Olympus Camedia C-370 Zoom review

3.5 out of 5
£120

For

Size and simplicity plus ease of use combined with a great price for 3 Megapixels

Against

Image noise and the lack of custom setting modes make for only slight frustration

The C-370 is about as basic as a digital camera get without being so automated it even takes the shots for you. The little brother to Olympus' 4MP C-470 it is however styled completely differently, sharing not a jot with the bigger camera's design and styling.

The C-370 has a very basic specification and simple to use ethos that shows this is an ideal digital camera for technophobe among you. Priced at a remarkable (for a 3MP digital camera) £119.99 this camera looks almost to good to be true.

Special help menus help to explain what each of the camera's four scene modes do, each picked with a small mode dial positioned to fall nicely under the right thumb. You get a fun movie mode offering 320x240-pixel movies with sound to the limit of the xD Picture card storage. Exposure control is run through an accomplished Program Auto exposure mode that provides true point and shoot ease of use. The stand out feature on the C-370 has to be its great 2cm macro mode, it works well and provides stunning, frame filling close up capability.

Scene modes are portrait, self-portrait, night scene and landscape, each selected by the user dependent on what they're going to photograph. The 3x zoom lens has an unremarkable 38-114mm focal range, but it's more than adequate for the likely user for this camera and has a respectably fast F2.9 maximum aperture. PictBridge direct print support allows direct printing with compatible printers without an intervening PC.

There's a couple of problems however, the most irritating of which is the lack of a custom set up feature that allows you to set the camera for repeated use within the same mode; it always ‘resets' back to the default settings. This means you have to repeatedly set the camera up again, each time you turn it on, even quality setting aren't saved.

Picture quality is reasonable at best, there's a fair amount of noise though, particularly in the blue channel and the camera's processing algorithm seems unable to deal with it.

However, it's not all bad news, the largest print size likely to be printed from a camera such as this is never likely going to be bigger than the 6x4-inch area and at that size, noise problems are not intrusive allowing for nice looking prints.

Verdict

A combination of ease of use, simple specification, nice handling and a super price make this camera good value for its target audience. Problems with image quality probably won't become an issue considering the price and sheer pocketability of the C-370.