Olympus Camedia C-2100 at a Glance

Maker: Olympus
Price: $999
URL: http://www.olympus america.com

Equipment Used: G4 400; Mac OS 9.0.4.

Overall Impression: This camera feels good and captures some beautiful images. It's a bit on the light side, and some features are not easy to access on the spot, being menu-based.

Key Benefits: The C-2100 is comfortable to hold. The 10x optical zoom is quite nice. Features are abundant. Battery life is excellent, and it ships with a battery charger. And, bottom line, the thing just takes nice pictures.

Disappointments: The color viewfinder is a bit difficult to focus with; black and white would have been much better. And I don't like push-button focusing.

Recommendation: Buy


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Olympus Camedia C-2100 Ultra Zoom

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For transfer, it includes a USB connection, which is pretty speedy. (I myself always use an external USB SmartMedia reader from SanDisk to spare my batteries from the taxing process of image transfer.)

Controls accessible through the onscreen display (visible on the 1.8" screen or the viewfinder to save batteries) include:

  • Image stabilization on/off;
  • Digital zoom on/off;
  • White balance;
  • ISO;
  • Flash brightness;
  • Slow flash on/of;
  • BKT;
  • Multimetering on/off;
  • Autofocus mode;
  • Full-time autofocus on/off;
  • Microphone on/off;
  • Playback;
  • Special effects settings (sepia, black and white, etc.);
  • Card setup options;
  • Mode setup;
  • Scene setup;
  • Capture mode.

All other functions are accessed through external buttons. Some can be found through the onscreen menu as well as external buttons.

So what do I not like about this camera? As I said, I'd like to be able to swap out lenses, though the standard lens is quite nice. My biggest complaint would have to be the manual focus. It's not particularly difficult to work with. It's just that traditional focus rings are better. My last complaint is the viewfinder. I like SLRs. But when the viewfinder is digital, it just better for it to be black and white to achieve sharper focus.

The specs
I'm not going to go too far into specifications. If you want them, you can find them at the Olympus Web site. But here's a rundown of some of its more important features.

Exposure control: Programmed auto exposure; Aperture priority; Shutter priority; S-Program mode with Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Scene; Custom set-up modes and Manual Exposure. 2 steps EV by 1/3 steps EV exposure compensation
  • Auto Bracketing: selectable from 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV and 1 EV; 3 or 5 images
  • Aperture priority: Wide - F2.8-11.0; Tele - 3.8-11.0, 1/3 EV steps
  • Shutter priority: Still image - 1/2-1/750 sec. (used with mechanical shutter); 1/3 EV steps; Program, S-Program, Aperture Priority 4 sec. to 1/750 sec.
  • Manual exposure: shutter speed 16-1/750 seconds
ISO: Auto, user selectable, 100, 200, 400 equivalent ISO
Focusing: iESP TTL or spot system autofocus (contrast detection system) with focusing illuminator aid. Focusing range: 24"/0.6m-infinity; Wide 78"/2m-infinity; Telephoto stepless Macro Focusing 4.3"/0.1m-24"/0.6m Wide/39"/1m-78"/2m Telephoto (iESP AF is off in rapid shooting mode);
Manual focus (manual focus setting by gauge) with focusing range: 4.3"/0.1m-infinity, Wide 39"/1m-infinity, 240 steps
Viewfinder: EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) SLR viewfinder (Full information/Mode AV, SV/Spot/CW/ESP/+/-/AF/Flash/Buffer); .55" Color LCD EVF
LCD monitor: 4.5 cm/1.8-inch wider angle color TFT LCD monitor with 113,500 pixels (made from low-temperature poly-silicon), brightness adjustment is possible
Flash modes: Built-in flash: Auto-flash (low- & backlight), Red-eye reducing flash, Off, Fill-in, Slow Synchro and Slow Synchro with Red-eye reducing flash modes; External terminal: Off, Auto, Forced activation; Slow Synchronization (First-Curtain Synchronization effect, Second-Curtain Synchronization effect); 5-pin TTL connector for FL-40 or PC sync, (Optional Bracket and cable needed)
Flash working range: Wide; approx. 24"/0.6m-18'/5.6m, telephoto; approximately 8"/0.2m-9'/2.8m (ISO 100)
Outer Connector: DC input terminal, Data input/output USB interface/RS-232C Serial Video Output terminal (NTSC), external flash terminal for FL-40 (not shoe type) or PC sync with optional cables and bracket

The bottom line
Emotionally, I'm sold on this camera. I like carrying it around. I like the pictures it takes. It's a very solid camera. I'd like to be able to swap out lenses; I'd like a shoe for hooking up my own external flash unit; and I'd like a focus ring on the lens, rather than buttons on the back of the camera. But the bottom line is that the pictures this camera takes are excellent.

For more information, visit http://www.olympusamerica.com.

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