Olympus – Camedia C-220 Zoom review

compact, low cost, good quality camera
Photo of Olympus – Camedia C-220 Zoom
£160 + VAT

Olympus has never been one to sell its wares through flashy design. The Camedia C-220 Zoom, which we’ve been playing with for a couple of months, looks much like the other digital cameras in its range, and for that matter like most of the budget digital cameras the company has sold before. Where this one differs is in its price and performance.

About the size and shape of a compact 35mm conventional camera, the Camedia C-220 Zoom starts up when you slide back the lens cover. Its lens powers out of the front of the camera’s body and a small flash head pops up from the left-hand end of its top.

The camera has both conventional viewfinder and a 39mm LCD display which can also be used for sighting and for image playback and set-up. Navigation around the camera’s straightforward menu system is via four buttons arranged in a circle and two others which call up the display and select options.

The Zoom in the camera’s model name is a combination of optical and digital zooms. The lens provides magnification of up to 3x and the digital zoom multiplies this by 2.5 to provide 7.5x overall. Operation is very easy with a little jog-switch mounted next to the shutter release.

Images are captured on an 8MB SmartMedia card which slots in at the end of the camera. Given that the top resolution of this two megapixel device is 1,600 x 1,200, 8MB seems a bit small. You can only get five images on the card at this resolution and although lower resolutions may be quite satisfactory for everyday work, many people buy based on the top figure.

To transfer your images from the camera to a PC, Olympus provides a USB cable and a copy of its Camedia Master 4 software. This application provides a media viewer and basic image manipulation and is intended for the enthusiast and hobbyist.

If you’re using Windows XP, the operating system recognises the Camedia C-220 Zoom as a standard camera type, so you can download and view thumbnails without any extra software and send them to your printer.

The camera’s powered by two AA cells. Alkaline ones are provided, but there’s nothing to stop you using rechargeable NiMH batteries instead, if you have a charger. In most ways the Camedia C-220 Zoom is neat and well designed and, because it’s small enough to slip into a pocket, you can carry it on holidays or business just like a compact 35mm.

Company: Olympus

Contact: 020 7253 2772

It's unusual to find a zoom digital camera at under £200 and this Olympus model doesn't scrimp in order achieve the price-point. From the well-designed set-up system on the LCD display to the easy zoom control, the only potential problem is the small capacity of the memory card.