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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent image quality, good 'neutral' colours
  • New lens is definetly sharper, slightly less chromatic aberrations, brighter (F1.8)
  • Cleaner images with noticeably less noise at ISO 100
  • Good quality build, good ergonimics, feels good in your hand
  • Huge array of manual features, excellent camera control and setup
  • Good manual focus implementation (zoomed frame + ruler)
  • New manual preset white balance and white balance fine tuning are welcome
  • Huge buffer ensures you're never waiting for the camera
  • Fast; low AF lag and shutter release lag times
  • Implementation of several "fixes" brought up in our C-3030Z review: manual preset white balance, separation of sharpness and contrast control, new lens
  • Supplied Infrared remote control
  • USB connectivity


Conclusion - Cons

  • Still some chromatic aberrations
  • Barrel distortion at full wide angle
  • Slow power-up times thanks to the lens
  • Still some red channel noise
  • Flash weak / underexposed at default power output
  • JPEG quality and image size should be seprately selectable
  • Some users will find the menu system confusing
  • LCD is too reflective (poor in bright sunlight)
  • Still not really a "new camera", a re-working of an old design
  • List price is $999, though you should be able to find it for around $800


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus C-3040Z: (3 megapixel compact)

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

New lens, improved electronics (or at least image processing algorithms), several 'fixes' from the C-3030Z but hardly a new camera. For me the C-3040Z is simply Olympus trying to get more life out of an aging design. Not that there's a huge amount wrong with that, it's a proven camera system which works well, there's plenty to like about the C-3040Z and its feature set puts many other digital cameras to shame. What, though, I think everyone was hoping for was something more than the C-3040Z brings... It fixes many of the C-3030Z's faults but doesn't seriously challenge the market with anything new. You should be able find the C-3040Z for around $800, at which price it does offer fairly good value for money (in this ever more competitive market segment).

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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