Olympus Camedia C-770

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Olympus Camedia C-770
The Olympus C-Series of digital cameras are aimed at what the camera company calls the "advanced amateurs", offering good image quality, a long zoom lens, and lots of features. The C-770 is no exception, in fact, this camera has a lot going for it. Read our Australian review.

The $899 Olympus C-770 boasts an impressive 10x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom, equivalent to 38-380mm on a 35mm camera, with an appeture range of f2.8-f8. We were pleased to see that shooting in macro mode is available, with the C-770 able to focus on objects at a distance of only 3cm -- a feature that should please photo enthusiasts.

The image resolution for this four megapixel CCD camera, ranges from 1024 x 768 pixels to a maximum resolution of 2288 x 1712 pixels. At maximum resolution the camera has three grades of picture quality: HQ, SHQ, and TIFF. Picture quality at this level is excellent, however the on-camera 16MB of storage severely limits how many photographs you can take, for example when shooting on HQ maximum resolution mode we found the camera could only store 18 images, and if shooting on TIFF maximum resolution mode, Olympus estimates the camera can only store one image, making the purchase of extra memory a must.

At 1.8 inches, the LCD colour panel compares well with other digital cameras, it may not be the largest screen around (see the DX7630's 2.2 inch screen) but the sharp display and excellent colour representation are hard to beat. If you prefer using the viewfinder, it has a diopter to adjust focus for your eyesight, which unfortunately was difficult to move, and there is a handy screen/viewfinder toggle button at the bottom right of the screen.

The C-770 has all the features you would expect on a camera of this price, and also a few more. It has 12 shooting modes, such as the familiar portrait, action, and landscape modes as well as appeture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes. It also has self portrait mode and the camera comes with a little remote control to operate the shutter. All 12 modes are quickly and easily accessed by turning the dial on top of the camera.

The camera also features sequential shooting and offers three different modes: HQ, HI, and AF. In HQ mode the camera boasts 24 frames at 1.6 frames a second. The speed can be increased in HI mode, offering five frames at 2.1 frames a second. In AF mode the camera will focus each sequential shot individually, but this will slow down the speed of frames per second. The C-770 has a powerful in-built flash that reaches up to 5.2 metres but it also comes with a hot-shoe for an external flash--a feature you won't see on too many consumer cameras.

Another good feature of the C-770 is the minimal lag--the camera has a fairly short processing time, even when using the flash. The C-770 also shoots video in MPEG format and the video quality is also excellent, taking a steady picture with no trouble rendering the image. Photographs and video are transferred to your PC via a USB cable, and the C-770 also has a DC-IN jack, and an A/V OUT jack. It runs on a lithium ion battery and battery life was excellent.

On the downside, the camera is fairly chunky at 104.5mm x 60.0mm x 68.5mm and a little on the heavy side at 300g (without battery and memory card) so it won't fit comfortably in a pocket.

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However, the Olympus C-770 gets high marks for ease of use. Navigating the camera is fairly easy with all the usual shortcut buttons for common tasks. Special mention goes to the zoom lever, which is integrated with the shutter release button so you can take photos and zoom in and out without having to look up from the screen or viewfinder, this a very handy feature that some other makers have overlooked.

The menu is also easy to use and you will be navigating it like a pro in no time. New users of digital cameras may need a few acronyms and some of the features explained in more details, but this will only take a quick look in the manual (which comes in printed booklet form - a rarity these days).

Picture quality of the C-770 is excellent and so is the colour representation. Images are sharp and the camera does a very good job of metering light, operating well in the shade and offering a choice of ESP, spot, or multi metering. The C-770 also operates well indoors without the use of a flash, still producing sharp images and accurate colour representation. The camera also had no trouble focusing, producing sharp images every time.

Overall we were impressed with the C-770. The easy menus, sharp display, and shortcut buttons and dials makes taking photos a breeze, and the 10x zoom is great. Extra bonuses include the printed manual and the C-770 also comes with a case. In this price range, the C-770 is one of the best to be found. As previously mentioned, a comparable camera to the Olympus C-770 is the Kodak DX760. At the same price, the Kodak has more megapixels and a bigger screen, however the usability and zoom aren't as impressive as the Olympus C-770 and it also doesn't come with a case or printed manual. Olympus provides a one year worldwide warranty on the C-770.

Olympus Camedia C-770 Ultra Zoom
Company: Olympus Australia
Price: AU$899
Phone: 1300 659 678

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