Olympus Europe has this morning become the first Olympus website to publish information on the new C-5050 Zoom. This new prosumer level digital camera has a F1.8 - F2.6 3x optical zoom lens (35 - 105 mm equiv.), a tilting 1.8" LCD display and a 5 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor. The last detail being the most interesting, with a 5 megapixel 1/1.8" CCD around we're likely to see many more new 5 megapixel cameras hitting the market utilizing the same lenses seen in previous 3 and 4 megapixel digital cameras.

Phil: Can this be a good thing? I'm sure nobody was expecting CCD sensors to remain at the 1/1.8" size and still increase in pixel count. We know that logically as pixel sizes get smaller noise should increase, we also know that a four megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor is already demanding a lot of its lens. Olympus has been the first to announce a five megapixel camera based on the 1/1.8" sensor size, but I'm sure they won't be the last.

UPDATE: Just had an email from an industry insider who would like to remain anonymous who has commented that CCD technology continues to improve and that noise levels shouldn't increase significantly despite the smaller pixel size. The biggest challenge probably being the lens system.

Olympus C-5050 Zoom specifications

Sensor 1/1.8" 5.24 megapixel CCD sensor
Effective pixels 5.0 million
Image sizes  • 2560 x 1920
 • 2288 x 1712
 • 2048 x 1536
 • 1600 x 1200
 • 1280 x 960
 • 1024 x 768
 • 640 x 480
Image format RAW
Image ratio  • 4:3
 • 3:2 (2560 x 1696)
Lens  • 3x optical zoom
 • 35 - 105 mm equiv. (7.1 - 21.3 mm native)
 • F1.8 - F2.6
 • 10 lenses in 7 groups (2 aspherical)
Digital zoom Smooth up to 3.3x
Focusing TTL iESP AF
Focus range  • Normal: 80 cm - Infinity (2.6 ft - Infinity)
 • Macro: 20 cm - 80 cm (7.9 in - 2.6 ft)
 • Super Macro: 3 cm - ?? (1.2 in - ??)

 • Auto (ISO 100 - 200)
 • ISO 100
 • ISO 200
 • ISO 400

Metering  • Digital ESP
 • Spot metering
 • Multi-spot metering
AE Lock Yes
Histogram in record mode Yes
Shooting modes  • Programmed auto exposure
 • Aperture priority
 • Shutter priority
 • Manual exposure
 • Scene program (Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Sport, Landscape Portrait)
 • Movie clip (Motion JPEG)
Shutter speeds  • Programmed auto: 4 - 1/2000 sec
 • Shutter priority: 4 - 1/1000 sec (1/3 EV steps)
Aperture  • Programmed auto: F1.8 - F8.0
 • Aperture priority: F1.8 - F8.0 (1/3 EV steps)
Auto bracketing  • 1/3, 2/3, 1.0 EV steps
 • Up to 5 images
Image processing  • TruePic
 • Noise reduction
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor  • 1.8" LCD
 • 114,000 pixels
 • LCD can be tilted 20 degrees down or 90 degrees up
Flash  • Built-in, fixed
 • Auto, Red-eye reduction, Off, On, Slow Sync (front / rear)
 • Range: wide 0.8 - 5.6 m, tele 0.2 - 3.8 m
 • External hot-shoe (Olympus FL-40)
Continuous shooting  • (Low speed) 1.7 fps JPEG HQ mode, up to 11 frames
 • (High speed) 3.3 fps JPEG HQ mode, up to 4 frames
Movie clip  • QuickTime Motion JPEG
 • HQ: 320 x 240, 15 fps, max 96 secs
 • SQ: 160 x 120, 15 fps, max 424 secs
Special shooting features  • 2 in 1 / crop and merge
 • Sepia, black & white, blackboard, white board
 • Panorama mode
Playback  • Single image
 • Magnified
 • Thumbnail (4, 9 or 16 images)
 • Rotate
 • Histogram
 • Slide-show
 • Voice clip
Playback image editting  • Resize
 • Crop
Playback movie editting  • Cut
 • Index
Self-timer 12 secs
Connectivity  • DC-In
 • USB
 • Audio / video
 • External flash hot-shoe
Power  • 4 x AA NiMH batteries
or • 2 x Lithium batteries (CR-V3)
Dimensions 115 x 70 x 80 mm (4.5 x 2.7 x 3.2 in)
Weight (no batt) 380 g (13.4 oz)

Olympus Europe C-5050 Zoom features:

Professional camera in the compact zoom class

With the CAMEDIA C-5050ZOOM, Olympus introduces a new professional standard within the compact digital camera class. As well as an exceptionally bright, high-quality 3x zoom optical system and 5 megapixel resolution, this model includes a full complement of many other high-end features. Complete manual control over aperture, shutter speed and focus is available to ensure photographers encounter virtually no bounds in terms of flexibility. Sophisticated exposure options plus the integrated high-power flash and hot shoe connector team with a histogram function to make certain photos are perfectly exposed. What's more, the camera's tilting LCD monitor means that users can capture shots at awkward angels. With this high-performance model's additional diverse automatic functions, the astonishingly affordable C-5050ZOOM is also suited for taking spontaneous snapshots.

Equipped with a 5 million pixel CCD and an ultra-bright f1.8-f2.6, 3x zoom lens, the Olympus CAMEDIA C-5050ZOOM delivers superbly detailed image results to convince even the most critical photographers.

Digital ESP (Electro Selective Pattern), spot and multi-spot light metering are available to regulate exposure and the histogram function can be used to check the brightness distribution during shooting. In addition to its powerful built-in flash with numerous modes including first and second curtain synchronisation, the C-5050ZOOM also incorporates a hot shoe for connecting an external flash unit (such as the FL-40), and works with slave strobe lights.

The versatility of manually adjustable aperture settings and shutter speed will be appreciated by serious photographers, as will the manual focus. Sharpness control can of course also be left to the camera's automatic TTL iESP (intelligent Electro Selective Pattern) contrast detection focusing system.

White balance is able to be fine-tuned via nine pre-set options including four fluorescent settings, and may also be regulated manually or automatically with the TTL iESP II system. Five pre-set scene program modes, such as sport, landscape and portrait, provide users with settings that reflect the typically optimal photographic parameters for a range of common situations.

Incorporating a very powerful new image processing engine, two impressive continuous shooting speeds are attainable: either 11 images at 1.7 frames per second, or 4 shots at a fast 3.3 frames per second.

An ergonomic design and intuitively located controls further enhance this model. Besides the optical real-image viewfinder, professional photo-graphers will find the tilting LCD monitor located on the rear of the camera particularly helpful when shooting from difficult angles.

This model is compatible with the new digital image storage standard xD-Picture Card (ships with a 32 MB card), as well as SmartMedia, Compact Flash and Microdrive (1GB).

Main features

  • 5.0 million pixels for image processing
  • 5,260,000 pixel 1/1.8 inch CCD
  • 3x optical zoom, equivalent to 35 - 105 mm
  • 3.3x digital zoom
  • Ultra-bright zoom lens f1.8 - f2.6
  • Tilting LCD monitor - 114,000 pixels, 1,8" display
  • ESP (Electro Selective Pattern) light metering
  • Adjustable aperture and shutter speed
  • Versatile automatic & manual functions for exposure, focus, white balance
  • Auto bracketing function
  • QuickTime Motion JPEG
  • Compatible with xD-Picture Card, SmartMedia, Compact Flash and Microdrive (1GB)
  • USB AutoConnect
  • Audio / Video interface