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Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution
  • Low noise, low noise reduction
  • Above average automatic white balance
  • Very-fast startup, let down by off to first shot time
  • Good build quality, compact size
  • Five times optical zoom, good telephoto reach
  • Good range of image parameter adjustment (+/-5)
  • Good 2.0" fast refresh LCD monitor
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Handy 'direct histogram' mode indicates over/under-exposure
  • Customizable controls
  • In-camera red-eye fix in play mode

Conclusion - Cons

  • Some purple fringing
  • Somewhat disappointing battery life
  • USB 1.1 transfer (slow)
  • Very slow playback browsing
  • Card formatting takes a long time
  • Tendency for AF to hunt at telephoto / low light

Overall conclusion

The C-7000 is so unlike C-xxxx cameras of old it's almost worth Olympus using a new notation to distinguish it. It's considerably smaller and lighter, much thinner and yet no lighter on features. Despite its compact proportions it's probably the most comfortable of the compact seven megapixel digital cameras thanks to its stubby rubber front grip.

Two things stand out when you first use the C-7000; that super-quick extending lens which pops out of the camera body in under a second, and the excellent fast refresh (low response time) which is so quick it's like looking at a projection from the lens, there's almost no perceptible lag between your movement of the camera and the image on the LCD.

The C-7000's quick off to LCD on time is somewhat spoiled by an extra second or more delay before you can actually trigger the camera to take a picture. It's a little odd because in those instances when you need to capture the moment you think the camera's ready after power on only to find you may need to hold the shutter release a little longer than expected.

Auto focus proved to be quick in good light but more variable in low light or at full telephoto, that's probably the price you pay for a five times optical zoom lens (as the Pentax 750Z had the same reaction), shot to shot times were also respectable being a bit quicker than the Canon G6. A criticism on the usability side? Probably battery life which was quite a bit shorter than we had hoped, most buyers would have to think about a second battery.

Image quality was on the whole good, although we did see some purple fringing and got quite a strong reaction from the camera to our standard test shot. On the whole however the C-7000 did quite well, didn't over-process its images or spoil them with intrusive noise reduction algorithms.

Highly Recommended
Detail
Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 8
Image quality 8.5
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 8
Value for money 7.5

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