Thursday, April 28, 2011

Retro Digital - The Olympus C5050Z

Light Stalker
Bill Bresler, with his Oly C5050 at the Corner Brewery.

One of my buddies (Bill Bresler) has for years, praised the merits of the Olympus C5050Z, a 5.0 MP that came out in 2002. I admit that when I bought my Fuji Finepix S7000 in 2004, that the choice was between the C5050 and the S7000. I think I chose the Fuji because of its feature set and zoom range, and used it with great success for a year or so, until I upgraded to A Nikon D70s. I always liked the styling of the C5050, as it looks more like a film camera, and it has an optical viewfinder.

With all the advanced features of today's P&S digicams, one might ask why anyone would buy a long-discontinued camera such as the Olympus C5050Z. Well, there are a few reasons to like a camera such as the C5050:
used price -- variable, but $100 or less for what was once the top camera in its class.
optics -- excellent, with a max aperture of f/1.8 at the shortest focal length (which is about equal to 35mm)
optical viewfinder
image size - 5 MP is still plenty big enough for 8x12 prints, and I can choose a 3:2 aspect ratio instead of 4:3, providing me with a 35mm equivalent framing.
external flash shoe -- allows one to use studio strobes and other flashes, if desired.

I also have plenty of 512MB and 1 GB CF cards that can hold a lot of images in a camera like the C5050.

Since I bought the camera from KEH back at the end of March, it's become the one I carry in my backpack. It has a rugged magnesium body, and the controls are easy to navigate, once I familiarized myself with them. It seems to run a long, long time on 4 NiMH rechargeable batteries -- longer, in fact, than my Canon G11 with its LiOn battery. I also have the remote IR shutter release for it, which is really a handy thing to have when its needed.

Yes, compared to current models, the LCD screen on the back is tiny -- but then, it probably uses a lot less power. It does adjust and you can use the camera like a TLR if you want -- try it! With a decent optical VF, I can be pretty sure that what I see is about what I will get -- just like with a RF film camera.

Some sample shots:
North Quad arches
I really like the "whiteboard" mode for making high-contrast B&W images in camera.

Jeff Lamb's wake

wave action!
great wave action in Marquette - a little post-work in PSP

fiddleheads in the backyard

So, the C5050Z has taken all that I have asked it to do, and has produced good results. What more can one ask from a camera?


Bill Bresler said...

Nice post. I had forgotten about that photo. Thanks!

Arash said...

Hi, Very nice blog. I really enjoyed. your works are excellent.

Kourosh said...

Very Nice, also I added u to my bloglist :

Shutter said...

great shots can't wait to see more

Brian Routt said...

If you or your friend Bill would be interested in a 5060 WideZoom, I have one you can have. Local A2 area. I also have an unused waterproof case for it along with original box and a lens adapter.

Mark O'Brien said...

Thanks, Brian. I'll pass your note onto Bill and see if he is interested.