Compacted in a rather small if not heavy case, the C-50 is no slouch when it comes to offering the photographer what they want. For starters the camera boasts five mega pixels, a 3x optical and 5x digital zoom and if that wasn't enough, it's all contained within a brushed metal casing.
The camera uses a rechargeable Olympus Lithium Ion battery with the charger included in the box. Images can be saved to the 32Mb xD-Picture card included in the box. The xD-Picture card is Olympus and Fujifilm's new memory format and is roadmapped to a whopping 8Gb on a card the size of a postage stamp.
For such a small camera, Olympus rather than try to reduce the amount of buttons on the rear has decided to include everything they possibly can, and while this does make for ease of use without having to rely on the 1.5" LCD display it can be overwhelming.
Inside, the camera offers plenty of chance to manually-adjust the cameras settings, such as aperture, shutter and white balance and this is sure to appeal to the enthusiast wanting more out of their point-and-shoot camera. The camera does come with the standard array of Olympus pre-programmed settings and this is sure to get you out of trouble in most occasions. The night scene setting is particularly good, and does a good job of removing excess noise from the image (see image right).
Images were very competent, full of detail and bright - benefitting from the f2.8-4.8 lens the camera is adorned with - but then again, this is a five mega pixel camera. Colours were vibrant, coping well with contrasting colours and the macro mode produced good results (see red phone box). During testing we did find some lag in taking the image, the image being stored and the camera then ready to take another image - probably due to the file sizes that you're saving. This as you can imagine can cause problems when you trying to take an action shot or moving object (see cyclist picture right).
When this camera was launched before Christmas 2002, this was a small and powerful camera that offered a lot to the point and click enthusiast who wanted more control over the cameras settings. The C-50 puts the power of a profession high-end digital camera into the body of point and shoot and while the end result is very good, you can't help wondering whether or not a 5 mega pixel camera is just too powerful for the market this camera is aiming at. Time marches on for all technology though, so while we were wondering about this six months after the product's launch, Five Mega Pixels has gone on to become one step above midrange with six waiting to launch around Xmas 2004.