C2000Z all round view (click for larger image)

The C2000Z is quite square "front on", the case is a combination of aluminium alloy (silver part) and plastic (black). I was a little disappointed that the hand grip wasn't rubber coated and so doesn't have that quality feel. The snub nose of the barrel protrudes a little when powered-off and the lens fully extends when the camera is powered-on (takes about 3.5 seconds) in record mode (see below). Other than that the ergonomics are good, it fits well into your hand and balances well, size and weight make the camera feel solid enough but still compact enough not to be imposing. Controls feel well made and (especially the main mode wheel) as though they'll last.

The C2000Z in-hand (click for larger image)

Here's a shot of the camera in hand which demonstrates a little better just how compact it is, controls carefully placed away from your hand and the nice bright LCD becomes the main framing device. The LCD protrudes slightly which means you'll be squashing your nose up against it if you plan on using the viewfinder (not recommended, it's tiny).

Nikon Coolpix 950 and Olympus C2000Z size comparison

Here's a size comparison with the Nikon Coolpix 950, as you can see the C2000Z is about 2/3rds the width of the 950, the hand grip is about the same size but the lens on the C2000Z protrudes another inch and a half after you've powered the camera up. Carrying the two cameras around the 950 is slim enough to fit close to your side on the shoulder strap, the C2000Z tends to hang awkwardly, I found myself using another camera's hand strap and handhold the C2000Z.

I wouldn't want to drop the either camera, although the 950 does feel as though it would come off better especially if the C2000Z lens was extended.

Tripod mountSome good news for users who want to mount the camera on a tripod, because the SmartMedia door is on the side of the camera you can easily mount the camera and change cards without removing it. The big flat base on the C2000Z also means that it fits well onto a tripod (and completely flat, something that Nikon could work on!).

However, just like the 950 and other digicams the tripod mount is NOT on the same axis as the lens which can be an advantage when shooting panoramas.

Rear LCD Display

The rear LCD on the C2000Z is bright and clear, raised from the rear surface of the camera and protected by a thick perspex cover.

The LCD is used for framing, reviewing and setup of the camera (menus), by default it's switched off, turned on and off by pressing the display button.

When in record mode the framing display is fairly clear of displayed details, when exiting the setup menu the latest configuration is briefly overlaid over the preview image.

Exposure information (shutter speed / aperture) are only displayed when you AF-lock the camera (half-press the shutter release button).

Top LCD Display

The Top LCD displays various types of information and can act as a replacement to the rear LCD for changing settings.

Only relevant information is displayed at any one time, in this case HQ record mode, no flash, 31 frames remaining.

This diagram shamelessly ripped from the (excellent if a little thick) included manual gives a better definition of information which can be displayed on the top LCD, when scrolling through settings in REC mode using the menu button the options flash on the top LCD enabling configuration without having the rear LCD turned on.

Optical Viewfinder

Viewfinder (click for larger image)

Fairly standard viewfinder with a small viewing portal, the two LEDs next to the viewfinder indicate (top) flash status and (bottom) green busy / ready / error indicator.

Dioptric adjustment is made by the notched wheel on the side which (thankfully) has a "Zero" mark notch on it.

This image represents the view through the viewfinder, the cross represents the center of frame and the cameras auto-focus field.