Olympus C-7070 Wide Zoom

The obvious selling point of the 7070 is the widescreen lens, which shoots from 27mm through to 110mm, making it one of the widest lenses on the market. Look beyond that however, and you'll find a solid camera with a few niggling problems that stop it from being great.

The first thing you notice upon pulling it out of the box is, it is solid as a rock. Built from magnesium alloy and with a minimum of plastic, it is large, heavy and feels completely sturdy. It is good to hold, with a comfortable grip that sits well in the hand. Just don't try to put it in your pocket.

Rather than a standard mounted or rotating LCD, the 7070 has a flippable, reversed screen which can be turned to face the direction of the photographer. It is mounted in the body of the camera, and flips upwards to line up with the hot shoe (upon which a separate flash can be placed). The screen is beautiful, despite being a standard 1.8", it has approximately 130,000 pixels and shows images crisply, clearly and without much ghosting.

Its out of the box components are fairly ordinary, offering the standard PC and printer connections, along with a 32 megabyte xD picture card. The camera supports both xD and compact flash cards, which is great in helping someone make the transition from an older model.

The camera offers a full range of customisable features, particularly an auto focus option that follows a moving target. It has 12 preset shooting modes available, the most notable being two underwater modes, to accommodate the PT-O27 waterproof case that is available for the model.

Images came out nicely on the fine setting, at 3072X2048. The did have a tendency to look a little washed out, but a little fine tuning of the exposure and saturation levels would easily fix that.

One irritating thing that is consistent amongst Olympus models is their hesitance to include a full paper manual, and this model is no exception. You receive a summary manual in the box, and must open a .PDF file to view the rest. The rest of the software bundled with the camera is quite good however. We particularly liked the panorama function, which allows you to stitch together up to ten photos to form a single shot.

Overall: A very sturdy camera with some nice functions which make it particularly suitable for outdoors photographers

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