Olympus Camedia C-3040 Zoom
At a Glance
When you're shooting in bright sunlight, viewing the LCD screen of many digital cameras is a painful act of squinting and trying to shade the display. The C-3040's LCD seems brighter than most, and with its simple and easy-to-read text-based menu system, you can work in sunlight with little difficulty.
Some minor annoyances make this camera less of a pleasure to use. Forget to take the lens cap off when you turn on the camera, and you get a lot of grinding and beeping as the camera tries to extend the lens and then finally warns you there's a problem. Kodak's DC3400 handles this a bit better, with a tethered, soft rubber cap that pops off when the lens extends from the camera body. (A related problem with both cameras is that you cannot put the lens cap on while the camera is in shooting mode.) Our final quibble is with the zoom, which works noisily and slowly.
Setting the resolution is also frustrating: Whenever we turned the camera off (to save power) and then back on again, it would not save the high-resolution setting we wanted to use--it kept reverting to a lower resolution. We later discovered that we had to change one of the user-defined settings buried deep in the menus to make the higher resolution stick.
Power options abound in the C-3040. The camera comes with two long-life, disposable 3-volt lithium battery packs (CR-V3), but you can also insert four standard AA batteries, get optional NiMH rechargeable cells, or connect the camera to AC with an optional adapter.
Though navigating through the camera's menu system is relatively simple, a few functions drove us back to the user manual more than once. Figuring out the manual focus, for example, took careful reading, and even after we understood how it was supposed to work we found it cumbersome to use.
There is no shortage of extras with this camera, including a remote control for the shutter release, an automatic exposure lock, auto-bracketing, the ability to add audio notes to images, manual focus, sequence shooting, and preset white-balance options. And unlike the C-2040, this model offers both USB and serial connections; the C-2040 is limited to the former.