When the C-300 was launched last year many complained that it was too large and bulky to be taken seriously as a three million pixel camera. Now its predecessor, the C-350, has addressed style, weight and bulkiness to become a leaner, meaner 3Mp camera.
An altogether slimmer model, the screen has been increased to a large 1.8” display and those familiar with Olympus cameras will be pleased to see the ever present quick view button and d-pad allowing easy access to the menu system. Bar these buttons the C-350 is void of any other controls which serves the target market well.
The camera is one of the new range of Olympus models which ditches the SmartMedia format and has now moved on to take Olympus' and Fuji's XD-Picture Card format and the C-350 comes with a 16Mb card in the box.
Inside, the 3x optical and 3x digital zoom found on the C-300 remain the same, giving you an overall zoom capability of 9x. The camera is powered using two AA batteries. This is similar to most low-end Olympus cameras and this is something to bear in mind when considering future costs.
Images are what you'd expect from an entry-level three mega pixel digital camera. Images lost detail towards the edges of subjects and vibrant colours have difficulty coping next to each other (see Ferrari mechanic's uniform). However as an entry level camera it's good enough to get you out of trouble at parties and social gatherings. Taking pictures at dusk induces Olympus's anti-noise feature and the camera coped well in fading light (see shed right). As for picking up detail in the sky, again the C-350 produced good results.
Overall the C-350 is an everyman camera, nothing special, but nothing too disappointing either and with a price of only £250 makes this a good starting point for anyone hoping to get into the world of digital imaging. Competing in such a tough sector in the market against the likes of the DX6340 from Kodak and the Nikon Coolpix 3100, the Olympus has its work cut out for itself. Does it rate against these two? If you're after size, the Nikon does win, as for image quality they are roughly the same.