Conclusion - Pros

  • Good colour, good metering, good to average resolution
  • Good white balance even under artificial light
  • Compact size (especially considering 10x lens)
  • Large range of manual controls, aperture/shutter priority exposures and manual
  • White balance manual preset and fine tuning
  • Scene modes make it easy for the beginner to take creative shots
  • Probably the best feature/$ value on the market
  • Good design, looks good
  • Excellent battery life (with a good set of NiMH rechargeable's)
  • Fairly good macro ability
  • Very quick operation, good buffering and shot-to-shot times
  • Small LCD is bright and sharp
  • Re-programmable shortcut options and custom button
  • New menu system is an improvement over 'old Olympus style'
  • Nice shoulder strap
  • USB connectivity
  • Value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • Highly visible chromatic aberrations in sunny daylight shots
  • Moiré at line frequencies between 900 and 1300 lines per picture height
  • Visible barrel distortion at wide angle
  • No image stabilization
  • No AF assist lamp
  • Lots of "hot pixels" in long exposure shots
  • Flash doesn't have the power or the cover wide angle shots

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Olympus C-700UZ: (2 megapixel compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 9
Image quality 7
Lens / CCD combination 6
Ease of use 7
Value for money 8

The C-700UZ offers a lot for the money, a big 10x optical zoom, packed full of creative controls it offers the keen amateur a lot of options. Although its list price is US$700 it's already available for around the web at US$650. At that price you're paying about $150 - $200 more than some very capable (though less well equipped / feature filled) 3x optical zoom, 2 megapixel digital cameras. (Prices correct at time of writing review; mid May 2001).

If you can live without image stabilization at almost 400 mm equiv. (you'll need very steady hands or good light). If you can live with the chromatic aberrations / moiré, which raised its ugly head just too often for me, then you'll like the C-700UZ. This camera's biggest problem though must be its bigger but more capable brother the C-2100UZ which has now dropped to around U$750, for that you get a better 10x lens plus image stabilization and an AF assist lamp.

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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