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Olympus Camedia C-310 / D-540 - Quick Review
Review Date: 26/02/05
Buy Now: £95 / $154
Rating: Recommended!

Introduction: The Olympus Camedia C-310, also know as Olympus D-540 in the US is available for £95 / $154 - the Olympus C-310 is a compact 3 megapixel digital camera, with a 3x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera), and a 1.8" TFT screen. The camera is enclosed in a compact plastic body. It records 320x240 / 15fps videos without sound. The camera is compact with the following size: 102 (W) x 55.5 (H) x 36.5 (D) mm (without protruding parts), and only weighs 150g (without batteries and memory card).

Olympuz have this to say about the camera:

"The C-310 ZOOM is perfect for newcomers to digital photography and the ideal companion at any party or on holiday. Its automatic functions and helpful scene programs show you how easy digital photography can be."

More information can be found on their site.

The Camera: It's fairly compact and made out of plastic.
(photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3)

Front - click image to enlarge Back - click image to enlarge Left - click image to enlarge
Right - click image to enlarge Top - click image to enlarge Bottom - click image to enlarge

Size comparison photos: one, two.

Specifications / Features:

  • 3.2 million pixels
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 3.3x digital zoom
  • Super macro mode (as close as 2cm)
  • Large LCD (1.8 inch)
  • PictBridge compatible
  • 320x240 unlimited movies without sound
  • ISO: Auto ISO 50-320.

Full Specifications can be found on their site.

Box Contents:

  • Camera
  • Strap
  • 16MB xD-Picture card
  • Alkaline batteries (2 pcs.)
  • USB cable
  • Instruction manuals
  • Warranty card
  • Software CD-ROM (utility software)

Average box contents - a case and some rechargable batteries and a charger would have been a nice thing to find in the box.

The Camera in use:

Speed: Switch on time is quite good, however they is about a 6 second delay while the camera charges the flash. Shutter lag is okay. Shot to shot time is also quite good as long as you don't have to wait for the flash to charge.

Ease of Use: The camera is very easy to use - switch on, and start taking photos. The numerous scene modes also help make this camera easy to use for newcomers.

Ergonomics and Buttons: The camera feels quite solid and is just about pocketable, depending on the size of you pockets. The camera is easy to hold, and the buttons are of a decent size. The main Off / Play / Photo control is very easy to understand and makes it easy to switch between photo mode, play mode and off. The quick view button is useful to have. The zoom control, although different to most other cameras, is easy to use.

Battery Life: The camera can use AA batteries (rechargable or alkaline), and can use CRV3 batteries. There's also a rechargable Lithium-Ion battery available. Battery life seemed okay when using rechargable NiMh 2100mah batteries - I managed about 100+ photos.

Screen / Viewfinder: The 1.8" screen is clear and updates very smoothly - the optical viewfinder is a bit small, especially for someone like me who wears glasses.

Image Quality:

Image quality generally: (Inside, outside, macro) Outside the camera does a good job, with good colour, saturation and detail - although a slight sharpen may improve some of the images. Inside the camera does a good job, however noise is sometimes quite visible especially in dark areas, and the camera occasionally struggles to focus. Red-eye seemed very low. The macro mode is good, and allows you to use the flash - however the super macro mode is very good, allowing you to get very close to the subject, but unfortunately doesn't let you use the flash. Auto-white balance (there is no manual white balance) and metering seemed to be very good.

Image quality issues to look out for: Noise: Could be better. There are no manual ISO settings, leaving the camera to automatically choose the ISO setting - noise did seem visible in a lot of photos, however, it looks more like film grain rather than multi-coloured dots. Purple Fringing: Seemed quite low, however I did notice it in one of the photos taken (you can view the 'burnt out church' photo in the gallery).

Zoom: The camera's 3x optical zoom is quite noisy, and has 7 steps between wide and telephoto. The camera also has a 3.3x digital zoom, however it is best avoiding using this, as using the digital zoom will reduce image quality drastically.

Movie: The camera has an average / poor video mode that records 320x240 videos at 15fps without sound. If you do not use the video feature then you do not need to worry about this, however if you need sound on videos then this camera isn't for you.

Size + Compression options: There are 4 choices, 3mp Super High Quality (SHQ), 3mp High Quality (HQ), 2mp Standard Quality, and VGA Standard Quality. There isn't much choice here, but it should suffice for the majority of people.

Flash Performance: The flash performed well in the photos I took, however I wouldn't expect the camera to light up large rooms.

Alternative 3mp / 3x optical zoom digital cameras: Olympus C-370, Canon Powershot A400, Canon Powershot A75, Canon Powershot A510 (4x optical zoom), Kodak Easyshare DX7330, Pentax Optio S30, Fuji Finepix A330, Nikon Coolpix 3200, HP Photosmart M307. Check amazon.co.uk / kelkoo.co.uk or amazon.com for the latest prices. View all my reviews to see more cameras.

Conclusion: The Olympus Camedia C-310 is a compact 3 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and a decent 1.8" screen. Even though the camera is nearly a year old, the camera takes good quality pictures and is very good value for money. The camera records unlimited 15fps videos without sound. It is very easy to use, and produces good images with good colour, saturation and detail. The camera is quick enough, although the camera does have a slow flash charging time. For around £95 (UK) this camera is very good value for money, especially with the free case and battery charger from Amazon. The camera has a very good macro mode, and is very easy to use.

If you don't mind videos without sound, then this camera is excellent value for money, and consistantly produces good results - Recommended! Check out the full set of photos in the gallery to see for yourself.

Olympus Camedia C-310 Rating: Recommended!
Buy now from Amazon: £95* / $154.
*with free case and battery charger!

Don't forget to buy an XD memory card to go with the Olympus C-310: 128mb xD - £16.99, 256mb xD - £23.99, 512mb xD - £39.99 from Amazon.co.uk.

What I like:

  • Good image quality (good colour, detail and saturation)
  • Good ergonomics and construction
  • Takes AA batteries
  • Super Macro mode
  • Very easy to use
  • Low red-eye
  • Good size screen (1.8")

What I don't like:

  • Slow flash recharge time (officially 6 seconds)
  • Quite high noise indoors
  • No custom white balance
  • Displays low-battery warning even though I can continue to take a number of photos.

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