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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent image quality, great colours, high resolution
  • The ability to just point-and-shoot and at the same time quickly switch to manual functions
  • Plenty of pixels (2048 x 1536)
  • Portability - light, strong, fairly small
  • Huge range of shutter speed and apertures for manual mode
  • Lots of manual features including shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual modes
  • Neat Black Board & White Board modes (quick scanner anyone?)
  • Low AF Lag
  • Fast processing, little delay, very large internal buffer (29 images in a row!)
  • "Parallel processing" - ability to write out data and continue camera operation
  • Good construction, strong case
  • Little need for the "digital darkroom"
  • Control over flash output
  • Excellent supplied Infrared remote control (I just can't say how useful this is)
  • USB connectivity


Conclusion - Cons

  • Chromatic Aberrations visible at wide angles (bad)
  • Barrel distortion
  • Long power on times compared to the competition
  • Still a little red channel noise in blue skies
  • Low light / Long exposure noise
  • Flash still causes redeye
  • Plastic cover over LCD needs an anti-reflective coating
  • No exposure read-out on top LCD
  • Not enough White Balance control, no manual preset white balance
  • Not really a new camera, no major new features or functionality
  • Would have been nice to have a BULB shutter speed
  • Not convinced the switch to the 5-pin flash sync terminal is a good thing
  • TIFF still not the ideal choice for uncompressed (CCD RAW or 100% JPEG?)
  • Confusing resolution / quality combinations
  • Still no rechargeable batteries supplied with the camera... what will beginners do?


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus C-3030Z: (3 megapixel class)

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

Olympus take last years successful C-2020Z and upgrade it. With more pixels, several fixes and the new black case the C-3030Z is a worthy successor. Image quality is excellent, if occasionally marred by chromatic aberrations (don't we love em?). I was a little disappointed that Olympus didn't do more, they had the opportunity to get some added functionality in as well as just increasing resolution (I'm talking about what Nikon have done with the Coolpix 990)...

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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