The C-3040Z shares its styling with the C-303Z, the same black "mottle effect" magnesium alloy case, same control layout and weight balance. The only visible external difference is the new lens, it extends about the same amount as the old lens (actually, just a fraction less). This body design is almost identical too the camera that started this line of Olympus "prosumer" models, the C-2000Z / C-2020Z. The matt finished body gives it a professional look and feel, strong yet light, well balanced.
Not a huge difference is there? Actually the C-3030Z / C-3040Z are very slightly deeper with the use of that nice magnesium alloy where the C-2000Z had plastic, they also have a more pronounced hand grip and improved battery compartment.
In your hand the C-3040Z feels well balanced, the hand grip shaped to fit the curve of your fingers, the shutter release and zoom controller sitting nicely under your forefinger.
Status LCD (Control Panel)
The top status LCD (Control Panel) is identical to that found on the C-3030Z (and similar to that on the C-2020Z), no additional information has appeared in the "30 to 40" upgrade, as I mentioned in my C-3030Z review I'd like to have seen exposure information on here (shutter / aperture speed).
Below a diagram of information displayed on this LCD:
Main LCD Display
Again, another disappointing "compact camera" optical viewfinder, the view is cramped and suffers from parallax and other optical distortions, if you use corrective glasses then you'll be glad to see there is a dioptre adjustment. The view through the viewfinder has no indication of parallax error at close focus distances, just a cross to indicate the center of the frame (unfortunately this means that photos taken at close distances will end up with the top of the image chopped off). The viewfinder shows only about 84% of the full frame on a normal range shot.
The two lights which run down the right edge of the viewfinder indicate the following:
|Green & Orange Blinking||Flash Charging|
|Green Steady||AF: focus lock, ready to shoot|
|Green Blinking||AF: Unable to focus lock|
|Orange Steady||Flash charged and will fire|
|Orange Blinking||Slow exposure, blur likely due to camera shake|
The C-3040Z's battery compartment takes up the whole center of the hand grip, with the "improved" compartment door it's easy to open and close and relatively well built. Note that the C-3040Z can take either 4 x AA batteries (I'd recommend some decent NiMH rechargeable's) or two of the proprietary CR-V3 lithium (non-rechargeable) batteries.
The storage compartment (SmartMedia) can be found on the rear right of the camera in the hand-grip, behind the plastic compartment door you'll find a standard push-type SmartMedia slot (push to eject) which will accept SmartMedia cards from 4 to 128 MB in size. (Note: the C-3040Z comes with a 16 MB card, not a 32 MB as pictured here).