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White Balance

Of our eight megapixel group test the C-8080 Wide Zoom produced the second best automatic white balance performance after the Nikon Coolpix 8700. In natural and fluorescent light the camera delivered good white balance with no noticeable color cast, under incandescent light there is a visible pink cast. The C-8080 provides a wide range of white balance options including fine tuning of each WB preset so matching them to your regular light sources should be straightforward.

Outdoors, Auto Outdoors, Cloudy Outdoors, Manual
Incandescent, Auto Incandescent, Incandescent Incandescent, Manual
Fluorescent, Auto Fluorescent, Fluorescent 3 Fluorescent, Manual


Flash Performance

The C-8080's flash worked fairly well, while there's no visible color cast on our skin tone test the color is slightly shifted towards cyan, although it's not immediately obvious. As with a few other cameras we test the flash system under-metered the exposure because of its white background.

Skin tone - No color cast, slightly under exposed, natural skin tone Color patches - Good color balance, no color cast, slightly under exposed

Night exposures

The C-8080 has manually selectable dark frame subtraction noise reduction for long exposures. Our quick test showed virtually no visible 'hot pixel' noise even at the longest exposure of 15 seconds so you can (at least in cooler climates) get away without using the noise reduction setting. Overall results were good although there is some 'grain noise' visible even at ISO 50.

Manual exposure, ISO 50, 15 sec, F7.1
Manual exposure, ISO 50, 8 sec, F5.0

Macro Focus

The C-8080 has two macro modes; normal macro focus setting which allows you to use the full zoom range but focus closer than you would be normally able to. Secondly is super-macro mode which locks zoom to a position approximately equivalent to 92 mm and allows you to get an impressive 40 x 30 mm coverage at the expense of corner softness. The best 'close up' setting with least distortion is normal macro at telephoto which provides a frame coverage of 82 x 61 mm.

The macro tests below are using our new macro focus test chart and measurement system; each line on the grid is 10 mm, taken at shortest subject distance in each macro mode.

Wide angle - 201 x 151 mm coverage
16 px/mm (411 px/in)
Distortion: High
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm

Mid zoom - 107 x 80 mm coverage
30 px/mm (772 px/in)
Distortion: Low
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 81 mm

Telephoto - 82 x 61 mm coverage
40 px/mm (1009 px/in)
Distortion: Low
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 140 mm

Super Macro - 40 x 30 mm coverage
81 px/mm (2069 px/in)
Distortion: Average
Corner softness: High
Equiv. focal length: 92 mm

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The C-8080 produced less barrel distortion than we are used to seeing from a 28 mm equiv. zoom lens, although it did produce some pincushion distortion at telephoto which we weren't really expecting (this 5x lens being less adventurous than some other 7x lenses). Overall performance was good and it's unlikely that these levels of lens distortion would be visible in most everyday shots.

Barrel Distortion, 1.1% @ wide angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.6% @ telephoto

Vignetting / Lens Shading

Oh what a difference large diameter glass can make, the C-8080 delivering the least lens shading of any of our eight megapixel group test, these low figures would certainly not be visible in everyday shots. Even wide open (F2.4) at wide angle (28 mm equiv.) fall off is less than 15% which is very good. Kudos Olympus.

Our vignetting measurement is made by taking the average luminance value of the darkest corner of the image and comparing it to the average luminance at the center of the image, any difference greater than 15% may be visible in everyday shots.

Wide angle, F2.4 (wide open)
13% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Telephoto, F3.5 (wide open)
5% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Wide angle, F5.0
10% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Telephoto, F5.0
2% maximum fall off, bottom right corner

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

As noted in our other eight megapixel reviews almost all cameras which use this 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD exhibit some amount of purple fringing. And while it was possible to force visible fringing from the C-8080 in on our standard test chart we struggled to find an everyday shot which demonstrated strong fringing, so overall the C-8080 seems to have purple fringing at least under control.

Image thumbnail 100% crop
28 mm equiv., F2.4
28 mm equiv., F4.0

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

Great lens which delivers good resolution to the sensor, mature image processing, good color balance and a very 'film like' tonal balance (including how the camera handles shadow and highlights) all amounts to a very good performance from the C-8080. In this case the lens really has made the camera, it's the most dominant part of the visual design but also the element which has the most influence on the quality of the images produced.

Thanks to smart noise reduction the C-8080 also keeps noise at higher sensitivities in check which means that it's also fairly flexible for shooting indoors and in lower light situations, something that not all eight megapixel digital cameras can achieve.

I had no major complaints about the C-8080's image quality and found no specific issues which needed further analysis.

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Total comments: 8

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;)


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

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.

1 upvote
Total comments: 8