The Good

What can I say? The C-2000Z takes excellent photographs. Olympus aren't being forward about what kind of metering the default metering is in the C-2000Z, they call it "Digital ESP" (huh?) but whatever, it's not center weighted and acts and responds very similarly to that of Nikons Matrix metering.

Not only well exposed but sharp, detailed, naturally coloured and requiring little or no post-processing. It's truly one of the top consumer digital cameras (and even gives some of those Pro digitals a run for THEIR money). Time after time I was pleasantly surprised by images taken with this camera and printed several at 8" x 11" (on Epson Stylus Photo 750) with excellent results.

Artifacts / Errors

Yes, the C-2000Z has barrel distortion, about the same as other digicams in the price range but not enough to cause major problems.

Chromatic Aberrations

And yes it has the same (remarkably similar in fact... hmmm) chromatic aberrations on bright contrasts as the Coolpix 950. No more, no less but almost identical. Shows up as a magenta / blue halo around objects which contrast against over-saturated portions of the image as shown around the leaves in the example below: (cropped area blown up 200%)

Chromatic Abberation example

Focus problems

On a few occasions the camera took a shot which looked in focus on the LCD but getting the image back to the computer monitor showed that it was in fact out of focus, a strange error which I couldn't reproduce but did occur on a couple of images. The fact that the C-2000Z has no way of informing you of a good AF focus (the Coolpix 950 has a blinking LED if it can't lock focus).

Comparison with Coolpix 950

The shots below were taken within minutes of each other on a fixed tripod with automatic settings on both cameras and JPEG modes set to the lowest compression.

The C-2000Z can sometimes appear a little sharper than the 950 probably because it seems to have more in-camera sharpening (slight white halo around dark outlines) than the 950. The C-2000Z also produces more "contrasty" images.

From an image quality point of view there's just such very little between these two cameras it would really come down to features, preference of form factor, preference of storage type and possibly the C-2000Z's faster lens.

Olympus C-2000Z Nikon Coolpix 950

1/125s, F2.5, ISO100

C-2000Z, 200% crop:

1/56s, F3.5, ISO100

Coolpix 950, 200% crop:

Olympus C-2000Z Nikon Coolpix 950

1/80s, F2.5, ISO147

C-2000Z, 200% crop:

1/18s, F3.5, ISO80

Coolpix 950, 200% crop: