iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Olympus Camedia C-1 Digital Camera

This is a quite pretty baby with a 1.31 Megapixel matrix. Its small dimensions allows you to hold it in a pocket or in a dolly-bag. For today this is a rather simple camera which is convenient to be always at hand to fix all interesting events. The camera is switched on by moving off a lid on the lens. Shooting is easily made with one hand. But additional control buttons such as for navigating the menu are located on the left, and, therefore, intended for the other hand. It might have been more convenient to locate them also on the right to release the second hand. But such layout had its own advantages: you will not press them accidentally during the shooting.

The camera is equipped with a lens with a constant focal length equal to 4.5 mm and 1/ 2.8 aperture ratio. It also has an optical viewfinder and an LCD display. The latter is immovable, and it is hard to distinguish anything on it when sun rays get on it. The camera is connected to a computer via a USB port. There is a video-out and a connector for an external power supply unit. The camera is powered by two AA rechargeable batteries or alkaline cells, or from a proprietary Li battery OLYMPUS CR-V3.

All possibilities of a camera control are demonstrated on the menu below:

A compression degree, the number of frames remained, a flash mode and digital enlargement are displayed on the screen during the shooting.

As for a visual angle, the lens is equivalent to a 35mm one for a camera for 35mm films. In my opinion, it is too wide-angle lens. It should be noted that a rated lens for the given camera is that with a focal length meeting the conditions of a natural prospect. Photos are perceived naturally only if an eye sees an image at the same angle as the object. But on the other hand, tastes change, and today a lot of simple auto cameras have short-length lenses. New criteria for choosing the definite lens must be backed by weighty arguments, which are absent in case of digital cameras, since a 1.3 Mpixel matrix gives a low resolution as compared with a film, and the camera is virtually intended for shooting close-ups and not for a great deal of tiny objects, which get in the field of vision of a wide-angle lens.

The camera is perfectly deals with shooting panoramas, and althogh the matrix is not too big, we can get quite large shots by seaming several frames together.

To estimate the progress made by digital cameras during the last several years let's compare shots of our baby with those made with the advanced camera KODAK DC-120 4 years ago with almost the same matrix.

The DC-120 has significantly more possibilities, and the quality is the same as of the simple C-1.

The camera is completely automatic, but it handles special shooting modes quite good, including the macro, as you can see on the photos.


A diminished photo. Click to enlarge for 1:1.

On the whole, the camera is a classical sample of a digital auto camera class. And it is hard to expect something more of such a compact device. It is possible that cameras of this class won't anymore undergo severe changes since a 1.3- Mpixel matrix is more than enough for the most of purposes. And compactness and a possibility not to think while shooting are the right things a consumer wants.

Technical characteristics

Memory card 3.3V SmartMedia (4,16.32, 64, 128 MB)
File format JPEG (DCF), DPOF support
CCD 1/3.2" CCD with 1.31 million pixels
Frame size 1280X960 (SHQ/HQ), 640x480 (SQ)
Lens F= 4.5 MM, F:2.8 (35 mm in 35mm equivalent), 6 lenses in 5 groups (2 aspheric lenses)
Digital enlargement 1X - 2X
Focusing TTL autofocus (contrast definition), 0.5 m - infinity, macro - 10-50 cm
Exposure control Auto (TTL),
exposure correction +-2EV
White balance Auto, day light, cloudy, incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps.
Viewfinder Optical, LCD display
LCD display 3.8 cm color TFT, 113000 pixels
Flash Built-in, 4 operating modes, 0.2-3.5m range
Series shooting Up to 4 shots at 2 fps
Connectors External power supply unit, USB, video-out (PAL)
Power source Li batteries .CR-V3; 2XAA cells, AC adapter
Dimensions 110X62X34 mm
Weight 165g (without batteries and SM card)

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