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Olympus Camedia C-S060 Wide Zoom

With a wide array of options and excellent performance, what's not to like?
By Heinz Bulos

you`re shopping or a digital camera,
you`ll most likely check out the specs
irst. On paper, the Olympus
Camedia C-5060 is out to impress: 5.1
megapixels, 4x optical zoom, wide-angle
lens starting at 2.8.

And when you go through its list o
eatures and options, it is apparent
Olympus has thrown in eerything,
the kitchen sink. lrom ocus,
light metering, and exposure controls to
sensitiity, white balance, and lash, you
can tinker with the numerous choices
using automatic, manual, and preset
settings, to achiee the perect shot.

1his is deinitely or the serious
photography bu. 1hat`s not to say it`s
complicated to use. In act, the C-5060 is
one o the easiest cameras we`e used.
\ou can set it in Program mode and let
the camera adjust the settings or you and
come up with the right shot in most cases.
It might take some iguring out how to
use some o the controls, but ater a quick
once oer with the manual, you`re good to
go.

Len with the wide array o options, the
camera is not cluttered with buttons and
the menu is well-designed. One control
we really like is the jog control, which is a
dial you use along with the direct buttons
to naigate through options. lor instance,
to set the lash, instead o pressing the
lash button sequentially to pick your
setting, you press and hold it then roll the
jog control with your thumb. 1he color
LCD displays a irtual dial as you scroll
through the settings.

1he menu is also simpliied, with older
tabs o the our major menus: Camera,
Picture, Card and Setup. Lach menu
cascades to submenus using the arrow
keys. Most o the icons and labels are
amiliar. Anything puzzling is just a
manual away. 1he inormation displayed
during record or playback mode are
comprehensie yet do not clutter the
screen.

Speaking o LCD, the Camedia C5060`s
LCD is one o the best we`e seen. 1he
high-resolution color LCD is large enough
at 1.8 inches, and certainly bright ,you can
adjust the brightness leel as well,. But the
nity eature is that you can tilt, lip, and
swiel the multi-angle monitor round by
20 degrees, such that you can raise the
camera oer your head and iew the LCD
,in a crowd or instance,, bring it down at
waist leel ,or low-angle shots without
the need to stoop,, turn it acing you ,or
anity shots,, or turn it acing the camera
to coer it ,or protection,.

1he camera`s black magnesium body is
irm and sturdy. It grips ery well and it
does look more proessional than the
typical consumer camera. At 420 grams,
it`s not exactly lightweight-which is good
as it adds stability-but it`s not a burden
to carry when strapped oer your neck
either ,and that`s not exactly cool anyway,.

So ar, we`e just talked about eatures on
the surace leel. 1he proo, in this case, is
in the pictures. \e took a ariety o shots,
both indoors and outdoors. lor outdoors,
under natural light, it`s a no-brainer. 1he
C-5060 produced sharp, well-saturated,
and accurate photos. Under artiicial light,
the results are mixed. \ith suicient
indoor lighting, photos are excellent. But
in dimmer settings including yellow light,
particularly or close-up and zoomed-in
I
shots, the built-in lash produced
unsatisactory photos with unnatural
lighting and slightly distorted images.

1he C-5060 is an upgrade to the popular
C-5050 model, with Olympus adding the
multi-angle LCD iewinder and a 4x
wide-angle zoom lens. But C-5050 users
say the higher zoom lens is slower than
the C-5050`s 3x zoom. Larger zooms
mean smaller apertures ,,2.8 ersus
,1.8,, which in turn mean less light and
thereore more lash, which probably
explains the poor results we got under
dim lights.

On the upside, the wider angle lens ,5.-
22.9 mm equialent to 2-110 mm lens in
35 mm ormat, means the camera is great
or landscape photography. 1elephoto is
up to ,4.8. Combining the 4x optical
zoom with the 3.5x digital zoom, you can
zoom in up to 14x. I you want to get
really close, howeer, the C-5060 also
does a great job with a Super Macro mode
that lets you come close as 3 cm.

In terms o shooting perormance, the C-
5060 is quite ast. Startup time-rom the
time you turn the camera on to taking the
shot-is just about three seconds. Shutter
lag is a raction o a second. loweer, i
you try to lock the autoocus by pressing
the shutter button halway, the lens take
quite some time to adjust, particularly in
dim lighting, and you might end up
missing the right moment or producing a
blurred image, especially i your subject is
in perpetual motion ,like your toddler!,.
But i you just point and shoot ,or switch
to continuous sequence shooting, in
which case, you can take three shots per
second,, you can capture your easie
target.

Storage media is the newer, high-
perormance xD-Picture Card ,the
package comes with a measly 32MB card,
but the camera has slots or the more
common Compact llash 1ype I,II and
the higher-capacity and more expensie
Microdrie.

Images are saed in a ariety o ormats:
JPLG, 1Ill, RA\, Lxi 2.2 support,
Print Image Matching II support, and
DPOl support. \ith the 32MB card
included, you can take as many as 331
photos at the lowest image setting to 6
photos at the highest.

1he C-5060 uses a proprietary Li-on
battery, which did well on our tests. 1he
downside is that it takes six hours to
recharge it.

Oerall, the Olympus Camedia C-5060 is
a great buy or prosumers. 1here are a ew
minor laws here and there, but with the
combination o numerous eatures and
options, excellent image quality, and ease
o use, there`s much to rae about this
camera.

PROS: Sharp images, ast startup time
and shutter lag, ergonomic eatures,
intuitie menu, conenient jog dial, multi-
angle LCD screen, supports three media
types, long battery lie, wide array o
options.
CONS: Mixed results under dim lighting,
six hours to recharge battery.