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Internal Flash

The actual flash system in the C-3030Z seems identical to that found in the C-2020Z, it has a rated range of: Wide: 0.8m (31") - 3.8m (12.5ft), Tele: 0.2m (8") - 3.8m (12.5ft).

Skin tone flash test. The C-3030Z produced lovely warm skin tones, it almost as though it knew it was taking a skin shot and warmed up the tones.. Unfortunately it's also warmed up the white on the wall... The flash in the C-3030Z has always been seen as pretty powerful but it's not quite strong enough to cope with the new wider angle at full wide (32mm).
Macro shot, fairly well lit, very well metered (difficult subject) very little ambient light. A nice example of high speed sync with the flash, in this case 1/800s freezing this water drop.
 

Colour test chart shot @ 10 degrees off horizontal (to decrease reflection). Fairly well metered, overall good colour balance.

 

The C-3030Z's flash seems pretty good, though it's under powered when it comes to taking shots at full wide angle (but then there aren't many digital camera internal flash system that can). Luckily Olympus blessed the C-3030Z with a flash sync connector which allows you to connect their FL-40 external flash unit (not yet reviewed):

FL-40 External Flash.
Comes supplied with hand-grip bracket.


Macro Mode

The C-3030Z has a macro mode which enables you to get within (according to the manual) 20cm (8"), however I found this doesn't give the best full frame coverage, decreasing zoom a little and getting closer to the subject you can get down to about 58.4mm (2.3") across the frame. There is of course only one camera with which to perform a macro comparison, this being the Nikon Coolpix 990.

In the sample below (same subject shot within minutes of each other), the smallest in-focus full frame coverage for the Olympus C-3030Z in Macro mode (I could produce) was 58.4mm (2.3"), the smallest in-focus full frame coverage for the Nikon Coolpix 990 in Macro mode (I could produce) was 20.3mm (0.8"). Thus the 990 can get about 2.8x closer than the C-3030Z for macros.


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Olympus C-3030Z Macro
Closest frame coverage: 58.4 mm (2.3")
 
Nikon Coolpix 990 Macro
Closest frame coverage: 20.3 mm (0.8")

NOTE: this review is not a C-3030Z vs. Coolpix 990 article, but for comparison purposes the Coolpix 990 serves as a useful benchmark (especially for macros).


Continuous / Movie Modes

The C-3030Z features two continuous shooting modes plus Movie mode. Under test conditions they equated to:

Continuous Mode Frame Size File Quality Approx. frames
per sec (LCD on)
Approx. frames
per sec (LCD off)
Max no. of frames
Sequence* 2048 x 1536 HQ 3.9 fps 3.9 fps 5
Sequence AF* 2048 x 1536 HQ 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Sequence ** 1024 x 768 SQ2 NORM 4.1 fps 4.1 fps 5
Sequence AF ** 1024 x 768 SQ2 NORM 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Sequence ** 640 x 480 SQ2 NORM 4.1 fps 4.1 fps 5
Sequence AF ** 640 x 480 SQ2 NORM 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Movie 320 x 240 MOV 15.0 fps n/a n/a

* Shot with HQ quality
** Shot with SQ2 NORMAL quality

The Conclusion here is that because the C-3030Z sizes the images after they've been shot reducing resolution and or quality doesn't affect the maximum number of frames or frame rate. For all sizes and qualities you'll get around 3.9 fps, however this also means that you can't shoot more than 5 shots in any one burst.


Panorama / AE Lock

The C-3030Z doesn't have a built-in AE Lock / Panorama mode. However when you use the supplied Olympus SM card a new feature becomes available on the menu which does allow you to shoot a sequence of panorama images (with the AE locked) from left to right and doesn't assist by displaying the edge of the last image or anything sophisticated like that.

AE lock freezes the aperture, shutter speed, sensitivity and white balance for a sequence of shots. The panorama below was shot using the Olympus Panorama mode and combined using PanaView Image Assembler.


Originally 3 images

 

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