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Olympus Camedia C-180 D-435 - Digital Camera Quick Review
Review Date: 20/07/05
Rating: Average
Buy now: £119 | $149

Introduction: The Olympus Camedia C-180 / D-435, is available from £119 | $149 - and is a compact 5 megapixel digital camera, with no optical zoom lens and a 1.5" TFT screen. The camera is enclosed in a compact silver plastic body. The Olympus optical lens is equivelant to 36.7mm lens in 35mm format. It records unlimited 320x240 / 30fps videos without sound. The camera's size is: 101.5 (W) x 51.5 (H) x 34.5 (D)mm, and the camera weighs 120g (without batteries).

Olympus have this to say about the camera:

"If you want to shoot high quality pictures but need a camera that is extremely easy to operate and that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than the C-180. This camera packs 5.1 million pixels, seven scene programmes, a quality autofocus lens, advanced TruePic Turbo image processor, and a movie function into its very compact design."

You can find more information on their website.

The Camera: It's very compact and made out of shiney silver plastic.
(Photos of the camera taken with a Panasonic Lumix FZ3)

Front - Camera off - plastic lens cover.

Front - Camera on, lens cover open, flash, led, on/off switch.

Back - 1.5" TFT, photo button, play button, menu, delete, 4-way controller, ok button, zoom control, mode dial.

Top - shutter.

Bottom, under the camera there is a tripod mount.

Left Side (from back) USB out, DC in.

Battery and memory compartment.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm Camera (PC-550).

Size comparison.

Size comparison.

Specifications / Features:

  • 5.1 milion pixels
  • Bright autofocus lens (no optical zoom - equivalent to 36.7mm lens in 35mm format)
  • 4x digital zoom
  • “One button, one function” design and scene programmes for easy operation
  • 1.5" / 3.8cm LCD
  • Movie recording function (320x240 / 30fps without sound)
  • Internal memory of 14 MB plus xD-Picture Card slot
  • Uses two AA-size batteries or one CRV-3 cell
  • Pictbridge Compatible

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • Strap,
  • USB cable,
  • 2 x AA alkaline batteries,
  • Olympus Master 1.2.
  • Basic Manual

Average box contents - a large memory card, and a case would have been nice.

The Camera in Use:

Battery usage: Using alkaline batteries I managed around 45-50 photos - this is poor compared to some of the newer Sony Stamina cameras, however, it's better than others - rechargable high-powered Ni-Mh batteries and a charger are highly recommended and should provide much better battery life.

Speed: The camera is quick to switch on and take photos. The screen updates are quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is also fairly quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 4x. Shot to shot time seemed about average. The camera shutter response seemed about average, and sluggish in low light. Focusing was quite good, but slow in low-light.

Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, the built in help explains the dial-modes when you select them. The controls on the back of the camera are very easy to use - with the clear photo / play buttons. The camera is compact but not overly small. The menus are responsive, easy to use, and the options are easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation (there's very little control beyond point and shoot operation).

Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are very easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled well. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically. The buttons are a good size, and I especially like the play / record buttons. Build quality seems good.

Screen / Viewfinder: The 1.5" screen, although small, is clear with accurate colours, and updates smoothly. There is no optical viewfinder.

Image Quality:

Image quality generally: Outside image quality was good, colour was rich and saturated, and noise seemed quite low, the pictures had good contrast, although images were soft and as a result detail was average. Indoors - image quality was quite good - although focusing was occassionally a problem and red eye was quite noticable. Images were generally fairly soft, and may benefit from sharpening. The maco mode was fairly poor as the closest you can get to the subject is around 20cm away.

Image quality issues: There was very minor purple fringing.

Zoom: The camera has no optical zoom lens, meaning you will either need to walk closer to the subject in order to frame the subject correctly, or alternatively use the digital zoom - which will degrade image quality drastically.

Movie: The movie mode offers 320x240 / 30fps or 15fps. The video mode is good and works well, however the lack of sound seriously limits it's usefullness.

Size + Compression options: The choices are SHQ 5mp, HQ 5mp, SQ1 2mp, SQ2 VGA. There's a limited choice here although it should keep the intended market happy - it would be nice to see a 3:2 aspect ratio available (especially for those wanting to print traditional 6x4" photos).

Flash Performance: The flash performed quite well in the photos I took and performed better when the subject was closer to the camera - however I wouldn't expect the camera to light up large rooms.

Value for Money: Currently at £119 the Olympus C-180 offers average/good value for money as one of the cheapest 5 megapixel digital cameras available, however it is around the same price as the Olympus C-480 (and other cameras) with a 4 megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom lens. I would much rather have a 4 megapixel camera with a 3x optical zoom lens, rather than a 5 megapixel camera with no optical zoom lens.

Alternative compact digital cameras:
Canon Powershot A400, (4mp, 2x optical zoom)
Canon Powershot A520, (4mp, 4x optical zoom)
Kodak Easyshare DX7440, (4mp, 4x optical zoom)
Sony Cybershot DSC-S60/S80, (4mp, 3x optical zoom)
Panasonic Lumix LS1, (4mp, 3x optical zoom, image stabilisation)
Olympus Camedia C-500, (5mp, 3x optical zoom)
Olympus Camedia C-470, (4mp, 3x optical zoom)
Nikon Coolpix 4600, (4mp, 3x optical zoom)

See more suggestions sorted by megapixels here.

Conclusion: The Olympus Camedia C-180 D-435 scores very highly on ease of use, but unfortunately falls short on image quality, with soft images, and slow speed in use. The lack of optical zoom is a real shame as well - especially considering Olympus offer the 4 megapixel, 3x optical zoom C-480 for around the same price as the C-180, you'd be better off buying a camera with an optical zoom lens. Images do have good colour and this camera may suite those looking for an extremely easy to use point and shoot camera.

Olympus Camedia C-180 D-435 Rating: Average
Buy now: £119 | $149

What I like:

  • Very easy to use
  • Built in help / describes the mode selected
  • 2-year warranty
  • Bright colours in images
  • Takes AA batteries

What I don't like:

  • Soft images
  • No sound on videos
  • Slow shutter/capture response meaning shots may be missed
  • Red-eye
  • No optical zoom
  • Poor macro mode

Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.