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Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Review

April 2004 | By Phil Askey

Review based on a production C-8080 Wide Zoom

On September 29th 2003 Olympus announced the five megapixel C-5060 Wide Zoom, as the name implies that camera was a step up from the C-5050 Zoom in no small measure because of its wide angle zoom lens. And now on the opening day of PMA 2004 Olympus raises the stakes higher, with their first eight megapixel prosumer level digital camera, the C-8080 Wide Zoom.

But the differences between the C-5060 WZ and the C-8080 WZ are even more significant, Olympus hasn't just reused an old body and lens and bolted in the new Sony 2/3" eight megapixel CCD, instead they have completely redesigned the body and approached the most important part of any digital camera, the lens, with an eye to quality. Indeed when I asked Olympus about the new lens they stated that it was as of the same quality as the Zuiko lenses made for the E System (the E-1 digital SLR), and to support that it's made in the same factory.

The C-8080's lens provides an equivalent 28 to 140 mm equiv. 5x optical zoom with a maximum aperture of F2.4 at wide angle (28 mm equiv.) and F3.5 at telephoto (140 mm equiv.) The lens is made up of 15 elements in 13 groups, 2 of which are aspherical and 3 ED.

Startup, sub-one second

One other item of big news with this camera is speed, despite having a telescoping lens system we have timed startup as just 0.9 seconds if the lens was left at wide angle at power off and around 1.9 seconds if at telephoto. That makes the C-8080 Wide Zoom startup faster than the Sony DSC-F828 (at least if started up at wide angle).

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

This article is Copyright 1998 - 2015 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Total comments: 15
marc petzold

Attention C8080 Owners - does someone know where to get a new faux leather for the handgrip? My "8080" is like new, works like a charm, everything perfect, -78 Firmware for ages installed - but the faux leather onto the handgrip got broken within the years, and i'd really love to put a new one onto it, so it looks like new whileas doing fine pictures anyway in 2015.

The cold al-mg body grip is slippery and also not so good looking without that leather attached over the grip.


I have mine already for ten years. And still, when I go traveling abroad, I leave my Nikon D7000 with all the best lenses for it at home without any regrets and take my lightweight C8080 with me. With all the shortcomings of the C8080, it is still a great camera which delivers great sharp pictures with very nice collars. And like somebody here already have mentioned, it's macro is very good.
Besides, my credo is: Don't zoom to much, but move yourself more. For me, taking pictures means walking around and looking first. How to press the shutter-release-knob you can teach any monkey.

1 upvote
marc petzold

+1. No D7000, 5D or alikes in harsh weather conditions.
C8080 is still going strong, looks like mint still, works very reliable. Just be sure to have the "latest" 757-78 Firmware Update installed.

AF Hunts less in lowlight, 16GB CF Cards no problem, and i think a bit less noise than -74 and other Firmware. IQ from ISO 50, 64 is superb. Hence into 2015 great IQ, for Stills photography way good, way long RAW saving times, but alright, still photography is no rush either way...especially on a Tripod. :-)

IQ from this great 5x Zoom is sharper than the 20D with 50/1.4 lens, as the DPR Review said - that's a benchmark, even for early 2004, this cam is almost 12 years old and going way strong.


My father bought this great professional camera at US a few years ago.It was an excellent choise and this camera gave us a lot of family memories!However he is old now and not interested in taking professinal photos anymore.It's really pitty for this camera to stay unuseless, so i'd like to sell it to someone who need a camera for a professional resultThere's already someone who is intersted in buying it but i think that this camera deserves more careful research!Contact me for more information.Thank you.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting

Bought mine new at Sam's for $400. Build quality amazing and the camera with original battery still taking nice low ISO shots today.

LOL, get really tired of "loose lens comments" over the years;)

marc petzold

yes, the lens tube shakes a bit inside the barrel, but who cares?
It's exactly the same with the Nikon AF-S DX 18-70 lens, but both take great pictures from IQ.

Set it on ISO 50, 64...Tripod, shoot RAW...process with your favorite RAW Converter and be amazed what IQ this baby still delivers into late 2015, almost 12 years after being released! :-)
That lens really delivers the goods, for a Zoom, it's way sharp, even more if you'd think it's 2004 tech.


Recently picked a mint one up for peanuts out of curiosity, so glad I did, it takes superb jpegs and the colour is as accurate as any I've seen on any camera. I'll definitely use it occasionally, ergonomically it's also very nice, fits my hand like a glove and it's built like a tank. Still a camera worth using IMHO.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting

I loved this line of camera! I remember when the Olympus C-xxxx line and the Nikon E-xxx line went mano a mano to rule the compact camera world! I still have my C-7070 and my E-990 which I consider to be the two best (and their full supply of converters), they dont make compact cameras as great as these anymore- with direct live histograms and pixel mapping! The C-7070 super macros even surpassed those of the C-8080 and we all know how great the E-990 (and C-7070) was with macros and digiscoping! Who needs a superzoom camera when one of these can be directly attached to a telescope eyepiece with no vignetting and full use of the zoom of the camera!

Tord S Eriksson

The C-8080 was my first 'serious' digital camera (had a Konica KD-500Z before that), which I bought when I got a small inheritance (UW house, flash, the works).

A superb compact, with excellent one-hand operation (most buttons within reach with your right hand still holding the camera).

Mine is still in working order, still takes lovely macros, and flash shots, but its flaws were plenty as well (a few samples):

It crashed on the third day of my vacation to the US and Canada with my wife, and had to be sent overseas to get new firmware installed (nowadays we are allowed to do such things ourselves)!

It is still lousy in any kind of back-lighting (I use to call the effect 'lilac rivers', as both the EVF, and the LCD became totally useless, due to floods of lilac color flowing over them) but the prints were not affected, bar a lot of flare problems).

Its powered zoom, that had four steps (wide, less wide, normal, and full telephoto), and nothing in between. Nice macro, though. Cont

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
Tord S Eriksson

The inner camera lens barrel is very wobbly, but it doesn't seem to affect the image quality one bit!

Slow, really slow, in every way. Slow update of the EVF, slow saves (about two RAWs per minute, maximum)!
But the majority of reviewers loved it, and I know pros that got one, to complement their Hasselblads, and stuff.

So, till this day, no more C-x0x0 cameras released by Olympus. The camera never earned the company the massive amount they had invested in it, and almost killed Olympus. Happily, the C-7070 was still in production, and earned the company its keep (at least the camera department).

Then came the bold move into m43 (MFT), and another crisis, requiring help from Sony (a lot of money!).

Tord S Eriksson

The maximum useable ISO is 140!

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
marc petzold

...and it's best at ISO 50/64, ISO 100 also quite well.

1 upvote

One of my favorite cameras ever and I use it to this day. It is built like a tank. Slow by today's standards, it was way ahead of its time with a ⅔ sensor.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting

Yes absolutely right, for me too, have it since amazing 8 years and still really good pictures coming out.

Tord S Eriksson

I use mine as well, although not as often as I used to do! Daylight (not backlighting!), and flash works very well, indeed!

Total comments: 15