Review: Olympus C-4040Z
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Monday, September 24, 2001
Friday, October 26, 2001
($1099) is the first 4 Megapixel camera from Olympus. They've also
released the D-40, a small 4MP camera, as well as the professional
5 Megapixel E-20N. The 4040Z is essentially a 3040Z with a higher
resolution CCD and a few other features. The 3040Z was one of my
favorite 3 Megapixel cameras -- is the same thing true for the 4040?
Find out in our review...
in the Box?
C-4040Z has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
4.0 (effective) Mpixel Olympus C-4040Z camera
CR-V3 lithium batteries (non-rechargeable)
cap w/ strap
featuring Olympus Camedia Master software and drivers
page manual (PDF format) and 49 page Basic Manual (printed)
has been one of the big "offenders" when it comes to the
stuff included in the box. The 3.3MP C-3040Z had a 16MB SmartMedia
card, and so does the 4.1MP C-4040Z. Canon, on the other hand, includes
a 32MB card with their 4MP camera.
complaint is batteries. Olympus includes two CR-V3 lithium batteries,
which do last for a quite a long time. But they end up in the trash
and eventually our landfills. Do yourself and the environment a
favor and pick up some NiMH rechargeables.
manual, while better than those included with older Olympus cameras,
is only available on CD. There's a basic manual which covers, well,
the basics, but if you want to view the whole thing you've got to
load up Acrobat.
minor quibble is the lens cap. While they do include a retaining
strap for it, the darn thing is super-easy to bump off the lens.
on to the good points:
thoughtful folks at Olympus have always included the RM-1 remote
with their higher end cameras, including the C-4040Z. You can control
the camera in both record and playback mode (where it's most useful)
covered Olympus' Camedia Master software in a previous
review. Overall, I found it to be better than the average software
that comes bundled with the camera, but you won't be throwing out
your copy of Photoshop. And you get a copy of Photoshop with the
camera, too -- version 5.0LE. I think you'll like it a lot more
than the Camedia Master Software.
C-4040Z uses what Olympus calls USB AutoConnect. What that means
is that if you're using a modern Mac or Windows system, you won't
need to install any drivers.
4040Z is compatible with Mac OS X.
far as accessories go, the C-4040Z can use a whole lot. That includes
external flashes, lenses, and filters. You may need a step-up ring
before you can use some of these lens accessories.
believe the only change to the body of the C-4040Z over the C-3040Z
is a grip around the lens barrel. I don't find it that helpful in
holding the camera, though (it already was pretty easy to grip).
The camera is a mixture of metal and plastic, and it feels pretty
dimensions of the 4040Z are 4.3 x 3.0 x 2.7 inches, and it weighs
320 grams empty. It's not a big camera, nor is it pocket-sized...
it's right in the middle.
begin our tour of the camera now!
F1.8 "super bright" 3X optical zoom lens, introduced on
the C-2040Z and C-3040Z, promises improved low light shooting. The
focal range is 7.1 - 21.3mm, equivalent to 35 - 105 mm. The lens
is threaded, I believe at 43mm.
little holes just above the lens make up the microphone.
flash seen at the top of the photo has a range of 0.8 m 5.6
m at full wide-angle, and 0.2 m 3.8 m at full telephoto.
If you want to use an external flash, there's a 5-pin flash sync
port that you'll see in a minute.
there's an item missing from the front of the camera, I'd say it
would be a AF illuminator, a small lamp which aids in low-light
the back of the camera, little has changed from the C-3040Z. The
1.8" LCD is very good - bright and fluid, and easy to see except
in direct sunlight. Nose and finger smudges may be a problem, though.
optical viewfinder is large, and has crosshairs for framing your
images. Diopter correction is also available for those of us with
the right of that are buttons for:
flash [rec] / delete [play]
& spot metering [rec] / DPOF print marking [play]
right of that is the four-way switch, used for menu navigation and
changing settings in manual mode.
that you'll find buttons for:
/ OK / Manual Focus
Lock / Custom Button [rec] / Image Protect [play]
"custom button" is set by default to AE Lock, but you
can change it to any number of other functions via the menu system.
down the OK button will activate manual focus. The LCD also shows
a bar with the current focus setting.
top of the camera is familiar territory as well. The LCD info display
shows the items that you'd expect such as quality and shots remaining.
right of that is the mode wheel, which has the following options:
Mode (aperture priority, shutter priority, full manual)
would have preferred to have A/S/M as separate choices, rather than
having to use the menu system to change between them. They definitely
have space available on the mode wheel.
are the options you have in these manual modes:
priority: F1.8 - F10 at wide-angle and F2.6 - F10 at telephoto.
priority: range of 4 sec - 1/800 sec
manual: same as above for aperture; shutter speeds 16 sec - 1/800
above the mode wheel is the zoom control / shutter release button.
The zoom control takes a moment to start moving the lens but once
it's moving, it's smooth and precise.
this side of the camera, you can see the various I/O ports. That
sync (covered up)
you'd like to add an external flash, you'll need the FL-40 flash
as well as a flash bracket, both of which are sold by Olympus. You
can use third party flashes, but Olympus warns against it in the
other side of the camera is where you'll find the SmartMedia slot
(shown here with the included 16MB card). The slot is spring-loaded
so the card comes right out. The door and hinge to this compartment
seems a bit flimsy, though. You can use cards as big as they come,
which as of this writing is 128MB.
finally, the bottom of the camera. Down here you'll find the battery
compartment as well as a metal tripod mount. One of the CR-V3 batteries
is shown at right.
the Olympus C-4040Z
camera takes approximately 4 seconds to extend the lens and "warm
up" before you can start taking pictures. When you depress
the shutter release halfway, it usually takes less than a second
to lock focus. Depressing it fully will yield a photo almost instantly.
In HQ mode, there's about a 2 second wait before you can take another
shot, which is pretty good for such a high resolution camera.
a look at the many resolution and quality options on the C-4040Z,
and how many fit on the included 16MB card.
you can see, there's a whole lot of choices. Do note that full-size
TIFF files take nearly 30 seconds to write to the card, and you
cannot take additional photos during that time. They take just as
long to appear in playback mode.
are actually more photo quality options available that I didn't
put in the chart, since they're "interpolated" to higher
resolutions. In SHQ or HQ mode, you can "enlarge" the
images to 3200 x 2400 or 2816 x 2112. Do note that the quality of
the image will be reduced in the process.
C-4040Z uses the new menu system that was first seen on the C-700
Ultra Zoom. It's harder to pick up at first, but I think you'll
like it more in the end. You can customize buttons and menu choices
for easy access to your favorite settings.
you first press the menu button in record mode, you are presented
with the screen above. The Drive, Quality, and White Balance choices
are customizable, so you could put whatever setting you want in
those spaces. The Mode Menu choice enters the "regular"
menu system at the top level.
the full menu. There are tabs on the left for Camera, Picture, Card,
and General settings. In the main area you'll actually change the
settings. There's lots of button pushing in this system, and I'm
not sure if I like it that much.
a look at all the choices available in the menu, and what they mean:
(Single-shot, sequential shooting, AF sequential shooting,
self-timer/remote shooting, auto bracketing)
(Auto, 100, 200, 400)
(chooses the manual mode to use)
intensity (-2.0EV to +2.0EV)
Flash (internal+external, external only)
flash settings (first or second curtain)
mode (iESP, spot)
after stills (on/off)
with movies (on/off)
helper (requires Olympus-branded SM card)
(black & white, sepia, black board, white board)
movies (on/off) - whether to use self-timer/remote control
with movie mode)
(see chart above)
balance (auto, sunlight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, manual)
balance color - makes color bluer/redder
(hard, normal, soft)
(high, normal, low)
Reset (choose which camera settings are stored, or if they're
all reset to defaults)
View (shows picture after it's taken - on/off)
name (reset, auto)
Cut (lets you customize that first menu screen, as described
Button (change the AE Lock button to something else)
new features to talk about here: pixel mapping, and noise reduction.
Pixel mapping is a feature which removes dead or hot pixels from
your CCD. Olympus recommends running this feature once a year. Noise
reduction starts working on exposures slower than 1/2 sec, and it
helps to reduce, you guessed it, the "noise" that appears
in these shots. Do note that it will take twice as long to record
an image with noise reduction turned on.
of the other features mentioned above should be familiar to DCRP
visitors. The sequential shooting mode can take up to 8 shots at
2 frames/sec, in HQ mode. If you want the camera to refocus each
time, you can turn on AF sequential shooting, though the frame rate
is lowered. The manual white balance feature lets you shoot a white
or gray piece of paper to get better white balance in those places
with strange lighting.
onto our photo tests.
C-4040Z did a pretty good job with the macro test, but how about
those bad pixels? You'll see them at the base of the figurine, as
well as around the "heart". I guess that's where that
new pixel mapping feature comes in handy!
can get as close as 20 cm in macro mode on this camera.
I took the C-4040Z on vacation with me a few weeks ago, I have a
untraditional night shot test for you from Disney's California Adventure.
I can't remember if the noise reduction feature was turned on or
off - I think it was off.
Super Bright F1.8 lens really helps out with shots like this!
also helped with the excellent photo quality on the C-4040Z. Once
in a while I ran into chromatic aberrations (see this picture),
but overall things were very good. Check out the normal
gallery as well as the special Disneyland
gallery to judge for yourself!
C-4040Z's movie mode is exactly the same as on the C-3040Z. That
means you can't use the optical zoom during filming, since sound
is recorded and you'd hear the lens mechanism.
chart below tells you how many seconds of video you can record:
on 16MB+ card
are recorded at 15 frames/second.
about a rarity on the DCRP - an interesting sample movie! I had
one taken during the drop of Splash Mountain at Disneyland but this
one is better.
to play movie (QuickTime format, 2.5MB)
C-4040Z's playback mode covers all the bases. There's slideshows,
image protection, DPOF print marking, zoom & scroll, and more.
camera takes about one second to go between photos. It goes straight
to the high res shot too, no low res image is shown. You can zoom
out to 9 thumbnails at once, or zoom in to take a closer look at
your photo. The zoom & scroll mode, as I call it, is pretty
good - you can zoom in as far as 4X, and then move around inside
the picture. The only wish I have here is that the scrolling around
was a bit snappier -- you've got to hold the four-way switch down
for a bit before it really starts moving.
you want to get more info about a photo, jump into the menu and
choose Info. While not as detailed as some cameras (e.g. no histogram)
, I think most users will be happy with the information given.
Does it Compare?
Olympus C-4040Z is a worthy 4 Megapixel successor to the already
excellent C-3040Z. There aren't a whole lot of new features, but
the pixel mapping and noise reduction are two much-needed ones.
Image quality and the feature-set of this camera are first rate.
My only real complaints are about the poor bundle and the new menu
system. If you were to compare the camera with Canon's PowerShot
G2 or Sony's DSC-S85, I'd probably rank the Canon first, and maybe
a tie with the S85 for second place. The Canon has a few more bells
and whistles, and with its CompactFlash Type II slot, it can hold
a whole lot more photos than a SmartMedia card or Memory Stick.
But either way you choose, you win -- so I'd check out all three
and pick your favorite.
Bright Lens means better low light shooting
white balance (and everything else)
for external flash (requires a bracket though)
pixel mapping, noise reduction features
I didn't care for:
optical zoom in movie mode
rechargeable batteries included;
manual is on CD
system can be confusing
4 Megapixel cameras you'll want to consider include the Canon
PowerShot G2, Casio
FinePix 6900 Zoom (not really 4MP but still worth a look), Olympus
Zoom and E-10,
DSC-S85, and Toshiba
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the C-4040Z and its competitors before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our regular and Disneyland
a second opinion? How about a third?
sure to read Steve's
Digicams review of the C-4040Z. If that's not enough, the
Resource has one too.
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for
a personal recommendation.