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Olympus Camedia C-3020 Zoom review: Olympus Camedia C-3020 Zoom

Olympus Camedia C-3020 Zoom

Matthew Klare
3 min read
Holding out for an affordable yet robust 3-megapixel digital camera? Try the 3.2-megapixel Camedia C-3020 Zoom, an update to the older C-3000 and an inexpensive alternative to the pricey, feature-laden 3.3-megapixel C-3040 Zoom that costs less yet boasts many of the more expensive model's features. If you want to use an external flash or a remote control or would like to connect your camera to a TV to show your pictures, spend another $100 for the C-3040. But if money is tight, the C-3020's flexibility and photographic tools make it a solid midrange camera. The C-3020 is sturdily constructed, with a boxy design, an ample grip, and a 3X zoom lens. Weighing 14 ounces with batteries and a SmartMedia card installed, it's comfortable to hold with one hand but isn't made to fit in your pocket. There's a mode dial on top of the camera, and a moderate number of buttons on the camera body provide access to frequently used controls such as flash, macro mode, spot metering, and exposure compensation.
The mode dial's wide range of exposure options includes a customizable My Mode and manual exposure.A programmable button next to the LCD gives you quick access to your frequently used feature of choice.

Other features are accessible through the LCD menu system; you can customize the top level to provide faster access to the features that you use the most. Olympus has also put a user-programmable button on the camera body to give you instant access to any single feature. Although we were pleased that the C-3020's optical viewfinder has a diopter to make shooting easier for those who wear glasses, we found it fairly tight. It shows quite a bit less than the full frame captured by the CCD. Previewing shots on the camera's ample and bright 1.8-inch LCD will yield more accurate framing. Like most other Camedia models, the C-3020 offers aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and manual-exposure modes in addition to fully automatic operation. Advanced shooters will appreciate the camera's My Mode feature, a slick option that saves your favorite combination of settings for quick retrieval via the mode dial.

The optical viewfinder includes an adjustable diopter.

Included accessories

The C-3020 offers many advanced controls that aren't commonly found on cameras in the same price range, including flash-exposure compensation, three slow-sync flash modes, spot automatic focus, spot-metered macro, and white-balance compensation. This digicam offers lots of features that will appeal to snapshot photographers and business users; among them are a panorama mode, black- and whiteboard modes for capturing text more clearly, and four scene modes.

You can record silent video clips with the C-3020, a burst mode captures 1.7 high-quality JPEGs per second, and another mode shoots at a slower rate but refocuses for each frame. We found the C-3020's shutter lag quite tolerable at a bit less than one second, and even in relatively low light, its multipattern automatic focus was fast, decisive, and generally accurate. Our only problems with this automatic focus came when trying to photograph a black cat in very low light, a near-impossible task anyway. We got about 70 shots and lots of time to play around with the settings and menus each time we charged our four rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride batteries. The camera can operate on two CR-V3 batteries as well.

In our tests, we got about 70 shots and lots of time to play around with the settings using four rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride batteries, but the camera accepts alkalines as well.

Input/output ports

The test images we shot with the C-3020 were generally of excellent quality, with good levels of detail in both shadow and highlight areas. Colors were true, and the camera's automatic and preset white-balance controls worked well. We noticed just a slight amount of barrel distortion when the lens was at its widest setting, but its focus was sharp, with only minor softness around the edges of the frame. Likewise, chromatic aberrations were minimal, and the camera's noise-reduction feature helped improve the quality of low-light shots.

The camera produces some minor chromatic aberration.


Olympus Camedia C-3020 Zoom

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 7Image quality 8