C-5060 Wide Zoom. Фотоаппарат olympus 5060

DCRP Review: Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom

The Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom ($699) is the new top-of-the-line fixed lens camera in Olympus' line up. It takes the popular C-5050Z (see our review) and swaps in a new wide-angle 4X zoom lens, passive AF system, and VGA movie mode. The flip-out LCD has also been redesigned, making it more useful than before.

Is the C-5060WZ one of the best 5 Megapixel cameras out there? Find out now in our review!

What's in the Box?

The Olympus C-5060WZ has a very good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:

  • The 5.1 effective Mpixel C-5060 Wide Zoom camera
  • 32MB xD Picture Card
  • BLM-1 lithium-ion battery (rechargeable)
  • Battery charger
  • Remote control
  • Neck strap
  • Lens cap w/strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Olympus Camedia Master software and drivers
  • Basic manual (printed) + full manual on CD-ROM

Olympus includes a 32MB xD card with the camera, which is decent, but it won't hold very many 5.1MP pictures. So, you'll quickly want to buy a larger card -- I suggest 256MB as a good size. Like the 5050, the 5060 supports both xD and CompactFlash cards. If you're after a large capacity card, then CF is the way to go. The camera is FAT32 compatible, so that means you can use the big CF cards (2GB and above) with the 5060.

The C-5060 has switched batteries since the C-5050 -- it now uses the same BLM-1 battery as the E-1 digital SLR (the 5050 used AAs). This battery has a whopping 10.8 Wh of energy, way more than the competition (even the Sony DSC-F717, the current battery king). Unfortunately, Olympus doesn't publish any battery life statistics, but it's seemed to be very good during my time with the camera. Do note that extra battery costs a whopping $70 -- so there's one big disadvantage of the BLM-1. The other is that if the camera is running low on juice, you can't just drop in 4 AAs to get you through the day.

When it's time to recharge the BLM-1, snap it into the included BCM-2 charger. It takes a sluggish 6 hours to fully charge the battery. Note that this isn't one of those nice "plug it right into the wall" chargers -- there's a power cable.

If the BLM-1 just isn't enough for you, then you want the B-HLD20 power battery holder ($100). It can hold one or two BLM-1 batteries, giving you (drumroll please) double the battery life. It also provides vertical controls, and a port for the remote shutter release cable ($53).

Olympus includes the RM-2 remote control with the camera. It's very basic, with just one button. You can take a picture with it, or view a slide show in playback mode. No zoom control or anything. The C-5050Z used the full-featured RM-1 remote.

Olympus includes a lens cap and retaining strap to protect that nice lens.

The C-5060Z has a nice selection of accessories available. You can add 0.7X wide-angle and 1.7X telephoto conversion lenses (both have a list price of $199), but first you'll need the CLA-7 conversion lens adapter ($35). The CLA-7 will also let you use filters, but I'm not sure what the thread size is.

Since the C-5060 has a hot shoe, you can add an external flash, or use a PC sync cable and flash bracket. Olympus sells three flashes -- the FL-20, FL-40, and new FL-50 -- ranging in price from $130-$450. Other accessories include an AC adapter ($55) , carrying case, and various memory card-related items.

One really cool accessory that I can't seem to find for sale in the U.S. yet is the PT-020 underwater case. It lets you take your C-5060 up to 50 meters underwater. But wait, there's more. Want a more powerful flash while you're diving? Add the PFL-01 flash accessory, and the FL-20 flash can go swimming too. Need a wider lens? The PPO-02 will let you attach the wide-angle conversion lens to the underwater case. Very cool.

Like all of Olympus' recent cameras, the C-5060 is fully compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP. Most likely, you won't even need to install drivers.

The C-5060WZ includes Olympus' Camedia Master 4.1 software. The screen shot above will give you a good idea of what this software can do. It's way better than the old versions of years past.

The editing tools included with Camedia Master are impressive. You can change all kinds of things like brightness, contrast, and color balance. There are also red-eye reduction and "instant fix" options.

The software is much more responsive than the previous versions. My only complaint is that the interface is non-standard on both Macs and PCs.

If you don't mind parting with $20, Olympus will upgrade you to the "Pro" version of the software. This adds contact sheet printing, image e-mailing, HTML albums, panorama stitching, and slide shows.

Unfortunately keeping with Olympus tradition, there's only a printed "basic" manual in the box. If you want to view the full manual, you need to look at the PDF file on the CD. The quality of the manual itself is about average.

Look and Feel

The C-5060WZ's design is an evolution of the original C-2000 from many years ago. Thankfully the C-5060 doesn't share the unimpressive (I'm being nice with that word) look of the C-5000Z. While the important controls are well-placed, I didn't like how small buttons were scattered all over the body (a purely subjective observation).

The C-5060Z is made of a mix of metal and high grade plastic. It feels very solid, and it competes with the best cameras in its class in terms of build quality. The camera is easy to hold, thanks to a sizable right hand grip.

Here's a look at the dimensions and weight of the C-5060WZ, and how it compares to the competition:

  Canon PowerShot G5 Nikon Coolpix 5400 Olympus C-5060WZ Sony Cyber-shot DSC-V1
Dimensions (W x H x D, inches) 4.8 x 2.9 x 2.8 4.3 x 2.9 x 2.7 4.6 x 3.4 x 2.6 4.0 x 2.6 x 2.3
Volume (AKA bulk) 39.0 cu. in. 33.7 cu. in. 40.7 cu. in. 23.9 cu. in.
Mass 410 g 320 g 430 g 300 g

As you can see, the C-5060 is the biggest camera in the group. Its bulk means that you won't be putting it in your pocket.

Let's begin our full tour of the camera now!

Two of the C-5060's new features can be found on the front of the camera.

The first is the all new F2.8-4.8, 4X optical zoom lens. The focal range of the lens is 5.7 - 22.9 mm, which is equivalent to 27 - 110 mm, making this the widest built-in lens on a digital camera. The C-5050Z had a 3X lens, but it had a very fast F1.8 maximum aperture, so there's a tradeoff here. The lens is threaded for conversion lenses and filters, but you'll need the CLA-7 adapter first.

At the top of the photo is the built-in flash. The flash has a working range of 0.8 - 3.7 m at wide-angle, and 0.8 - 2.2 m at telephoto. The flash recharge time is about 6 seconds. As I mentioned, you can add an external flash or PC sync cable adapter to the camera's hot shoe, for more flash power and less redeye.

After all my complaining about Olympus not having any AF-assist system on their cameras (the C-5050 as a rare exception), the 5060 has got it -- and more. First, there's an AF-assist lamp, located just to the right of the flash. In low light, it fires an orange light on your subject, helping the camera focus. But wait, there's more. Below the assist lamp is a passive AF sensor, which not only aids in low light focusing, but it speeds up focusing in good lighting too. Way to go, Olympus!

The C-5050Z had a flip-up LCD, similar to Olympus' E-10 and E-20 cameras. It was nice, but not nearly as useful as the rotating LCD on some Canon and Nikon models. So, for the C-5060Z, Olympus has redesigned the LCD, making it much for useful. It can be put in any of the positions you see above and below, and many places in between. If you flip over the LCD, the image on it is oriented correctly.

In addition to its acrobatic abilities, the C-5060's LCD is also good-sized (1.8") and high resolution (130,000). Images on the LCD are sharp, and motion is smooth. LCD brightness is adjustable in the menu.

Directly above the LCD is the optical viewfinder, which is quite large. It has a diopter correction knob, a nice feature for those of us without perfect vision.

To the right of the optical viewfinder is the AE-Lock button (used for deleting photos in playback mode), plus the QuickView button, which is a fast way into playback mode.

The button to the lower-right of the QuickView button is the "display" button, which turns the LCD on and off, and it also toggles what is shown on it.

Below that is the four-way controller, which is used for menu navigation and adjusting manual settings.

Manual focus

Press and hold the OK button and you will activate the manual focus feature. You can then adjust the focus yourself, using the four-way switch. The camera enlarges the center of the image on the LCD so you can make sure the subject is in focus. There is also an indicator showing you the current focus distance.

Below that is the CF/xD button, which switches between the two memory card slots.

At the top-right of the control dial, which is used for adjusting camera settings (such as flash, exposure compensation).

I suppose that now's a good time to mention how you do that on the C-5060. Unlike many cameras where you just press the button once (such as the flash button) to change the current setting, the 5060 requires you to hold it down and use the control dial. When you do that, the LCD shows a kind of "mode dial" where you move between settings (see example above). I'm not a big fan of this interface (which Olympus calls direct buttons), but that's purely subjective. One thing's for sure: it takes some getting used to.

On the left side of the photo above, you've find two silver buttons. They are for adjusting:

  • Focus (Auto, macro, manual, super macro, super macro + manual)
  • Metering (ESP, spot, multi, center-weighted) [record mode] + Protect image [playback mode]

The C-5060WZ's hot shoe supports Olympus' own flashes, plus third party flashes as well. Do note that if you use a non-Olympus flash, you'll need to use both the camera and the flash in manual mode. In addition to attaching a flash, you can also use a PC sync cable adapter.

Moving to the right, we find the LCD info display, an item rarely seen these days. It shows current settings, shots remaining, battery status, and more. Unfortunately, it's not backlit.

Continuing eastward, we find the zoom controller, which has the shutter release button inside it. It takes about three seconds to move the lens from the wide-angle to telephoto position. With quick presses of the lever, you can make precise adjustments to the zoom.

Below the zoom controller are two more silver buttons, which adjust:

  • Self-timer/remote control [record] + Rotate image [playback]
  • Custom button [record] + DPOF print mark [playback]

The custom button can be defined to control virtually any camera setting. If it's in the menu, odds are that the custom button can use it.

Below those buttons is the mode dial, which has the power switch underneath it. The items that you'll find here include:

  • Program mode - automatic operation
  • Aperture priority mode - you choose aperture, camera chooses appropriate shutter speed; choose from range of F2.8 - F8.0
  • Shutter priority mode - you choose shutter speed, camera picks aperture; shutter speed range of 4 - 1/2000 sec
  • Manual mode - you choose both aperture and shutter speed; aperture range same as above, expanded shutter speed range of 15 - 1/4000 sec + bulb mode; 1/4000 sec speed only available at F8.
  • My Mode - see below
  • Movie mode
  • Night scene
  • Landscape
  • Landscape + portrait
  • Sports
  • Portrait

Beginners and folks who don't want to deal with shutter speeds and apertures will probably spend their time in Program mode. If you want a little more control over those, try the Program Shift feature, which lets you choose from a few sets of apertures and shutter speeds. An example of when you'd use this is when you want more depth of field than the camera is giving you.

One thing Olympus continues to do is lock up the full shutter speed range in shutter priority mode. If you want to do longer exposures, you must use manual (M) mode. There, you can also do "bulb" exposures for as long as 2 minutes! A tripod and remote shutter release cable is advised for this.

While it's not as unique as it once was, the My Mode feature is very useful. This feature allows you to store up to *8* sets of your favorite settings -- right on the mode dial.

On this side of the camera, you'll find the speaker, I/O ports, and even more buttons.

The I/O ports are all kept under rubber covers. They include:

  • A/V out
  • USB (1.1)
  • DC-in (for optional AC adapter)

On the far right are two more buttons. The top one adjusts exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV increments), while the bottom one adjusts the flash setting (auto, auto w/redeye reduction, fill flash, slow sync, flash off). Hold down both and you can adjust the flash exposure compensation (same range as regular exp. compensation).

On the other side of the camera, you'll find the dual memory card slots, which are behind a flimsy plastic door. The C-5060WZ supports both xD and CompactFlash (Microdrive included) cards. The old C-5050Z also had a SmartMedia slot.

The included 32MB xD card is shown.

We end our tour with a look at the bottom of the camera. Down here is where you'll find the battery compartment, which has a sturdy door as well as a lock.

To the right of that is the metal tripod mount, whose placement prevents you from switching batteries while the camera is on a tripod.

The included BLM-1 battery is shown at right.

Using the Olympus C-5060 Zoom

Record Mode

The C-5060WZ took under five seconds to extend the lens and "boot up" before it could start taking pictures.

Once the camera's ready, you'll find two interesting ways to display a histogram. The first (above left) is the traditional-style histogram that we all know and love. The second style (above right) -- which is hard to see here -- is what Olympus calls a "direct" histogram. Darker areas of the frame will have blue boxes superimposed, while bright areas have red boxes. Both of these can help you get better exposures, as long as you know what to do with the information they provide.

The C-5060's passive AF system allows it to focus very quickly in good light -- 1/2 second in most cases. In dim light, the AF sensor and AF-assist lamp combo allow the camera to lock focus with ease. It takes a little longer, but the camera will lock focus.

Shutter lag wasn't an issue at faster shutter speeds, but once you start getting below 1/30 sec, it becomes more noticeable. In those situations you should probably using a tripod (or the flash), though.

Shot-to-shot speed is excellent, with a delay of just over one second, assuming you've turned off the post-shot review feature.

There's no easy way to delete a photo immediately after it is taken. You can, however, use the QuickView feature to do so.

There are tons of image resolution and quality choices on the C-5060WZ:

Quality Resolution Approx. File Size # photos on 32MB card (included)
RAW 2592 x 1944 7.7 MB 4
TIFF 2592 x 1944 15.2 MB 2
2592 x 1728(3:2) 13.5 MB 2
2288 x 1712 11.8 MB 2
2048 x 1536 9.5 MB 3
1600 x 1200 5.8 MB 5
1280 x 960 3.8 MB 8
1024 x 768 2.4 MB 13
640 x 480 1.0 MB 33
SHQ 2592 x 1944 3.8 MB 8
2592 x 1728(3:2) 3.4 MB 9
HQ 2592 x 1944 1.3 MB 25
2592 x 1728(3:2) 1.2 MB 28
SQ1 - High 2288 x 1712 2.6 MB 12
2048 x 1536 2.3 MB 14
1600 x 1200 1.5 MB 22
SQ1 - Normal 2288 x 1712 1.0 MB 32
2048 x 1536 900 KB 40
1600 x 1200 500 KB 64
SQ2 - High 1280 x 960 1.0 MB 34
1024 x 768 600 KB 53
640 x 480 300 KB 132
SQ2 - Normal 1280 x 960 400 KB 99
1024 x 768 300 KB 153
640 x 480 100 KB 331

There's a lot to talk about regarding that list! First of all, I don't think you'll find another camera with than many options. While it may be overkill (who needs a 640 x 480 TIFF file?), it's better to have too many choices than too few. Second, there's a RAW file option available. In RAW mode, the camera saves the RAW CCD data, so you can manipulate things like white balance, sharpness, and color later -- as if you were taking the picture again -- right on the camera (more on this later). Do note that you must process the image with Camedia Master or other RAW conversion utility before you can open it in a regular photo viewer. Also, the camera will be locked up for about 9 seconds while the RAW file is saved to the memory card.

TIFF files is also a lossless format like RAW, except it takes up a lot more space (and you can't change the white balance et al on the camera). The camera will be locked up for about 17 seconds while the image is saved.

While I didn't list it in the chart, the camera can interpolate to 3264 x 2448 at the SHQ and HQ setting -- though expect extra noise in your images if you do it.

Olympus uses one of the more sensible file numbering systems that I've seen. Files are named Pmdd####.jpg, where m is the month (1-9, A-C), d is the day, and #### is 0001-9999. This way your file numbers are always unique (well, at least a year). File numbering is maintained as you erase and switch memory cards.

The C-5060Z uses Olympus' customizable menu system. When you first open the menu, you're presented with four choices:

  • Drive
  • Mode Menu
  • White Balance
  • Quality

Don't like those choices? With the exception of Mode Menu, you can put whatever you want in that menu. They're all just shortcuts into the mode menu.

The Mode Menu is where most of the options on the C-5060 are located. To call the menu intimidating is an understatement -- it's one of the more confusing system out there (see the white balance menu above for example). Here's what you'll find in the mode menu:

  • Camera Settings
    • Drive (Single-frame, high speed sequential, sequential, AF sequential, auto bracketing) - see below
    • ISO (Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400)
    • My Mode (1-8) - save up to eight sets of your favorite settings to the My Mode spot on the mode dial
    • External flash (Internal + external, external only, slave) - the slave option lets you choose how much light is emitted by the flash (for a slave flash setup)
    • Flash slow sync (1st curtain, 1st curtain w/redeye reduction, 2nd curtain)
    • Noise reduction (on/off) - reduces noise in photos with shutter speeds 1/2 sec or slower
    • Digital zoom (on/off) - using this will reduce the quality of your photos
    • Fulltime AF (on/off) - when on, the camera will always be trying to focus; puts extra strain on batteries in exchange for less AF lag
    • AF mode (iESP, spot) - iESP is multi-point AF (automatic)
    • Accessory (Off, conversion lens, underwater housing)
    • Sound recording (on/off) - add 4 second audio clips to each image
    • Panorama - helps you make panoramic shots. Requires Olympus-branded xD card
    • 2 in 1 - combine two shots into one
    • Function (Off, black & white, sepia, black board, white board)
    • Histogram (Off, on w/exp. compensation, on, direct) - discussed earlier
    • Frame guidelines (Off, on, frame assist) - see below
    • M-mode real display (on/off) - shows the predicted exposure on the LCD in "M" mode
  • Picture Settings
    • Quality (see chart above)
    • White Balance (why they split it up like this is beyond me)
      • Auto
      • Preset 1 (Shade, cloudy, sunlight, evening sunlight)
      • Preset 2 (Daylight fluorescent, neutral fluorescent, cool white fluorescent, white fluorescent, tungsten)
      • Custom (1-4) - select one of four sets of custom white balance
      • One-touch WB - shoot a white or gray card to get perfect color in any light
    • White balance compensation (-7EV to +7EV in 1EV increments) - fine tune white balance in the blue or red direction for any of the WB options
    • Custom WB (1-4) - store four sets of custom white balance settings!
    • Scene modes (Normal, portrait, landscape, night scene) - we already have them on the mode dial, but here they are again
    • Sharpness (-5 to +5, increments of 1)
    • Contrast (-5 to +5, increments of 1)
    • Saturation (-5 to +5, increments of 1)
  • Card Setup (Format)
  • Setup
    • All reset (on/off) - retain settings after camera is powered off
    • EV step (1/3EV, 1/2EV) - set the increment for exposure compensation
    • Language (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, mystery language, Portuguese, Japanese)
    • PW on/off (on/off) - turn startup and shutdown screens/sounds on and off
    • Rec View (on/off) - shows image after it's taken on LCD
    • Beep volume (Off, low, high)
    • Beep (Off 1, 2) - choose a beep sound or turn it off
    • Shutter sound (Off, 1, 2) - same as above, but for phony shutter sound
    • My Mode setup - save your favorite settings (up to 4 sets) for easy retrieval
    • File naming (Auto, reset)
    • Pixel mapping - helps eliminate "bad pixels"
    • Monitor brightness
    • Clock set
    • Units (meters, feet)
    • Video output (NTSC, PAL)
    • Short cut - configure the first page of the menus, as I explained above
    • Custom button - choose a function for the custom button on top of the camera; nearly any menu option can be used.
    • Dual control panel (on/off) - see below
    • AF illuminator (on/off)
    • USB (PC, print) - use the latter when connected to a PictBridge-enabled photo printer

As you can see, the C-5060WZ is the king of manual controls (or darn close to it). Many of those options require further explanation, so here goes:

First, the drive options. There are four continuous shooting modes. Regular sequential mode will lock the focus and exposure settings on the first shot, and will take 10 shots at 1.7 frames/sec, while the high speed mode takes up to 4 shots at 3.3 frames/sec. AF sequential mode will redo the focus and exposure for each shot, slowing the burst rate down considerably. Auto bracketing will take 3 or 5 shots in a row, each with a different exposure compensation value. You can set the EV increment (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV, ±1EV) in the setup menu.

The frame assist feature has two parts. If you turn it "on", you'll see an outline of a person on the LCD, which you can use to help frame a portrait shot. There appears to be one outline for USA portraits, and another one for Latin America -- I don't get it. The other part of frame assist (chose that in the submenu) is a 3 x 3 grid which you can use to make sure your photo is level (boy do I need that!).

The fine-tunable white balance lets you make the selected white balance "redder" or "bluer". You can do it for any of the WB options, even "auto".

Dual control panel

The "dual control panel" feature was first seen on the C-5050Z. Let's suppose it's dark, you're using the optical viewfinder, and you can't see the LCD info display on the top of the camera. The dual control panel puts that information (and more) on the LCD instead, as you can see above.

Well that's enough of that, let's move on now.

The C-5060 did a fine job with the macro test, with accurate, saturated color, and sharp detail.

Like some of Olympus' other high end cameras, the C-5060WZ has two macro modes. Regular macro mode gives you a so-so focal range of 20 - 80 cm. If you want to get really close, you'll want to use "super" macro mode. This locks the lens in place (toward the wide end of things) and lets you get just 3 cm from your subject. You can then fill the frame with a 21 x 28 mm subject!

Aside from the fact that I can't seem to take a level shot anymore, the night shot above turned out nicely. The camera took in enough light, noise levels are low, and purple fringing is at a minimum. Since you can manually select the shutter speed (for as long as 120 seconds in bulb mode), you can take nice long exposures. My only gripe is that you must be in "M" mode to get at the full range of shutter speeds.

Here's the same shot taken at different ISO sensitivities, so you can see the relationship between ISO and noise:

As you can see, noise is low at ISO 80 and 100, but then it starts to ramp up quickly at ISO 200. ISO 400 is pretty nasty.

The new body style of the C-5000 and C-5060 place the flash pretty close to the lens, so I wasn't terribly surprised to see this much redeye. Kind of disappointed to see it on a camera this expensive, though. Two solutions to this problem: 1) buy an external flash or 2) remove in later in software (Camedia Master does it). The flash shot I took for this test was noisier than I would've liked at ISO 80 (see this flash shot for an idea).

Wide-angle lenses traditionally have higher than average barrel distortion, and the C-5060 is no exception. One thing I don't see here is any vignetting (dark corners).

On the whole, image quality on the 5060WZ was very good, though definitely on the noisy/grainy side. This is because Olympus really cranks up the in-camera sharpening (which is why the images are so sharp!). Here's a comparison of how the sharpness setting affects noise levels:

As you can see, noise and sharpness are directly proportional. I personally think the noise is too much at default sharpness (the 5050Z was the same way), so I'd shoot at -2 or -3. But that's just me. The nice thing about all the manual controls on the C-5060WZ is that you can tweak the settings until you find the noise, color, and sharpness levels that you find acceptable. Purple fringing (chromatic aberrations) levels are quite low, thanks to the extra-low dispersion lens.

As always, let your own eyes be the final judge of photo quality -- so visit the photo gallery!

Movie Mode

Olympus finally has improved their movie mode. And good news -- it's one of the better ones out there. You can record VGA (640 x 480) quality video at 15 frames/second, until the memory card fills up. Sound is recorded as well. The included 32MB xD card holds a whopping 34 seconds of video, so you'll want a larger card so you can take longer movies!

Two other resolutions are also available: 320 x 240 and 160 x 120. Both of those also have a 15 fps frame rate. The movies are saved in QuickTime format.

As you'd expect, you cannot use the zoom lens during filming.

Here's an sample movie for you. Be warned, it's large.

Click to play movie (7.4MB, 640 x 480, QuickTime format)Can't play it? Download QuickTime.

Playback Mode

The 5060 has a pretty nice playback mode. Basic features include slide shows, voice annotations, thumbnail mode, DPOF print marking, image protection, and "zoom and scroll".

The zoom and scroll feature (my term) allows you to zoom in as much as 4X into your photo, and then move around in it.

You can rotate, resize (to 640 x 480 or 320 x 240), and crop photos in playback mode.

The RAW data edit feature lets you change several properties of the image, including quality, white balance, sharpness, contrast, saturation, and more. White balance doesn't look good? Change it in this mode and you're set! After you adjust one of those settings, the revised image is saved in TIFF format.

You can copy images from an xD card to a CompactFlash card -- and vice versa -- by using the copy function.

Normally, you don't get much information about your photos in playback mode (top left). When you want more info, you can turn on "info" in the menu (top right). If that's still not enough, turn on the histogram to get the screen on the bottom.

The camera moves between images at an average clip. It takes just less than two seconds to display the next photo on the LCD.

How Does it Compare?

The C-5060 Wide Zoom is one of the best Olympus cameras in recent memory, and it should be high on your shopping list if a full-featured 5 Megapixel camera is what you're after. My main complaints about the camera are the above average noise levels at default settings (turning down the sharpness helps) and its intimidating user interface (buttons and menus). Everything else is good.

That includes the photo quality (aside from the noise), performance, controls, and expandability. The new 4X "wide zoom" lens is great for both indoor and outdoor shooting. The flip-up, rotating LCD is very nice as well, and far more useful than on the C-5050Z. And how about that super-powerful battery?

I've knocked Olympus in the past for leaving off AF-assist lamps, and they've made up for that by including both a passive AF system and an AF-assist lamp on the 5060! That helps the camera focus quickly, even in low light. If you like manual controls, you'll like this camera -- it can do just about everything. The RAW data edit mode is especially nice, letting you correct images saved in RAW format without any loss of quality. Do note that shooting in RAW mode takes about 3X longer than a regular JPEG.

The C-5060WZ is also very expandable. Conversion lens? Check. External flash? Take your pick. Heck, there's even an underwater case that supports a wide conversion lens and a flash!

The 5060 is a strong competitor to the other big names out there, and it's well worth a look.

What I liked:

  • Good photo quality, though images a little noisy
  • Tons of manual controls
  • Very nice, wide-angle 4X zoom lens
  • Two histograms to choose from
  • AF-assist lamp AND passive AF system!
  • Handy RAW data edit feature
  • Useful flip-up, rotating LCD display
  • Customizable buttons and menus
  • Handy My Mode feature lets you store favorite settings to spot on mode dial
  • Super macro mode lets you get 3 cm from your subject
  • Powerful battery
  • VGA movie mode
  • Hot shoe for external flash
  • Supports add-on lenses, underwater case, battery grip

What I didn't care for:

  • Images are too noisy at default settings
  • Redeye
  • Controls can be intimidating to new users
  • Slowest shutter speeds only available in full manual mode
  • Full manual only on CD

Some other cameras worth considering include the Canon PowerShot G5, Fuji FinePix S7000, Minolta DiMAGE A1, Nikon Coolpix 5400 and 5700, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F717 and DSC-F828.

As always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out the C-5060WZ and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

Check out the photo gallery for this camera!

Want a second opinion?

Read more reviews over at Imaging Resource and Steves Digicams.

Buy it now

Feedback & Discussion

If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal recommendation.

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Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom Review: Features And Controls (Cont.)

The Mode Dial has the On/Off power switch mounted around it. First seen on the C-5050, the Jog Dial is operated with your thumb. You press and hold one of the "Direct" buttons (described below) and turn the Jog Dial to change the settings.

To the left of the flash hot shoe is the Focus mode direct button. Focus options are: AF, Macro, Manual Focus, Super Macro and Super Macro MF. Below that is the Metering mode direct button. Press and hold it while turning the Jog Dial to select ESP, Spot or Multi metering. In playback the Metering button serves as the Protect button as indicated by the blue "key" icon.

Focusing modes
Metering modes

On the back left side of the camera are the Exposure compensation and Flash mode direct buttons. Hold the Exposure compensation button down and turn the Jog Dial to select the desired exposure override value (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 steps). The Flash mode button cycles through: Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Fill-in, Slow Synch (first curtain), Slow Synch (first curtain) w/red-eye reduction and Flash Off.

Holding down both the Exposure comp and Flash mode buttons lets you adjust the amount flash output power.

Flash modes
Flash output

Controls on the back: AEL auto exposure lock (serves as the Delete button in playback), Quick View for image review, the Monitor button turns the color LCD on/off and controls the amount of data displayed on it. The 4-way "Arrow Controls" for navigating menus, changing settings and selecting playback images. The OK button accepts menu selections and calls up the menu. The CF/xD button selects the desired storage media.

Off to the right is the Jog Dial and the "Card Busy" indicator lamp.

On the left side is the speaker and the I/O ports:

A/V output, video is NTSC or PAL, audio is monaural

USB 1.1 data port

DC INput for AC adapter or battery pack

The C-5060 stores its images on xD-Picture Card or CompactFlash Type I or II cards including IBM Microdrives. The C-5060 is FAT-32 compatible so it can make use of high-capacity CF cards and Microdrives that exceed 2GB. I have personally tested it with the new Hitachi 4GB Microdrive.

The CF2 and xD slots can be occupied simultaneously and selected by pressing the CF/xD button on the back of the camera. Olympus includes a 32MB xD-Picture Card with panorama function.

Storage Capacity

Quality Pixel Resolution 32MB xD-Picture Card (included) 128MB xD-Picture Card
OIE: SHQ, HQ 3200 x 2400* 6, 16 shots 27, 67 shots
3:2 TIFF, SHQ, HQ 2560 x 1696 2, 10, 29 shots 10, 40, 117 shots
TIFF 2560 x 1920 to640 x 480 2 to 33 shots 8 to 135 shots
RAW 2560 x 1920 6 shots 26 shots
SHQ 2560 x 1920 8 shots 35 shots
HQ 2560 x 1920 26 shots 105 shots
SQ1 (high, normal) 2288 x 1712 to 1600 x 1200 11 to 64 shots 48 to 257 shots
SQ2 (high, normal) 1280 x 960 to640 x 480 34 to 331 shots 140 to 1330 shots
All capacity figures are approximate.*OIE resolutions interpolated from maximum optical resolution of 2560 x 1920.

The C-5060Z is powered by a BLM-1 7.2V 1500mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery pack. This battery has more power than four AA type batteries and is also lighter in weight. The small and portable BCM-2 AC charger is included with the camera outfit.

With the new Power Battery Holder B-HLD20 your C-5060 Wide Zoom becomes a powerhouse that has the energy to keep on shooting for hours and hours as it can hold up to two of the BLM-1 battery packs.

The B-HLD20 features a portrait mode grip, shutter release button and zoom lever to permit comfortable vertical framing. A lock ensures that users will not accidentally misfire their C-5060 Wide Zoom cameras. It also has a port for an optional wired remote control.

The B-HLD20 even has a space to store an additional xD-Picture Card to replace the one in use when it becomes full. You'll see where it fits between the two BLM-1 batteries.

The C-5060's battery door must be removed before installing the B-HLD20. Don't worry about losing it, there's a place on the battery holder that "keeps" the battery door with the holder.

One of my favorite Olympus accessories, an infrared remote control. This allows you to trip the shutter in record mode for self-portraits and is also handy when doing macro shots on a tripod.

The one thing that puzzles me is why Olympus chose to bundle the RM-2 instead of the more capable RM-1 remote?  This is a top-of-the-line camera so why not bundle it with their deluxe remote control ???

With the PT-020 Underwater Housing you can take the C-5060 Wide Zoom and several of its accessories 130 feet below the surface of the water to capture breathtaking images underwater. This stylish and durable housing is for anyone looking to pursue underwater digital photography when diving, snorkeling or surfing - and it's also ideal for use during activities that call for ultimate protection from the elements such as skiing, fishing, sailing, or even certain industrial situations.

The PPO-02 (sold separately) replaces the standard lens port and allows you to use the WCON-07C Wide Conversion Lens (CLA-7 Conversion Lens Adapter required) for greater photographic flexibility. Having a wide-angle lens of this caliber underwater is ideal for capturing breathtaking images of undersea life. And there's a separate underwater housing available for the FL-20 electronic flash that allows you to add external flash capability where it's most needed.

The PT-020 is made of durable transparent polycarbonate with grips and levers fashioned out of distinctive red-colored polycarbonate. The transparent nature of the housing ensures that users can view their shots with ease, as well as show off the stylish bodies of their cameras. The housing features fluorite (FL) glass lens windows for greater clarity when shooting photos underwater. To reduce glare caused by sunlight on the camera's LCD, the housing has a hood located on the outside back that makes viewing the LCD easier above and below water.


Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom Review: Overview

CCD Imager 5.1 megapixel effective5.3 megapixel grossSize 1/1.8 (.55 type) CCDLens Olympus aspherical glass 4x zoom lens 5.7 - 22.8mm (27 - 110mm equivalent in 35mm photography)Seamless Digital Zoom 14x (4x optical and 3.5x digital combined)Aperture Range f2.8 - f8.0Shutter Speeds 1/4000 sec. - 16 sec.ISO Auto, 80/100/200/400 (equivalent)Recording Mode(s) Still image: EXIF 2.2 TIFF (non-compressed), EXIF 2.2 JPEG, DCF (Design rule for Camera File system), PIM2 (Print Image Matching), Movie mode: QuickTime® motion JPEGAdjustable Resolutions 2592 x 1944 TIFF, JPEG, RAW (SHQ, HQ)2592 x 1728 (3:2 format), JPEG (SHQ, HQ)2288 x 1712 TIFF, JPEG (SQ1)2048 x 1536 TIFF, JPEG (SQ1)1600 x 1200 TIFF, JPEG (SQ1)1280 x 960 TIFF, JPEG (SQ2)1024 x 768 TIFF, JPEG (SQ2)640 x 480 TIFF, JPEG (SQ2)640 x 480 @15fps Quick Time Motion JPEG320 x 240 @15fps Quick Time Motion JPEG160 x 120 @ 15fps Quick Time Motion JPEGDPOF (Digital Print Order Format) Print Reserve, All print reserve, Date/timeOptimum Image Enlargement 3264 x 2448 JPEG (SHQ, HQ)Image Adjustment Modes Sharpness: +/- 5 stepsContrast: +/- 5 stepsSaturation: +/- 5 stepsImage Effects Resize (portable file size for e-mail or Web)RotationPanorama Up to 10 frames stitchable with CAMEDIA Master software when using Olympus brand xD-Picture CardSequence 1.4 fps HQ (max 10 images) Hi-speed 3.0 fps in RAW and all JPEG compressions (max 4 images)Viewfinder Optical real-image viewfinder with autofocus/back light markLCD 1.8" (4.5cm) low-temperature poly-silicon LCD (approx. 134,000 pixels)Focusing System iESP multi-pattern AF (autofocus) TTL system (contrast detection), Spot AF, Selective Spot AF, Full Time AF, Manual focusing by gaugeFocusing Ranges Normal mode: 31" - infinity (0.8m - infinity)Macro mode: 8.0" - 31" (0.2m - 0.8m)Super Macro mode: 1" to 8" (0.03m - 0.2m)Exposure Control Program auto (f2.8 - f8.0, 16 sec. - 1/4000 sec.), Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, ManualMetering System Digital ESP Multi-Pattern meter, Spot meter, Multi-point spotWhite Balance System iESP2 Auto, 5 Indoor settings, 4 Outdoor settings, 4 Custom Memory settings, One-touch set with white cardFlash Built-in flash, TTL Hot Shoe for optional FL-20 TTL flash, FL-50 TTL flash or sync to studio strobes with optional cablesFlash Modes Auto for low and back lightRed-Eye ReductionFill-In (forced on)Slow Shutter Synchronized (first curtain)Slow Shutter Synchronized (first curtain with red-eye reduction)Slow Shutter Synchronized (second curtain)Off (built-in or external)Flash Working Range Wide: 32" - 13' (0.8m - 3.7m), Tele: 32" - 8' (0.8m - 2.2m)Flash Charging Time Approximately 6 seconds at normal temperature with fully charged battery.Removable Media Card 3v (3.3v) xD-Picture Card (16, 32, 64, 128, 256 or 512MB), Compact Flash Type I or Type II IBM Microdrive 1GB, 32MB xD Picture Card includedSelf timer/Remote 12-second delay/2-second delay (RM-2)Setting Memorization On/Off (Hold changes/ Reset to default settings)Outer Connectors Mini "B" USB connector (Auto-Connect), Video Out, DC Input for optional AC adapterAuto-connect USB Compatible with Windows 98 rev2/ME/2000 Pro/XP and Mac OS 8.6 - OS X 10.2Windows 98 rev 2 driver provided on CDMac OS 8.6 requires USB mass storage driver 1.3.5 available at apple.comDownloading to computer without USB port possible with optional card readersImage Playback Still image: Index display, Up to 4x enlargement with image scrolling, Slide show, Scene rotation, ProtectMovie: Normal, Reverse, Frame-by-frameOperating Environment Operation: 32° - 104°F (0° - 40°C), 30 - 90% humidityStorage: -4° - 140°F (-20° - 60°C), 10 - 90% humidityPower Supply Li-Ion rechargeable battery (BLM-1) and charger (BCM-1) includedAC Power: 7.8V AC adapter (optional)Date/Time Calendar Simultaneous recording into image dateCalendar Automatic up to the year 2099Size 4.6" W x 3.4" H x 2.6" D (116mm x 87mm x 65.5mm)Weight 15.2 oz. (430g)Number of Storable Photos
Quality Pixel Resolution 32MB xD-Picture Card (included) 128MB xD-Picture Card
OIE: SHQ, HQ 3200 x 2400* 6, 16 shots 27, 67 shots
3:2 TIFF, SHQ, HQ 2560 x 1696 2, 10, 29 shots 10, 40, 117 shots
TIFF 2560 x 1920 to 640 x 480 2 to 33 shots 8 to 135 shots
RAW 2560 x 1920 6 shots 26 shots
SHQ 2560 x 1920 8 shots 35 shots
HQ 2560 x 1920 26 shots 105 shots
SQ1 (high, normal) 2288 x 1712 to 1600 x 1200 11 to 64 shots 48 to 257 shots
SQ2 (high, normal) 1280 x 960 to 640 x 480 34 to 331 shots 140 to 1330 shots
HQ 320 x 240 15 fps per movie 33 seconds (33 sec. max per movie) 264 seconds (33 sec. max per movie)
SQ 160 x 120 15 fps movie 148 seconds (148 sec. max per movie) 1184 seconds (148 sec. max per movie)
All capacity figures are approximate.*Optimum Image Enlargement resolutions interpolated from maximum optical resolution of 2560 x 1920.


Olympus C-5060 Wide Zoom Review: Features And Controls

The C-5060 sports a fast F2.8 and WIDE "made to be digital" Olympus 4x zoom lens with 27-110mm focal length coverage (35mm equivalent.) It's an all-glass, aspherical lens that's further enhanced by a digital zoom function with 3.5x possible.

Two new conversion lenses have been specially created for this camera, a WCON-07C 0.7x wide angle and a TCON-17C 1.7x telephoto. They are the first to feature a bayonet mount and can be quickly attached to the camera via the new CLA-7 conversion lens adapter. There are also three different filters that screw on the front of the lens via 40.5mm threads. The UV and polarising filters increase the creative possibilities while the protective filter prevents the camera's lens from being smudged or scratched.

When manually focusing you get an onscreen distance gauge (in feet or meters) and a magnified center view which makes it easier to actually "see" the proper focus. The C-5060 features iESP multi-pattern AF (autofocus) TTL system (contrast detection), Spot AF, Selective Spot AF and Full Time AF. Auto or Manual focus with 240 steps.

The C-5060 has both a passive focus sensor and a low-light AF-assist lamp, it also uses the more powerful AF-assist beams of external Olympus flash units when they're attached. Normal AF range is 31" to infinity, Macro mode is 8" to 31" and the Super Macro coverage is from 1" to 8".

The C-5060 has a large and bright optical finder complete with a diopter control adjustment knob on the side. Unfortunately the coverage of this viewfinder is only about 78-80% of the captured image.

The green LED indicates a focus lock and the amber LED tells you the status of the flash.

Built in multi-mode intelligent speedlight; Auto (automatic flash activation in low light and backlight), red-eye reduction, fill-in (forced activation), Slow Shutter Sync (first curtain), Slow Shutter Synch (first curtain) w/red-eye reduction, Slow Shutter Sync (second curtain), off (no flash).

Working flash range (at ISO 100): Wide angle 32 in. to 18 feet, Telephoto 32 in. to 8 feet. Flash charging time is approx. 6 seconds with fully charged battery. The flash squelches down nicely for macro exposures.

The TTL hot shoe allows the easy attachment of external and more powerful speedlights like the new Olympus FL-50 or the compact FL-20. When using the FL-50, the C-5060 Zoom controls the flash's motorized zoom head, makes use of its longer range focus assist illuminator and turns the power off when the camera is powered down.

Studio strobes can be connected using the optional Olympus hot shoe to PC adapter.

The high resolution 1.8-inch color LCD can be used for preview, review and accessing the camera's menu system.

Here's an animated view of the multi-angle 1.8-inch color LCD monitor as we flip it through the various angles. It can be tilted down to use over your head or it can be tilted upwards and used like a waist-level viewfinder or it can be flipped up 180° and turned to face forwards for self-portrait shots.

When you don't need the LCD or want to protect it, turn the face of the display towards the camera and then close it.

Controls on top: The shutter release has the zoom lens control mounted around it. The zoom lever also functions as the index and zoomed playback control while in play mode. Selftimer/Remote direct button and the Custom direct button (if both are pressed for three seconds all camera settings return to default.) The Mode Dial has positions for Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, My Mode, Movie, Night Scene, Landscape, Landscape+Portrait, Sports, Portrait and Playback mode.

The monochrome data is highly useful but unfortunately it is (still) not illuminated. Come on guys, we've had illuminated displays on other cameras for years.

By enabling the option "Dual Control Panel" in the Setup menu you can have all of the camera and exposure data displayed on the color LCD by toggling the Monitor button. This is a realtime display and changes as you change the various settings on the camera. This display is VERY readable in the dark.


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