Users Speak Out About the Olympus C-8080 Digital Camera
by Ben Stafford -  7/27/2005
Welcome to another installment of "Users speak out..." This time, we're going to take a look at the Olympus C-8080. The opinions will be chosen based on the value of the information (in our opinion) to our readers. We won't necessarily pick only the "positive" opinions or only the "negative" opinions. We'll pick the opinions that we think will be most helpful to you as you shop for and compare cameras. To see all opinions, click through to the product detail, and click the "View Opinions" link.

The Olympus C-8080 packs and 8 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, and you can store images on either xD or Compact Flash memory. The 1.8 inch LCD is articulated to let you rotate for the best viewing angle.

ergonomics are great!
Pros: The number one feature for me is the ergonomics of the 8080 and it is the best improvement by Olympus so far. At the end of the day I was zipping through ISOs, macro/normal, flash/no flash, auto/manual focus, reviewing recently shot pic. etc. without ever taking my eyes off the viewfinder. It's set up so that you don't have to go through millions of menus, but you can if you want. Learning curve is no problem if you've owned e-20, 5050 or 5040 and they've made an effort to make the manual on the CD-ROM clearer. The 8 mp does make a big difference compared to 5mp of 5060 or E20. Big 13 x 17 images are absolutely no problem. I could see the difference immediately just by looking at the thumbnails in Photoshop File Browser. Another big plus (especially living in the southwest, where there is too much light) is the LCD which is clear and readable no matter what the situation.

Cons: Start-up time, shooting and focusing were great but only after I spent time reading the sections in the manual and setting up the camera accordingly. The electronic viewfinder takes some time getting used to and I disabled the feature where you view the pic. right after you've shoot it so as not to get dizzy. Not a big issue as there is a quick-view button to quickly review the pictures you've just shot. If this camera had a manual zoom like the E-20 it would be the absolute perfect camera. I would not recommend this camera to anyone shooting fast moving or sports photography. Too much electronic zooming and focusing. However, wonderful for portraits, macro, and landscape photography

Best designed camera I've ever owned.
Pros: The camera was designed with the prosumer in mind. It has all the key features needed so that I only need to take one camera when I travel. I especially enjoy the close-up or macro focusing features. The end results using a tripod are stunning. The camera is very fast in recycle time. I especially like being able to use either the viewfinder or monitor when shooting and reviewing saved photos. I have been involved in photography for almost 40 years and have own almost as many cameras and I must say that the Olympus C-8080 is the best handling camera with the most complete set of usable features I've ever owned. The instruction manual is extremely well done and covers all the camera's features in a very thorough manner.

Cons: The on/off button is located where the shutter button is usually located. I've turned the camera off several times when trying to take a picture. This could be a problem when there isn't time for a second shot.

Excellent, but ...
Pros: High quality product. Excellent pictures. Strong and very well finished camera casing. Easy to use. (Note: some reviewers complain about the complexity of the menus. This is true: menus are rather complex. But with the MyMode option you can keep your most convenient settings.) Fast start-up.

Cons: 400 ISO is not sufficient to make most indoor pictures, so you must use the flash (which is not very powerful + creates shadows). I was also surprised by the shutter delay: according to reviews it should not be noticable, but it is still longer than I expected. Storing RAW and TIFF images takes very long. In short: excellent camera (I'm happy with it), but you must know where you want to use it for (and consider the other 8 MPX cameras when choosing).

incredible picture quality
Pros: 1) incredible picture quality, resolution, color balance 2) manual controls for everything available 3) movies with sound as long as the card has memory 4) less purple fringing on high contrast shots than any other camera I have used 5) fat32 CF formating 6) magnesium case and great build quilty 7) battery life: at 834 shots I have yet to find the limits of battery life 8) the lens: the big lens gives great low light performance 9) fantastic auto-focus performance

Cons: 1) slow CF write speed. This camera will not utilize the full speed of a ultra CF card. I microdrive would be a better choice in MB/$ for this camera 2) ungodly slow RAW performance (due to the slow CF write speed) 3) camera locks durring RAW file write 4) zoom is locked while in movie mode

All I Want is - Picture Quality
Pros: I've read a lot of reviews about the cons for the C8080. ( Slow on writing Raw files, LCD is limited to Up and DOwn Position only.. etc...) But, Once you compare the picture quality with other 8MPs, You'll find the c8080 has the sharpest, most film-like touch of feeling.. I've had Sony 828 and just can not stand its Noise. I trade in for a Minolta A2, and I Just can not believe it's a 8MP, Picture is Soft and saturate. Well.. It's been 4 months and Now I'm taking my C8080 wherever I go. Oh.. Did I mention the Battery life ? I only charged it twice for the past 4 month !!!!!!!

Cons: Well, A Manual Focus Ring will be nice !!

Good but not quite good enough
Pros: Let me qualify the title comment by saying that in many ways this a great camera for the right type of user. That type of user isn't me and I see it as a step backward from my previous C-5060 in a number of key areas. In short: 1. Superb build quality and a good solid feel to the camera body. 2. Ergonomics generally excellent apart from the couple of things mentioned below. The side mounted one touch and rotate the jog dial buttons are very good and simple to use. 3. Image quality (as we've come to expect from Olympus) is awesome. Despite several attempts to introduce unwanted artifacts, I've yet to see any in over 3,000 images taken. 4. The movie mode takes surprisingly good short clips and if you assign one card (in my case the xD) to that function then the output is usefully good. The QT format is a slight drawback as you'll need the full QT version to actually convert them to a more user friendly format so they can be edited but I was pleasantly suprised with the output when I did. 5. Excellent white balance compensation. 6. Good value for money against the (often flimsy) competition. 7. Excellent quality from the EVF makes it the first really useable one I've ever seen. 8. Excellent control over the camera functions - it might take a little while for users from other brands to become familiar but previous Olympus owners will welcome the familiar interface.

Cons: 1. There are a couple of ergonomic glitches. It's too easy to actually activate the power button accidentally, the shutter release button is too far forward for a comfortable camera grip (and not where every other Olympus one has been) and the fixed LCD is a pain. 2. The AF can be slow which wouldn't matter too much if it wasn't for the crazy manual focus system. I'm all for innovation in camera design but when the rotating focus ring has worked so well for so long why would anyone think using a set of arrow buttons is a better idea? It's unintuitive, slower to use than the AF (which is damnation in itself) and practically pointless. 3. It's slow. Slow to focus, slow to write files, slow shot to shot time, slow reviewing images even; and in this respect it lags (pun intended)behind some of the competing product. Overall this is a camera for the photographer with plenty of time to compose and take shots. If you want to capture anything moving (unless it's a snail) forget it. To me it is a great pity as the rest of the features and the outstanding image quality could have made this one superb prosumer point and shoot.