Pros: Great image quality, 3.34 Megapixels, good color accuracy.
Cons: Poor user interface, macro mode isn't all that "macro"
I am an avid photographer, and I had been using film exclusively up until a few months ago, when I decided high-end "prosumer" digital cameras had attained respectable image quality for use in printing images up to 8 by 10. I set out on my normal course of pouring over reviews, visiting web sites, and nagging salespeople (I think most electronics stores have warning posters with my picture on it by now?.). What I found out after countless hours of product testing was that some key information about these cameras is NOT readily available to anyone but Epinions users.
Let?s start with the good stuff, after all the C-3030 is the digital camera I almost bought. The camera features a 3.34MP resolution, which offers great image detail and sharpness. The color accuracy is very high, and the photographs that this camera produces are of very high quality all around. The camera has a very flexible 3x optical and 2.5x digital zoom, and a 32MB built-in memory buffer provides fast continuous shooting at 3.5 frames per second. I also commend Olympus for including Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 Light Edition (although hopefully anyone buying a thousand-dollar digital camera has already invested in the full version). I?m not going to go on and on about the strong points of this camera, because those are well covered in other reviews. Suffice it to say that up until I discovered the Nikon Coolpix 990 (more on that later), I was ready to plunk down ten Franklins to own this Olympus.
The main thing that made me overlook this camera in favor of the Nikon is the user interface. Many of the controls that you need to access quickly and frequently when doing a lot of shooting require you to dig through menus that are not very logical to use. Even in the store I found myself missing photographs because I was too busy navigating through menus to change controls like exposure compensation. The LCD display (a feature I wish my SLR incorporated) is also very hard to see when holding the camera higher or lower than around eye-level. For those who want to do close-up photography, macro mode only focuses as close as 8 inches. One note to laptop users: if you use a digital camera with removable media, you are making file transfer much harder than necessary if you aren?t using a PC card adapter, and the card adapters for this camera?s SmartMedia cost 8 times what the Compact Flash adapters cost ($80 versus $10). All in all, this is a pretty short list of complaints, but the user interface is a fairly big one in my eyes.
The Nikon Coolpix 990, by comparison, had a wonderful user interface that made switching settings very fast and intuitive. The 270 degree swiveling head made for a much easier time taking pictures above and below eye-level, and gave me a much better idea what I was shooting (since I could actually see the viewfinder). Macro mode on this camera can get as close as 0.8 inches (great for eBay and those who enjoy macro photography). The Nikon also has a much sturdier feel and it has stood up to everything I have thrown at it so far. I won?t continue ranting and raving about this great piece of equipment, as I have already covered it thoroughly in my review of the Coolpix 990. I can assure you I have not regretted my decision to buy the Nikon.
The Olympus C-3030 is a very good camera that offers an awful lot for it?s price, but I feel that it?s limitations prevent it from being a truly great camera. Just remember when debating which camera to buy that the extra 10 seconds it takes you to dig through menus can be the difference between capturing the shot and capturing a headache?. At least that?s my epinion.