PMA 2004: Olympus today moved its prosumer 'stake in the ground' onto eight megapixel soil with the new C-8080 Wide Zoom. This camera is curvier and more 'design concious' (in my opinion) than any previous prosumer level Olympus. It has a large five times optical zoom lens coupled to that 2/3" Type eight megapixel sensor. The other thing immediately noticeable about the C-8080 Wide Zoom is its speed, taking under a second to startup with the lens at wide angle.

Phil: We've had an 'almost production' C-8080 Wide Zoom for a little time now and have been able to produce a hands-on preview of the camera as well as a small samples gallery. A full review will follow after PMA.

Click here for our hands-on preview of the C-8080 Wide Zoom
(full specifications, more pictures, menus, samples)

Press Release:

The 8th wonder: the 8 Megapixel Olympus C-8080 WIDE ZOOM

Olympus is delighted to introduce the 8 megapixel C-8080 WIDE ZOOM digital camera. The C-8080 WZ delivers an outstanding performance and confidently measures up to a digital SLR in its class. Packed with features and offering a wide angle, 5x zoom lens, sunshine LCD technology and a short shutter release lag time, the C-8080 WZ is capable of even the most demanding of creative photography. Housed in a black, robust magnesium alloy body, the C-8080 WIDE ZOOM is due for release in April 2004, RRP £899.99 [inc VAT]. For stockist information call free phone 0800 072 0070 or visit

The C-8080 WZ is equipped with a 5x, f2.4-3.5 zoom lens to draw the maximum performance from the camera’s 8 megapixel CCD. The high quality optics include 14 high quality lenses arranged in five groups and two aspherical lenses to reduce distortion. In addition, three ED elements help minimise chromatic aberration, an effect that often occurs when shooting in telephoto setting. The focal length extends from 7.1 to 35.6mm, equivalent 28mm to 140mm on a 35mm camera.

The C-8080 WZ features an electronic viewfinder to guarantee precise framing of a shot. It boasts a resolution of 240,000 pixels, an image refresh rates of 60fps and a delay of a mere 50ms. Furthermore, it displays all activated settings so that the photographer doesn’t need to take their eye from a subject when shooting.

In addition to a release time lag of just 0.3 sec, rapid data processing also dictates very fast exposure rates. For example, 1.6 frames (each with 8 million pixels) can be shot per second in the sequence shooting and auto bracketing settings in any JPEG mode.

Despite the rapid development and optimisation of digital cameras in recent years, when it comes to LCD monitors, there remains one frustrating problem - in bright light, it’s often impossible to see the picture on the monitor. The C-8080 WZ boasts a new sunshine LCD to put an end to this. Even under dazzling spotlights or in the summer sun, it displays bright, clear images, to allow the photographer to frame and check their shots accurately. The monitor can also be tilted down 20 degrees or up to 90 degrees to provide a clear view of a subject when shooting from a difficult perspective.

The C-8080 WZ holds its own against many digital SLR models when it comes to precision metering technology too. Alongside highly accurate light and white balance metering systems, the C-8080 WZ features a dual AF system. A TTL contrast detection system is combined with an additional passive metering system, which uses a second sensor to calculate the phase difference and thus the subject’s distance. The camera then fine-tunes the readings for optimum sharpness. The user can select a range of focusing options: iESP, spot autofocus (the metering spot can be placed in 13 different positions in the frame), full time AF and, of course, manual focus.

Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Full Manual modes provide full creative scope to achieve the image required. To capture moving pictures, the C-8080 WIDE ZOOM offers a movie recording option with sound. The sequence’s duration is limited only by the memory card’s capacity. Both xD-Picture cards or CompactFlash cards may be used with the C-8080 WZ and thanks to an USB 2.0 AutoConnect interface, all results can be downloaded quickly and easily to a PC.

The C-8080 WZ is also compatible with a wide range of CAMEDIA system accessories and has a bayonet mount system to allow the quick and effortless addition of tele and wide angle lens converters. A hot shoe connection allows the use of high performance external flash units for professional lighting effects.

This C-8080 WZ is packaged with the CAMEDIA Master 4.2 software. Perfect for optimising, editing and managing digital files, this updated version of the software allows RAW format images to be converted according to the user’s requirements. This offers ambitious photographers the opportunity to “develop” shots using the optimal PC settings.

The C-8080 WIDE ZOOM – main features

  • 8.0 mega pixels
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • 5x optical zoom (equiv. 28 – 140mm on 35mm camera), f2.4-3.5
  • Very short shutter release time lag of 0.3 sec. and extremely fast startup time
  • Sunshine LCD monitor (may be tilted down 20 and up 90 degrees)
  • High speed sequence shooting: 1.6 frames per second (except TIFF)
  • Auto bracketing: up to 5 images (except TIFF)
  • Electronic viewfinder with 240,000 pixels
  • Programme, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Full Manual modes
  • Numerous focusing control options: iESP, spot (manual positioning of metering spot in frame), full time AF, manual focus
  • Dual AF system
  • Hot shoe
  • Movie recording function with sound
  • USB 2.0
  • A variety of newly-developed accessories are available, including a direct filter mount and bayonet mount conversion lens system
  • CAMEDIA Master 4.2 software

Click here for our hands-on preview of the C-8080 Wide Zoom
(full specifications, more pictures, menus, samples)