Olympus C-7000 Zoom
At a Glance
Next to the massive cameras typical of its class, this sleek metal model looks positively petite. It's a mere 4 by 2.3 by 1.7 inches, and weighs in at only 7.1 ounces, less than half the weight of most advanced cameras.
The C-7000 earned top-notch scores in our image-quality tests, delivering accurate and pleasing photos with excellent exposure accuracy, fine colors, and exemplary sharpness. Despite its effective 7.1-megapixel resolution, the C-7000 achieved overall scores equal to those of the beefier, 8-megapixel Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom and the Nikon Coolpix 8800 and 8400.
The C-7000's attraction lies in its fusion of advanced functions, small size, and point-and-shoot ease. You can take point-and-click shots simply by pressing the two shiniest buttons. Adjusting the 5X optical zoom is easy, too: Use your right index finger to turn a wheel that surrounds the shutter button.
Other functions--such as automatic bracketing and the five scene modes (portrait, sports, outdoor, landscape portrait, and night)--require menu navigation. Fortunately, the menus are cleaner and easier to read than those of previous Olympus models. A short printed manual brings you up to speed on the basics; to decipher more-sophisticated features, consult the 194-page advanced manual included on CD.
The C-7000 can be a good teacher for aspiring photographers. Once comfortable with the point-and-shoot and scene modes, they can take advantage of the clear, well-organized documentation that extends to the PictBridge camera-to-printer process and the accompanying Camedia Master photo viewing software.
Experienced users will get such expected features as the ability to fine-tune shutter speed and aperture. The C-7000 also reprises a standout feature of the Olympus C-8080: the option to save user-generated My Mode settings. The in-camera red-eye correction feature lets you fix eye color on raw data right in the camera.
On the other hand, the C-7000 lacks two features that are nearly ubiquitous in advanced models: a flash shoe and the ability to accept optional converter lenses.
The 2-inch LCD looks great, but Olympus suggests turning it off to get more out of the rechargeable lithium ion battery. The C-7000's tested battery life of 2 hours and 7 minutes is the shortest of any advanced camera we've recently tested; other cameras with 2-inch LCDs lasted longer. In fact, the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-V3, which has a 2.5-inch LCD, milked nearly an hour more out its battery.
We liked the look and texture of the aluminum body, but the flimsy feel of the sliding battery-and-memory-card cover surprised us. One tester accidentally opened it while placing the camera in a bag; to the C-7000's credit, the battery and card stayed snugly in place, secured by devices other than the door. The included 32MB XD-Picture Card offers plenty of room for both experiments and successes.
The C-7000's price--$600 when tested--is sure to endear it to any photographer with an eye for a bargain.
The Olympus C-7000 Zoom packs plenty of features into its small frame--and its image quality ranks among the best.