White Balance

Of our eight megapixel group test the C-8080 Wide Zoom produced the second best automatic white balance performance after the Nikon Coolpix 8700. In natural and fluorescent light the camera delivered good white balance with no noticeable color cast, under incandescent light there is a visible pink cast. The C-8080 provides a wide range of white balance options including fine tuning of each WB preset so matching them to your regular light sources should be straightforward.

Outdoors, Auto Outdoors, Cloudy Outdoors, Manual
Incandescent, Auto Incandescent, Incandescent Incandescent, Manual
Fluorescent, Auto Fluorescent, Fluorescent 3 Fluorescent, Manual


Flash Performance

The C-8080's flash worked fairly well, while there's no visible color cast on our skin tone test the color is slightly shifted towards cyan, although it's not immediately obvious. As with a few other cameras we test the flash system under-metered the exposure because of its white background.

Skin tone - No color cast, slightly under exposed, natural skin tone Color patches - Good color balance, no color cast, slightly under exposed

Night exposures

The C-8080 has manually selectable dark frame subtraction noise reduction for long exposures. Our quick test showed virtually no visible 'hot pixel' noise even at the longest exposure of 15 seconds so you can (at least in cooler climates) get away without using the noise reduction setting. Overall results were good although there is some 'grain noise' visible even at ISO 50.

Manual exposure, ISO 50, 15 sec, F7.1
Manual exposure, ISO 50, 8 sec, F5.0

Macro Focus

The C-8080 has two macro modes; normal macro focus setting which allows you to use the full zoom range but focus closer than you would be normally able to. Secondly is super-macro mode which locks zoom to a position approximately equivalent to 92 mm and allows you to get an impressive 40 x 30 mm coverage at the expense of corner softness. The best 'close up' setting with least distortion is normal macro at telephoto which provides a frame coverage of 82 x 61 mm.

The macro tests below are using our new macro focus test chart and measurement system; each line on the grid is 10 mm, taken at shortest subject distance in each macro mode.

Wide angle - 201 x 151 mm coverage
16 px/mm (411 px/in)
Distortion: High
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm

Mid zoom - 107 x 80 mm coverage
30 px/mm (772 px/in)
Distortion: Low
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 81 mm

Telephoto - 82 x 61 mm coverage
40 px/mm (1009 px/in)
Distortion: Low
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 140 mm

Super Macro - 40 x 30 mm coverage
81 px/mm (2069 px/in)
Distortion: Average
Corner softness: High
Equiv. focal length: 92 mm

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The C-8080 produced less barrel distortion than we are used to seeing from a 28 mm equiv. zoom lens, although it did produce some pincushion distortion at telephoto which we weren't really expecting (this 5x lens being less adventurous than some other 7x lenses). Overall performance was good and it's unlikely that these levels of lens distortion would be visible in most everyday shots.

Barrel Distortion, 1.1% @ wide angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.6% @ telephoto

Vignetting / Lens Shading

Oh what a difference large diameter glass can make, the C-8080 delivering the least lens shading of any of our eight megapixel group test, these low figures would certainly not be visible in everyday shots. Even wide open (F2.4) at wide angle (28 mm equiv.) fall off is less than 15% which is very good. Kudos Olympus.

Our vignetting measurement is made by taking the average luminance value of the darkest corner of the image and comparing it to the average luminance at the center of the image, any difference greater than 15% may be visible in everyday shots.

Wide angle, F2.4 (wide open)
13% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Telephoto, F3.5 (wide open)
5% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Wide angle, F5.0
10% maximum fall off, bottom right corner
Telephoto, F5.0
2% maximum fall off, bottom right corner

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

As noted in our other eight megapixel reviews almost all cameras which use this 2/3" type eight megapixel CCD exhibit some amount of purple fringing. And while it was possible to force visible fringing from the C-8080 in on our standard test chart we struggled to find an everyday shot which demonstrated strong fringing, so overall the C-8080 seems to have purple fringing at least under control.

Image thumbnail 100% crop
28 mm equiv., F2.4
28 mm equiv., F4.0

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

Great lens which delivers good resolution to the sensor, mature image processing, good color balance and a very 'film like' tonal balance (including how the camera handles shadow and highlights) all amounts to a very good performance from the C-8080. In this case the lens really has made the camera, it's the most dominant part of the visual design but also the element which has the most influence on the quality of the images produced.

Thanks to smart noise reduction the C-8080 also keeps noise at higher sensitivities in check which means that it's also fairly flexible for shooting indoors and in lower light situations, something that not all eight megapixel digital cameras can achieve.

I had no major complaints about the C-8080's image quality and found no specific issues which needed further analysis.