Olympus C-2500L Review
Manual focus on the C-2500L is executed by pressing the FOCUS button on the top of the camera until you reach the manual focus mode, then use the cursor pad on the rear to scroll through the available focus points: 0.3m, 0.35m, 0.4m, 0.5m, 0.6m, 0.8m, 1.0m, 1.2m, 1.5m, 2.0m, 2.5m, 3.5m, 5.0m, 8.0m, 15.0m, infinity. Not the biggest range of manual focus points, still it's more than the Coolpix 950... To be honest if you're buying a camera which claims to be a digital SLR you'd expect a better range of manual features, what we'd all liked to have seen on the C-2500L would be a manual focus ring on the lens barrel, a larger range of apertures and a proper viewfinder. Enough of my whining.. Below are two images manually focused.
|Focused on front bottle.
||Focused on rear bottle.
The C-2500L also has a "Quick Focus" mode, to activate it simply hold down the OK button whilst half-pressing the shutter release, your previously programmed focus point (set in the record menu) will be activated for that shot. Useful for instant infinity focus or fast action (bad AF focus) subjects.
Remote Control (RM-1)
The C-2500L (as with the C-2000Z) also features a small remote control which can be used to control the camera from a distance (note, this is supplied in the US and European models, optional in Japan).
This is very useful for taking the perfect shot, especially in macro or low-light situations where the slightest shake of the camera could cause very slight pixel blur (or worse).
To use the remote simply switch the camera into self-timer/remote mode (through the menu system) and you can now zoom in and out and take shots (by pressing the large shutter release button on the remote). Note: the remote has to be lined up to the front of the camera.
The remote can also be used to step through images for playback, useful for showing your photographs as "slides" on a large TV.
Manual Preset White balance
Setting the white balance manually may be important if the camera is tricked by the lighting or if colour accuracy is very important. The C-2500L handles manual white balance fairly elegantly (although not as well as the Sony F505 or D770), just go into the record menu choose the manual whitebalance icon, aim the camera at something white or gray and hit OK.. the camera will measure the white balance of that object and base any shots (under manual white balance) on that measurement. Below is an example of the difference between AUTO white balance and manually presetting white balance.
|AUTO white balance.
||Manual white balance set from wall behind.
Olympus feature a new "Super Macro" mode (indicated by an S- prefix in front of the macro icon when switching between focus modes), this mode allows you to focus from 0.02m (2cm) to 0.3m (30cm) at Wide angle. The main problem with the Super Macro mode on the C-2500L is that it only achieves it's closest coverage at Wide angle which exhibits some barrel distortion. To see just how good the C-2500L's Super Macro is I put it up against the reigning Macro champion the Nikon Coolpix 950.
||Nikon Coolpix 950|
I think the results speak for themselves, the Super Macro mode on the C-2500L is a big improvement over the Macro found on the C-2000Z but (a) it's still no match for the amazing macro on the Coolpix 950 and (b) it exhibits a lot of barrel distortion because it's "sweet spot" is near the Wide end (where as on the 950 it's at about 70mm), oh and (c) you have to get the lens so close to the subject that you normally cast a shadow (as seen on this example).
To clear a few questions up over this comparison, the Nikon Coolpix 950's Macro mode beats the C-2500L's Super-Macro mode all hands down, the C-2500L's Macro mode is nothing more than ability to focus closer than normal focus mode, it gives no advantage over Super-Macro. The aim of the comparison above was to cover the smallest area possible with the full width of the frame.
The C-2500L features two levels of sharpening, SOFT and NORMAL. I did most of my shooting in NORMAL mode, in SOFT mode the camera seems to noticeably soften the image, not just turn of sharpening. This could be useful for portrait shots or for photographing images which would otherwise produce alot of noise. The two crops below are taken from the same scene shot first in SOFT sharpening and then in NORMAL sharpening. (White balance was manually preset). WARNING: These images were shot in JPEG SHQ, the originals are about 1.8MB.
|SOFT sharpening mode.
||NORMAL sharpening mode.