Camera Upgrade – Olympus C5050

I don’t know if I wrote about this on Spiffle… but hey. I’ve changed digital cameras again… I went back Oly way (Olympus).

Since mid 2000, I’ve been using Nikon Coolpix cameras. A brief forray with the Coolpix 950, then a good time with the 990, and since September, 2002, the Coolpix 4500.

The 4500’s an awesome camera, very small and with that amazing Nikon swivel lens design, super tight and vibrant macro mode (down to .75 an inch, and the zoom spectrum is full), magnesium body, and lots of bells and whistles.

Problem is, Nikon went more ‘consumer’ than ‘pro’ with the upgrade from the 990 to the 4500 (the 4500 replaces that 990 model). Little happy face dials for people who want “scene modes”. Smaller size for better pocketability, but no top LCD screen.

And plus, I’m starting to sell more and more photos to magazines and other media, and 4megapixels was still a bit shy.

So when Olympus updated their C series cameras (I previously owned an Oly C2020 back in 1999 and 2000), I had a serious look. I liked what I saw, and I bought. Here’s why.

  • Batteries are AAs (!!!) I have a whack of AA Nimh batteries I can again use.
  • They finally have a macro mode to rival Nikon – down to .8 an inch (just like the CoolPix
  • About 75% of what I want to do is one button or one button / directional pad push away – with the Nikon, I was digging thru lots of menus on the LCD
  • Super, super high speed lens – F1.8 at the wide range, 2.2 at the telephoto.
  • Super high speed electronics to back up that lens – I can rapid fire almost 5 frames a second on high burst mode.
  • Ability to record unlimited length (well, limited by your memory card storage) movies – all other digicams only record to memory limits inside the camera. With my 1gb Compact Flash card, I can record a whopping 2,942 seconds of high quality QuickTime movies with sound.
  •  Can use any flash via the hotshoe (finally, my Vivitar flashes can be dusted off)
  • Speaking of memory – the Oly takes three types, native in the camera – legacy MultiMedia cards, the new XD format, and Compact Flash Type I and II (yah baybee!)
  • Battery life is completely outstanding – one set of four AAs lasted me almost a full gigabyte of photos, with LCD use and some flash – that’s over 250 high res photos.
  • Swivel… sorta. You can now “detatch” the back LCD a bit, and swivel it up for waist shots, or down for overhead shots, and still view the picture taking process.
  • And it has that wireless remote that I sorely missed when I sold my Oly C2020.

I’m having fun with the Oly, but I’m also in a quandry now – I have a perfectly good Nikon Coolpix 4500, still under warranty, with a heap of accessories (including the $250+ fisheye lens which is the thing I’ll miss the most) collecting dust. I’m not even sure I want to sell it, so close is my affinity for Nikon cameras… which is probably why I haven’t put it on eBay. But I really should sell it.

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