Olympus C-8080WZ
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Time goes on in the development of new technologies in photography this is simply a fact. My first digital camera a Casio 3.3MPixel shows that there are areas where the use of digital cameras is much more comfortable than the good old trusty analog film cameras.

The main adavantage of digital imaging IMHO is in the immediate availability of the results for printing, emailing or web presentation. In the year 2004 I decided to upgrade my 3.3 MPixel Casio and Epson from the year 2000 to a camera wich gives very good results for my way of photography.

The Olympus C-8080 WZ got very good (class leading) test results for its fantastic lens these days. The lens was built in the same famous Olympus factory as the very good lenses for the four-thirds system and delivers picture quality on the same level as Canon L glass. I myself did a comparison against a Canon EOS 300D with a 17-40mm L zoom and the Oly in good light conditions clearly shows the better picture quality. For sure the Canon in low light conditions has its adantage, but the Oly has a lens that can be used even wide open (f2.4) with very good results that compensates most of the sensors lack of sensitivity.

Later I also compared the 8080 against a Canon 20d and decided its not worth for me to do an upgrade. The Oly still is full comparable with the best 8 MPixel DSLRs! Up to DIN A3 print size this 8MPixel Oly (and the 8MP DSLRs with high quality lenses) give really acceptable results! 

The Olympus C-8080WZ 8MP sensor is significant lager in size than the most used 5 to 7 MP ones for sure not a disadvantage.

The competitors Minolta A2 (28mm-200mm), Sony F828 (28mm-200mm) and Nikon Coolpix 8700 (35mm-280mm) often added more zoom range to their lenses, but I prefer the 28mm against the common 35mm and especially and over all others the picture quality. I know the many situations in street- and snapshotphotography where 35mm simply isn't wide enough!

So my decision clear goes to the Olympus C-8080WZ (called my "Oly" furthermore). And for sure till today I have not repented the decision!

My Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom from its back side
In the display you can see a life picture of our garden. 
With its magnesium alloy body its of very good mechanical built quality.


My Oly in front view with its high rated 
14 element, 2 aspherical- and 3 ED element lens. 
I removed the sun shade for this picture.
Until the day this shot of my OLY was taken in 2005-09-25 
this camera has recorded more than 12.000 pictures for me.
If I need the best picture quality for landscapes or product photography, I use my Oly in raw shooting mode and therefore apply sharpening and white balance by myself later. I enjoy having the ability to correct aperture (+-1 f-stop sometimes even more is no problem with raw) and light source temperature (for example 5500K for daylight) manual to get the best out of the digital sensor. The Oly has a slow write speed of about 10s on my 1GB Kingston CF cards, but its worth it!  

For snapshot, sports and action photography I use JPEG with the HQ mode wich also delivers very good results, more than good enough for these applications. 

I also use the latest available firmware v757-78. 

Yes the OLY is not a DSLR, but:

it is a solid built camera I can take with me always 

gives a convienient 28mm to 135mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range

good usable wide open apertures from 2.4 to 3.5

delivers picture quality like the best 8MP DSLRs

has a full feature set of manual and automatic modes and raw saving option

a built in flash that is way better than those on the compact IXUS or EXILIM models

has a fantastic macro and even super macro mode that really is hard beatable

has a life view on its tiltable display I have learned to enjoy, a feature that DSLRs (with the exeption of the E330) simply lack

a more or less good electronic view finder but still usable for sports, action and bright sunlight conditions  
(IMHO it still has to less resolution to be a good replacement for a good optical view finder) 

And yes there is a real drawback of this camera for me! I cannot mount my Minolta ROKKORS and my Hasselblad Carl Zeiss lenses ;-)

I use the "whole Kit" the C-8080WZ including the CLA-8 the wide angle conversion lens WCON-08D and also the tele conversion lens TCON-14D extending the range from 22.4mm up to nearly 200mm. Both are impressive pices of glass especially developped by Olympus for the C-8080WZ and very surprisingly to me both deliver really very good results.

My Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom with CLA-8 and WCON-08D

Compare what you have to pay for a 22mm f2.4 Super Wide and also a 200mm with full usable f3.5 for a DSLR?

In my tests for the TCON-14D I found aperture 5.0 to deliver the best possible picture quality, a quality that has given away nothing against a Canon EF 70-200mm L f4 Zoom on a EOS 20D. I love the TCON-14D most for my sports shooting a field where many people in the net state to be impossible with the C-8080WZ. 
But look on some of my sports shots taken during a soccer game with my C8080WZ with a TCON-14D. 

The WCON08D also delivers very good pictures, but you have to pay with additional distortion not unusual in the ultra wide zoom range. But in the digital workflow you can easily remove this distortion and also get absolut astonishing good results (sharpness and contrast are very good!). Again look at my WCON08D review and you can download some original 8MP Oly files taken with the WCON-08D there.

All in all I still love my Oly very much and cannot feel any need to upgrade till now.