Pros: sound, movie, 3.34 megapixels, manual over ride, small, lightweight and easy to handle.
Cons: Macro mode rather unimpressive.
I read that Olympus was going to be releasing the 3030 a month or so before they came on the market. From everything I'd read about it I just couldn't wait to get one. My husband and I had gotten a nice refund in April and I decided to spend some of it on a digital camera to get great pictures of my kids.
Well, two days after they were on the market I had mine in hand. My first reaction was that I was amazed at how small and light it was. It fit very well in my hand, and I very much liked the grip which is similar to my SLR camera. I was impressed with the packaging and the extra's that come with the camera. Something I thought was nice was that it comes with three seperate manuals; English, French, Spanish. The manual is also detailed, easy to use, easy to find what you're looking for and gives you the basics to how to use your camera up front because if you're anything like me I couldn't wait to get that first picture taken.
It also came with two lithium battery packs to use with the camera, and they are fabulous. I've been using my camera for almost a month now, I use it often (pictures, movies and sound files) and the battery indicator says that they're still fully charged. After hearing horror stories from friends and family about how digital camera's eat up batteries in such a short period of time, this is truly something I'm very happy about. The only downside about the batteries that I've found so far is that they are hard to find if you want to get replacements, and when you do get them they run about $9 per battery pack and the camera takes two of them. Now for me the price is definitely worth it because I'd rather spend $18 and have my camera last a month or more, rather then having to continually buy or recharge batteries all the time.
The software that came with the camera is more then adequate. I installed my Camedia Master and before I knew it I was downloading pictures. Honest I have to admit that I haven't figured out all the ins and outs of this program because I use Photoshop to tweek my pictures. With the camera you get Photoshop 5 Limited, which is a very nice program. Easy to use once you get the hang of it and you can change your pictures in a variety of ways; adding text, increasing/decreasing image size, changing color balance, sharpening, soft focus and many many other fun little filters.
I also got a remote control, camera strap, USB cable, A/V cable, lens cap, and a 16MB SmartMedia card (nice size) with a static free case, label stickers for the SM card, and protection stickers for the SM card so that it cannot be overwritten if you so decided. All in all a nice little package I think. Everything you need with the exception of a camera case.
I found the use of the camera to be simple only requiring a quick overview of the manual to get the idea of what's what. The movie function is also very easy to use. You simply set the camera to the video icon press the button and away you go! When taking movies there are two settings either HQ or SQ. I've found that taking movies in SQ isn't much worth it since the quality isn't very good, but HQ takes nice movies that are easily downloaded and lots of fun to send to friends. The 3030 also has manual over-ride and manual settings for white balance, ISO, exposure compensation, flash mode, and shutter synchronization. All very cool features if you know anything about camera's and settings, something that I thought was very important when I was looking for the digital camera of my dreams. I also love the sound feature, which you can also turn on and off in picture mode. I can take pictures of my kids saying "I love you Grandma" and send the picture along with sound and all. Nice little bonus.
Downloading pictures is a dream. With the USB cable it's not only amazingly easy to download your pictures or movies, but it's incredibly fast. All you have to do is plug the USB cable into your computer, the other end to the camera and you're ready to rock and roll. I don't think it's ever taken me more then one to one and a half minutes to download a completely full card. My friends and family that have serial cables have all told me the woe's of how long it takes to download pictures and the amount of battery power that is used to do so. The ISB feature takes care of that easily.
The LCD monitor is of standard size, it can be used to frame your pictures our you can simply use the viewfinder. The pictures don't look as good on the monitor as they do on the computer but I think that's pretty much par for the course as far as digital camera's are concerned. The less you use the monitor the longer your batteries will last so personally I use the viewfinder whenever possible to frame and shoot my pictures. I have found the monitor handy though when taking portraits of the entire family so that I can frame it just right (and then turn off the monitor while I get in position to not use the batteries up more then necessary). The menu controls are displayed on the monitor and most of the functions are very easy to use and to set up. The manual will need to be used from time to time for the more complicated features, at least until you become more familiar with it.
Other fun features is that you can take pictures (or movies) in sepia, black and white, white board, black board, or panorama. It also has a sequence mode that can take up to a maximum of 3.3 pictures per second. The 3030 has a three times optical zoom and a two times digital zoom, which produce very nice, clear, sharp images.
The fact is that this camera does it all. It still has more tricks up its sleeve that I have yet to figure out but I'm having a great time learning as I go along. I'd have to say that the only disadvantage is that the 3030 has a rather far macro mode of eight to twelve inches. I don't have a problem with that, but photographers that like to really get up close would be disappointed by this feature.
Basically I love my camera, but I think my family is already getting tired of all the pictures and movies I've been sending.