Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution at moderate shutter speeds, noise affects resolution of longer exposures
  • Good color reproduction, tonal balance has tendency to be too contrasty
  • Low image noise with moderate shutter speeds, increases slower than 1/8 sec
  • Automatic white balance coped well in all light but was never exactly perfect
  • Manual exposure modes, but no manual white balance
  • Image parameters (Sharpness, Contrast), although limited adjustment
  • Spot metering
  • Auto focus worked well even in low light despite the lack of AF assist lamp
  • Shooting priority play mode (double press of quick view button)
  • Good night exposures with automatic noise reduction
  • Average flash performance, some blue cast on our skin tone test shot
  • Good build quality, front cover feels solid
  • Bright, high resolution LCD monitor with anti-reflective coating
  • Included Infrared remote control
  • Good battery life, relatively powerful Lithium-Ion battery included

Conclusion - Cons

  • Jagged diagonals / demosaic artifacts sometimes visible
  • Automatic white balance occasionally drifts (only subtle)
  • Too easy to power off the camera accidentally
  • Slow startup if you leave zoom in telephoto position
  • Slow image write times
  • Poor macro ability
  • Limited continuous shooting ability (just one frame per second)
  • No manual white balance
  • No manual focus
  • No histogram display in record review or play mode
  • Some purple fringing / chromatic aberrations, although not as bad as C-5050 Zoom

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus C-50 Zoom: (5 megapixel)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 7
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 8
Value for money 7

The C-50 Zoom is a capable five megapixel compact digital camera. It offers a fairly good combination of point and shoot easy of use with manual controls should you want to get more creative. Image quality was generally good with excellent resolution and an appealing color balance. A few niggles remained however, these included the demosaic / jagged diagonal artifacts we have seen on other Olympus digital cameras, a lack of manual white balance and a tendency for auto white balance to drift slightly. I also think that the camera is probably $100 to expensive for its feature set and quality.

Above Average

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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