Olympus C-2500L (Click for larger image)

The Olympus C-2500L certainly turned a few heads when it was announced. Quite a few I'd imagine from their competitors. Olympus have always broken the mould, look at their range of traditional film cameras and you'll see cameras that are far from the ordinary, yet are well received by consumers. Think outside the box.

The original digital SLR was the Olympus D-600L, updated later as the D-620L (AKA. C-1400XL). The only digital SLR on the market it featured a true TTL (through the lens) viewfinder view and excellent image quality, a combination which ensured good sales and a cult-like following.

The C-2500L then as the direct replacement for the D-620L has big boots to fill.. Since the D-620L huge improvements in resolution, features and image quality mean that Olympus had to do something really special to unseat those cameras which have positioned themselves at the top of peoples shopping list.

So, how have they done? An answer I'm hoping to explore in this review. On the surface it's an interesting camera, looking more like a traditional camera than most digital's its looks will appeal to those "prosumer" upgraders. The big barrel houses a 3x zoom lens, behind which sits Olympus's "one-up" over the rest a 2/3" (big) 2.5 megapixel CCD which offers 1712 x 1368 resolution. Although this is only 112 pixels horizontally more than the run-of-the-mill 2.11 megapixel digicams it does mean an increase of 21% in pixel "area".

(Click for larger image)Features wise it's rich too, plenty of control over camera settings, manual aperture (yet only two!) and shutter speed, manual focus, dual storage options (SmartMedia AND CompactFlash) AND a flash hot-shoe. Certainly a camera which appeals to the top-end of the prosumer digicam market.

What's interested me the most is the number of people asking me to compare the C-2500L to the Nikon D1. Something I'll not do, for several reasons. First of all the C-2500L is in a completely different price bracket. Secondly the D1 is a true digital SLR with interchangeable lenses based on Nikon's award winning 35mm SLR cameras. Thirdly the D1 is a professional camera, Olympus make no claims that the C-2500L is aimed at the professional market (journalists, professional photographers etc.) The D1 is in a different class, altogether, in image quality, features, control, build and so many other areas. You have to decide exactly WHAT you're looking for in a camera but don't try to compare the C-2500L and the D1.