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Design

As noted in our introduction the C-7000 has a fairly unique look among Olympus cameras, while it certainly shares some family DNA it's not the 'drop in upgrade' which we're so used to seeing these days. The body itself has a fairly slim long and narrow appearance with a nice soft rubber hand grip and nicely sculpted rear. The camera itself is constructed from two pieces of magnesium alloy (front and rear) with a plastic wrap-around central section. The flat portion which surrounds the LCD monitor has a nice brushed appearance. For me the only thing which spoils the styling of the camera is the raked section to the left and right of the viewfinder (a trick used to make the camera look thinner) which leaves the viewfinder 'sticking out' on its own.

Side by side

Below you can see the complete line up of $700 seven megapixel digital cameras available now (at the end of 2004). All of these cameras feature a 1/1.8" seven megapixel CCD sensor, have four times or better zoom lenses and manual control features. There's a clear split between the Casio, Pentax and Olympus and the larger Sony and Canon. The C-7000 and Pentax 750Z are the two lightest cameras here and have very similar volumes.

Camera
Dimensions
Volume (approx.)
Body weight
(inc. batt & card)
Casio Exilim EX-P700 98 x 68 x 45 mm (3.8 x 2.7 x 1.8 in) 299 cm³ 261 g (9.2 oz)
Pentax Optio 750Z 100 x 62 x 42 mm (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.7 in) 260 cm³ 254 g (9.0 oz)
Olympus C-7000 Z 102 x 59 x 43 mm (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.7 in) 258 cm³ 254 g (9.0 oz)
Sony DSC-V3 120 x 63 x 72 mm (4.7 x 2.5 x 2.8 in) 415 cm³ 401 g (14.1 oz)
Canon PowerShot G6 105 x 73 x 73 mm (4.1 x 2.9 x 2.9 in) 432 cm³ 465 g (16.4 oz)

In your hand

As you may have guessed from my comments above I found the C-7000 to be perfectly comfortable in use and rubber front grip to provide a good hold despite its size. The sculpted molding at the rear fits your thumb nicely and all controls are within reach (apart from the manual flash release button). I'm not a huge fan of press-on-off power buttons which are located beside the shutter release, they too often lead to novice users accidentally powering the camera off precisely the wrong moment.

LCD Monitor

The C-7000 features a very nice 2.0" 206,000 pixel LCD monitor which is both large, bright and detailed. Indeed out of the five seven megapixel digital cameras we're reviewing together it has the largest and highest resolution of the lot. Noteworthy is that this is also one of the newer fast refresh LCD's which means you get a real time view with virtually no lag or smear. Downsides? No anti-reflective coating.

Viewfinder

Once more another 'optical tunnel' type of viewfinder found on almost all compact digital cameras. Looking through the eyepiece you do get a center-of-frame / AF bracket mark but no parallax correction lines. The viewfinder has no dioptre adjustment. The two lights beside the viewfinder indicate auto focus status, camera startup / writing and flash charging.

Battery & Storage Compartment

The C-7000 has a combined battery and xD-Picture Card compartment located in the base of the camera. The battery used is the LI-12B Lithium-Ion rechargeable which provides 1230 mAh at 3.7 V (4.5 Wh), it's held in place by a small clip so the battery won't drop out when you open the door. The door opening has a slightly unusual hinge mechanism, you slide the door to the left and it then opens downwards.

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