclusion - Pros

  • Good image quality, neutral colour balance, good resolution for a 2 megapixel
  • Excellent 10 times optical zoom with optical stabilisation
  • Full set of manual controls with good range of aperture and shutter speeds
  • Good low light ability
  • Low AF and shutter release LAG
  • AF assist lamp (which actually works)
  • Good flash, no colour cast when using flash
  • Good buffering ability, no delay until next shot, display of buffer status
  • Ergonomics will be familiar to previous Olympus digital camera owners
  • Dual speed zoom control
  • Rubber hand grip
  • Infrared remote control included
  • Rechargeble batteries and charger included (in some countries)
  • USB


Conclusion - Cons

  • Slight chromatic aberrations and long zoom
  • Electronic viewfinder still no substitute for a true TTL optical viewfinder
  • Some barrel distortion at wide angle
  • Some visible noise at ISO 200 or above
  • No manual preset white balance
  • Weird sharpening options also affect image contrast (tone curve)
  • Over aggressive sharpening algorithm
  • Options like white balance and ISO should be accessible without going into the menu system
  • Plastic cover over LCD needs an anti-reflective coating
  • Essentially the same "engine" as the C-2020Z with a few new additions
  • Menu system can be confusing and frustrating
  • Proprietary flash synch port
  • Given 3 megapixels it would have been a real killer


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus C-2100UZ: (2 megapixel prosumer)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 8
Image quality 9
Lens / CCD combination 8
Ease of use 7
Value for money 8

If you need a long zoom and aren't bothered by the 2 megapixel sensor then the C-2100UZ is a very logical camera to have near (if not at the) top of your buying list. If you consider what you'd have to do to get 380mm of zoom out of any other digital camera or a digital SLR it's amazing to consider how compact and light the C-2100UZ really is, the lens works well, a hint of chromatics at long zooms is to be expected but on the whole doesn't detract. The image stabilisation works well and definitely gives you a stop or two over what you'd normally be able to handhold.

UPDATED 8/Jan/2001: Following my Pro90 IS review many people pointed out that the price of the C-2100UZ has dropped significantly since it's initial introduction, it can now be found for around US$900 (and even less) online which really does make it a bit of a bargain, therefore I've corrected my value for money rating and upgraded the C-2100UZ to a "Recommended'.

Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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