Review The C-370 is about as easy to use as a digital camera can be without taking the shots for you. Its very basic specification makes this is an ideal camera for technophobes. Priced at a remarkable - for a three megapixel camera, anyway - £120 this camera looks almost too good to be true, writes Doug Harman.
Special menus explain what each of the camera's four scene modes do, each selected using a small dial positioned to fall nicely under the right thumb. The scene modes on offer are portrait, self-portrait, night scene and landscape. You also get a fun movie mode offering 320 x 240 movies with sound and recording to the limit of the xD Picture card storage. Exposure control is run through an accomplished Program Auto exposure mode that provides true point-and-shoot ease of use.
PictBridge support allows shots to printed off directly from any compatible printers without the need to transfer pictures to a PC first.
The 3x zoom lens has an unremarkable 38-114mm focal range, but it's more than adequate for this camera's typical user and has a respectably fast F2.9 maximum aperture. The C-370's stand-out feature has to be its great 2cm macro mode. It works well and provides stunning, frame-filling close-up capability.
However, there are a couple of problems. The most irritating is the lack of a custom set-up feature that allows you to set the camera for repeated use within the same mode; it always 'resets' back to the default settings. This means you have to repeatedly set the camera up again, each time you turn it on - even the quality setting isn't retained.
Picture quality is reasonable at best, with a fair amount of noise though, particularly in the blue channel, and the camera's processing algorithm seems unable to deal with it.
However, it's not all bad news. The largest print size likely to be printed from a camera such as this is never likely going to be bigger than the 6 x 4in area and at that size, noise problems are not intrusive allowing for nice looking prints.
A combination of ease of use, simple specification, nice handling and a super price make this camera good value for its target audience. Problems with image quality probably won't become an issue considering the price and sheer pocketability of the C-370.
|Olympus Camedia C-370 Zoom|
|Pros||Size and simplicity, plus ease of use combined with a great price for a three-megapixel camera.|
|Cons||Image noise and the lack of custom setting modes.|
|More info||The Olympus site|
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