The latest digicam in house for our review treatment is the Olympus C-3030Z. It's a production model (NTSC). Having only had the camera for a day it's a little early to draw any major conclusions suffice to say I really like it, feels more solid and complete than the C-2020Z and produces image quality which puts it right up there with the 990.

Thank goodness the weather here in London has been good to us today and I've had a chance to stretch the legs of the C-3030Z.

First Look

First impressions of the C-3030Z is solidity in a small package, the new casing is actually very nice (a few people commented that they didn't like the black colour but I think it really suits it), it feels like a real piece of quality in your hand. Controls feel as though they've been rebuilt from the C-2020Z and have a defintely better "click".

Olympus C-3030Z front & back (click for larger image)

Having lived with the 990 for the last three weeks the C-3030Z certainly feels smaller and lighter and that's actually quite nice, I'd really liked to have seen Olympus put a flip-out LCD on the C-3030Z (I've quite got used to using the 990 as a waist level camera), having said that the LCD on the C-3030Z has a very wide viewable angle.

One comment I will make at this stage is that the C-3030Z feels fast, very fast, power-up, focusing and recycle times are very good, even flipping through the menus is quick.

Some new features and things about the C-3030Z that stood out immediately where:

  • Slightly larger handgrip than the C-2020Z (fits in your hand more snuggly)
  • Much improved battery door (the one on the C-2020Z was fiddly at the best)
  • USB (hoorah!)
  • Wider angle lens (32mm - 96mm vs. 35mm - 105mm on C-2020Z) makes group shots easier
  • Slightly slower lens (F2.8 vs. F2.0 on C-2020Z)
  • Manual Focus magnified view (first seen on C-2020Z)
  • Fast!

That said I was kind of disappointed that Olympus hadn't taken this opportunity to furnish the C-3030Z with some more features, it's up against some tough competition at its price point and other digicams are showing an improved array of features...

All things being equal we should have the review up by next weekend (sleepless nights ahead for me ;)

Sample Images ("Snaps")

All images below were shot at ISO 100, HQ quality, there are half-sized (1024 x 768) and full-size originals (2048 x 1536) available below each image. Images are (c)2000 Phil Askey and may not be used without permission.

Half-Size 144KB
Original 641KB
1/650s, F5.6
Half-Size 187KB
Original 702KB
1/50s, F2.8
Half-Size 137KB
Original 666KB
1/650s, F6.3
Half-Size 106KB
Original 694KB
1/650s, F7.0
Half-Size 108KB
Original 669KB
1/125s, F2.8
Original 645KB
1/200s, F2.8