Olympus C-500 Zoom
- High-quality images, very fast data writing, close-up macro function
- Awkward design, some blurring at the base of images
This camera would serve most people's needs, but is not exceptional. We would only really recommend it if you do a lot of macro photography.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
To get noticed in the digital camera market, you really have to do something to stand out from the pack. Unfortunately, the Olympus C-500 doesn't manage this. It's competent but not great.
Shaped like an old film camera, it's bulky considering its features, and would be uncomfortable to hold for those used to other digital models. The thumbwheel is in a slightly strange position and is awkward to access. We also noticed the battery slot was unnecessarily difficult to close; a minor problem, but irritating nonetheless.
The camera offers a mediocre continuous shot function (which maxes out at a mere five shots) and a reasonable attempt at manual control, giving you power over aperture and shuttle speed. Combine this with 17 pre-programmed shot types and you have a strong set of features that outdoes many competing models.
The best thing about this camera is the quality of the shots. The C-500 takes some very pretty photos. It captured detail and colour particularly well. The only problem we noticed during our testing was that there was a tendency towards a little blurriness at the base of the picture.
The camera also exhibited lightning-fast recovery speed, with a lag as short as one second between taking shots. This compares extremely well with some other models in this category, which may require as long as three or four seconds before you can take another shot.
The other thing worth noting about the Olympus was its macro function. Macro is a function used to take pictures of things at extremely close range. Typically cameras that come equipped with a macro function can operate from somewhere between 5 and 10cm as a minimum distance. The C-500, on the other hand, can go as close as 2cm. It's handy if you're going to be doing lots of close-up work.
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