It's not every day you can buy a five megapixel digital camera for around £110 but with the C-180, you can. It has a very simple-to-use ethos thanks to a set of clearly marked ‘one button, one function' controls. There's a slide away on/off switch on the front, a shutter button on the top and a set of simple controls on the back plate accompanying the 1.5-ich colour screen.
A mode dial provides eight subject modes, including a 320x240-pixel movie mode with 30fps shooting ability. Other modes include portrait, snow/beach and spots and landscape modes to name a few and you have an auto and Program setting for point'n'shooting or for a tad more control respectively. There's no manual sensitivity (ISO) control, it's fully automatic between ISO50 and ISO250 adjusted depending on the brightness of the scene you're shooting.
The camera may not have an optical zoom but it does boast an excellent, fast, F2.8 fixed lens with a 36.7mm focal length (35mm equiv.) and while you do get a 4x digital zoom, I don't recommend its use as it just crops the central portion of the CCD.
Olympus's TruePic TURBO image processing helps to get the best from the excellent image quality in terms of colour and processing speed, although the camera cannot be classed as fleet of foot. Having said that, you can shoot up to three consecutive frames in the SHQ (Super High Quality) JPEG mode, 11 in HQ mode.
The C-180 would make an ideal child's gift or a camera ideal for anyone with a penchant for panicking as soon as they see a camera with more than a few buttons. The camera is complete with a built in flash, though it's not particularly powerful; a macro setting that gets you to within a modest 20cm of your subject. The small LCD screen is exactly that but helps keep the price low and while basic it is usable in all but the brightest of direct sunlight.
However it's the picture quality that really shines through for this camera; colour and detail are very good, metering is good too but biased is towards the central area of the frame, so the exposure compensation feature that provides +/-2 EV is most welcome.
Any camera that's easy to use and provides great images big enough to print at well over A3 is nice but one that costs around £110 is quite simply brilliant value for money. It may lack a certain finesse in terms of build but what it lacks there it makes up for with excellent picture quality.
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