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OLYMPUS - 'CAMEDIA' C-100 digital camera .
Why this one ?
Our Residents Association has gone from strength to strength , and with an Awards for all Wales Lottery Grant available for IT equipment amongst other things , we decided to purchase a new PC system , c/w priter , scanner and digital camera .
Being in charge , I checked out the various local retailers to see what was on offer in the camera range . Boy oh boy are there lots to choose from ! The most common and preferred sale for all salesmen were the Kodak range . Ok they had their benefits , esp. the docking station , but I found them a little bulky and quite heavy .
What did catch my eye was the C-100 from Olympus , which was of similar proportions and weight to a standard 35mm point and click camera . The average price for this was £145.00 , and with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels was on a par with the rest , yet a good £35.00 lower than the nearest equivilents .
And a little about appearance.....
As I said previously , styled on a 35mm camera , this is a sleek looking silver piece of gear . On the front you have the shutter which acts as the on/off switch , and when in the open position shows the viewfinder and 4,5mm 1:4 lens . Immediately to the right of the shuuter is a small red LED which is put to use when using the flash feature. To the upper right corner is the built in flash.
On the top of the camera you have just the shutter button .
At the back you find the view finder , 2.5cm * 2.cm monitor screen , and a total of 6 push buttons for various functions that wil be detailed later on.
When looking from the rear , the left hand side of the camera has a rubber cover that protects a USB port and DC adaptor socket . The right hand side has a flip cover that protects a smart card socket , and a hook for a strap .
The underside provides a standard tripod screw fixing and the battery compartment.
As for size , without going into exact measurement details , lets just say it fits into the palm of my hand ( not much use to you though ! ) . Without batteries , the camera weighs in at just 190 g ( 0.4lb ).
What you get - basics......
Ok , so I've bought the camera and unpacked it and what do I get . . . the camera , 1 * USB cable , 4 * alcaline batteries , 1 * strap , 1 * accessories booklet , 1 * guarantee , 1 * multi-language instruction manual and finally 1 * software disk .
Now the software is suitable only for Win 3.x/95/98 , and limited in ME/NT. However since most windows applications are plug and play compatible , and this is no exception , then use of the software is limited and can be omitted . I myself do not use the software supplied , Win. XP easily recognises the camera and is easy to access your photo's .
Additionally the camera comes complete with 1 meg of built in memory .
This camera is able to take pictures in four qualities , namely SHQ , HQ , SQ1 , SQ2 . At SQ2 the quality is easily acceptable for mass photography for reproduction in home made news letters etc. SHQ is publicity quality . Quality is selected from the the menu , and is simplicity in itself once you learn the basics of digital photography.
To give you a clue as to photo quality , with the built in memory , you can store :
With this in mind I recommend purchasing a smartmedia card . These come in various sizes from 8 meg up to 128 meg. I personally opted for a 32meg card which cost an additional £29.00 , which pushed my storage capabilities to : 51 (SHQ) , 99 (HQ) , 132 (SQ1) and 221 (SQ2) . Obviously mixing qualities of stored images will adjust the amount of storage available.
This camera has date and time facility , which can be toggled easily on and off , dependant on your photo requirements .
As well as standard photographs , the camera can also take sequential photographs using the inbuilt timer function , and also moving images . the latter will however require the optional smartmedia cards as these are ram hungry .
Taking photographs / moving images can be made via the view finder or with the use of the LED screen , which is activated by the press of a button . NOTE however that the use of the LED does wear out batteries very quickly ( in two weeks I have gone through 4 set of duracell batteries ) .
The flash is fully automatic , but can be programmed via the menu for special conditions .
Zoom is via standard formats as well as digital zoom that is available at 1.6 * , 2 * , 3.2 * and 4 * current settings , again easily accessable when taking your photographs .
For those of a professional standard , you also have exposure compensation, white balance and a spot metering mode.
Viewing your masterpieces....
To view your masterpieces and to access the majority of menu driven settings , you need your shutter closed . This done , a press of a single button , and on comes you LED , complete with last image taken ( or beginning of movie if motion capture used ) . Using the buttons , you can now view your stored images . Pressing certain buttons will then allow access to the main menu , form which you can afjust these images or for matter delete them . It really is very easy.
Transferring to PC...
Dead simple , just connect the USB lead from camera to PC . Your Pc will recognise the camera as a removable hard disk and allocate a drive letter to it , which can be accessed as any normal drive . It is then simply a matter of copying all or selected files to you PC hard drive , from which you can use your chosen software to adjust / print or whatever . Nothing could be simpler . As for the software supplied , can't say as Win XP was sufficient to access my photographs .
ANOTHER NOTE - when finished copying , remove the USB lead , or your batteries will drain , alternatively use the optional PSU adaptor .
A great lttle camera , let down only by the excessive demand on batteries . If only Olympus could include an adaptor in the initial package , or at least provide a decent warning about power consumption. The manual supplied is well thought out and simple to follow . As with any item of this type , practice makes perfect . I'm not a profesional , but have got to grips with the essentials very quickly , as has my wife . Well worth a close inspection .