Last year, megapixel digital cameras were the rage. Now it's time for two-megapixel cameras: models that produce images with 2 million pixels or more. The new Camedia C-2000 Zoom, the first two-megapixel camera from Olympus, is a point-and-shoot model that captures images at up to 1,600 by 1,200 pixels. It makes great images but falls a little short of its main competitor, the Nikon Coolpix 950 ( ; " Digital Cameras Develop," September 1999).
Described by Olympus as a "filmless digital camera," the C-2000 Zoom looks and handles like a traditional film camera. It's small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, although it might make for an unsightly bulge under a suit jacket.
We looked at images captured under a variety of lighting conditions: daylight, on-board electronic flash, and tungsten lighting in a studio environment. With all three, images came out clear and sharp, with good color fidelity. However, the on-board flash tends to produce red-eye in shots of people unless you use the camera's red-eye-reduction feature.
The camera's controls are all within the range of the right thumb and index finger, making them easy to reach. It provides a 3 x optical zoom and lets you automatically or manually select an ISO rating of 100, 200, or 400. There's a manual viewfinder, which is nice, because the LCD is a true battery pig. (The optional NiMH batteries and recharger should be considered a must.) However, the center point of the viewfinder lens is 1.5 inches from the center point of the picture-taking lens, which can cause parallax problems when shooting subjects up close.
The camera saves images by using JPEG compression, but it also lets you save uncompressed TIFF images for maximum image quality. Like other Olympus cameras, the C-2000 Zoom uses 3.3v SmartMedia cards for storage, supporting all capacities, up to the hard-to-find 32MB cards. The camera ships with an 8MB card, but you'll need higher capacity if you want to save files in the uncompressed TIFF format. Because the TIFF files approach 6MB apiece, you can get only one image on an 8MB card. The card holds about 7 images in the highest-quality JPEG mode and 15 images in the medium-quality mode.
Overall, the Camedia C-2000 Zoom continues the Olympus tradition of good-quality digital cameras. Like many other digital cameras, it's a memory hog, and it lacks the single-lens-reflex capability of the Olympus D620L. But it captures great-looking images at high resolution and is reasonably priced. However, we still give the nod to Nikon's Coolpix 950, which offers a slightly wider color gamut and a viewfinder that's set closer to the picture-taking lens, reducing parallax problems.
RATING: PROS: Good-looking images; high resolution. CONS: Viewfinder prone to parallax problems; flash tends to produce red-eye. COMPANY: Olympus America (516/844-5000, http://www.olympus.com ). COMPANY'S ESTIMATED PRICE: $999.
October 1999 page: 48