review has been finished using a production model camera.
Product shots have been updated where necessary, and all
sample photos are from this
year 2003 brings us two new Ultra Zoom cameras from Olympus.
The C-740 Ultra Zoom (see
our review) and C-750 Ultra Zoom (reviewed here) share two
major changes: a new ED (extra-low dispersion) lens, and a more
compact body. Both use Olympus' new xD Picture Card format for
storing photos. Unlike the C-730, these two new models do not
C-750 Ultra Zoom has even more features than the C-740. It offers
a 4 Megapixel CCD, a hot shoe, and sound recording.
a chart detailing the differences between the models:
the "old days", there wasn't much competition in the
ultra zoom arena. That is changing, with Fuji, HP, and Toshiba
getting into the act. That's good, because it means that consumers
will get better products.
C-750UZ is the highest resolution "big zoom" camera
out there. Is it the ultimate ultra zoom? Find out now...
the cameras are so similar, the C-740 and C-750 reviews will
share a lot of text.
in the Box?
Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom has a very good bundle. Inside the box,
4.0 effective Mpixel C-750 Ultra Zoom camera
xD Picture Card
NiMH AA batteries
featuring Olympus Camedia Master software and drivers
manual, fold-out Quick Start guide, plus full manual on CD-ROM
has improved the bundle on the C-750UZ since the C-730UZ, at
least in the battery department. Instead of the usual non-rechargeable
lithium batteries that the C-730 had, you'll get four 1700 mAh
NiMH rechargeables. Olympus does not publish battery life information,
but I can tell you that it will vary depending on what battery
you use. I'd buy them as powerful as you can -- at least 20000
you're in a bind, you can use either AA alkaline or CR-V3 lithium
batteries to get through a day of shooting.
it's time to charge the batteries, just use the included battery
charger. This isn't a fast charger -- it's an "overnight" charger.
include 16MB xD card is pretty skimpy considering the resolution
of this camera. You'll definitely want to buy something larger
right away. 512MB xD cards will soon be available.
C-750 has a smaller body than its predecessors
includes a lens cap and retaining strap, to protect that 10X
nice item included with the camera is the "classic" RM-1
remote control. It can be used for taking pictures or showing
them off in playback mode.
are a number of accessories available for the C-750UZ. You can
add wide-angle ($200), telephoto ($160), and macro ($140) conversion
lenses, but you'll need to buy the CLA-4 lens adapter ($26) first.
If you want to use an external flash, Olympus sells the FL-40
($500) or the more basic FL-20 ($199). A flash bracket and flash
cable are also available.
accessories include an AC adapter ($60), camera case, and numerous
all of Olympus' recent cameras, the C-750 is fully compatible
with Mac OS X and Windows XP. Most likely, you won't even need
to install drivers.
C-750UZ includes Olympus' new Camedia Master 4.1 software. This
is a dramatically improved version of their photo viewing/editing
software that they've been including for the last few years.
editing tools included with Camedia Master are impressive. You
can change all kinds of things like brightness, contrast, and
color balance. There are also red-eye reduction and "instant
software is much more responsive than the previous versions.
My only complaint is that the interface is non-standard on both
Macs and PCs.
$20 more (groan), Olympus will upgrade you to the "Pro" version
of the software. This adds contact sheet printing, image e-mailing,
HTML albums, panorama stitching, and slide shows.
(unfortunately) with recent tradition, Olympus only includes
a printed "basic" manual in the box. If you want to
view the full manual, you need to look at the PDF file on the
CD. Once there, the manual quality is about average.
the C-740 and C-750 are smaller than the C-730 they replace.
While the C-740's body is a mix of metal and plastic ,the C-750
goes one step further by having an all-metal body.
camera is too large to be called pocket size, but it's still
small considering the size of the lens. You can use the camera
with one hand or two. I did find the right hand grip to be too
small for my taste.
official dimensions of the C-750UZ are 4.2 x 2.6 x 2.7 inches
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions), and it weighs about 305 grams
empty. For the sake of comparison, the C-730's numbers were 4.2
x 3.0 x 3.1 and 310 g, respectively.
start our tour of this camera now:
the C-740 and C-750 use a new 10X ED lens. The ED (extra-low
dispersion) lens elements help reduce the purple fringing normally
seen on "big zoom" cameras like this. This
F2.8 - F3.7 lens has a focal range of 6.3 - 63 mm. That's equivalent
to 38 - 380 mm.
lens is not stabilized, so you'll need a steady hand or tripod
to take shots at full telephoto. There is only one camera currently
on the market with a stabilized lens: the Panasonic
the top of the photo, you can see the C-750UZ's popup flash.
There's a button on the top of the camera that releases it. The
working range of the flash is 0.3 - 4.5 m at wide-angle, and
1.2 - 3.5 m at telephoto. The C-750UZ supports an external flash
via its hot shoe. More on that in a bit.
above-left from the lens is the self-timer lamp / remote control
receiver. On the opposite side of the lens is the microphone.
the C-750UZ lacks an AF-assist lamp.
the back of the camera. The C-750 has a smaller-than-average
1.5" LCD display. The resolution is high, and images are
bright and fluid on the screen. Like with all LCDs, it can be
hard to see outdoors.
the upper left of the photo, you can see the electronic viewfinder
(EVF). The EVF is not a traditional viewfinder that you're probably
used to -- it's more like a little 0.44" LCD display. An
EVF is a mixed bag: you get to see what the CCD sees (thus, no
parallax error), and menus and settings can be viewed on it.
The negatives include increased power consumption, and difficult
viewing when it's too bright or too dark. I'd rather have a real
optical viewfinder myself, but all these ultra zoom cameras use
EVF here is about the same as others I've tested. The resolution
isn't nearly as high as the main LCD, but images move smoothly
-- not choppy like on EVFs. The EVF has a diopter correction
knob for those without perfect vision.
three buttons to the right of the EVF serve multiple purposes,
depending on which mode the camera is in. From left to right:
- Remote control
- Macro mode
- Macro + spot metering
(Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, forced, slow sync)
to the right of those buttons is the release for the pop-up flash.
the main LCD are the power and "custom" button. The
custom button is AE lock by default, but you can change it to
almost anything you like. In playback mode, you can use this
button to rotate photos.
the right of the LCD, you'll find the usual four-way switch,
with the OK/Menu button in the middle. Besides operating the
menus, the switch is used for changing the shutter speed and
aperture while in the manual modes, plus exposure compensation
(±2 in 1/3 increments).
and hold the OK button and you will activate the manual focus
feature. You can then adjust the focus yourself, using the four-way
switch. The camera enlarges the center of the image on the LCD/EVF
so you can make sure the subject is in focus. There is also an
indicator showing you the current focal distance.
final button on the back of the camera is the Disp(lay) button,
just below the four-way switch. This turns the LCD on and off
(the EVF is always on in record mode). Press this button twice
quickly (which is harder than it sounds) and you'll enter playback
on to the top of the camera now. Normally, I'd complain about
the lack of an LCD info display up here, but since you're forced
to look at the main LCD or EVF, it's really not needed.
big new feature here is the hot shoe, as I mentioned earlier.
It supports Olympus' own FL-20 and FL-40 flashes, plus third
party flashes as well. Do note that if you use a non-Olympus
flash, you'll need to use both the camera and the flash in manual
zoom controls are perfectly placed, and they operate the 10X
zoom smoothly (though noisily). The zoom is quite responsive
-- you can move from the wide to tele position in just 2 seconds.
You can also make precise adjustments to the lens by just slightly
pushing the zoom controller. I didn't find the zoom to be terribly
responsive -- there was always a lag before the lens starts moving.
items on the mode wheel are the same ones that were on the C-730.
of those items are what we call "scene modes". You
pick a scene and the camera uses the best options for that situation.
Self portrait lets you turn the camera on yourself (a scary thought).
record is pretty much point-and-shoot. You can't change many
program mode, you have full control over everything except the
shutter speed and aperture.
aperture priority mode, you choose an aperture, and the C-750
picks an appropriate shutter speed. The apertures available range
from F2.8 - F8, depending on the zoom position.
priority mode is just the opposite; you choose the shutter speed,
and the camera selects the aperture. The shutter speed range
is 1 - 1/1000 sec. I wish Olympus would open up the full shutter
speed range, instead of cutting you off at 1 second.
get at those longer shutter speeds, you need to use full manual
mode. Here, you set both the aperture and shutter speed. The
aperture range is the same, but the shutter speed range changes
to 16 - 1/1000 sec.
Mode" is a feature that I wish more cameras had. This mode
allows you to store your favorite settings for easy retrieval.
For me, that's SHQ, ISO 100, no flash, with all other settings
normal. The C-750 can store four different sets of settings in
have more on movie and playback modes later in the review.
this side of the camera are the I/O ports, found under a fairly
sturdy plastic cover. The ports are DC in (for optional AC adapter),
USB, and A/V out.
old C-730 used to have a flash sync port, but that's missing
on both of the 2003 Ultra Zoom models.
the left of that is the speaker.
the other side of the camera, opened up.
C-730 was sort of an "in-between" camera with regard
to memory cards. The C-750 completes Olympus' transition to xD
for their Ultra Zoom line. In other words, while the C-730 could
read both SmartMedia and xD, the C-750 reads xD only.
can also see the included 16MB xD card as well. It's tiny!
here is the bottom of the camera. Down here you'll find the battery
compartment as well as a plastic tripod mount (boo!). The C-750
uses two CR-V3 or four AA cells.
lock on the battery compartment door keeps things from falling
the Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom
C-750UZ takes a fairly sluggish 5.5 seconds to extend the lens
and "warm up" before you can begin taking pictures.
speeds seemed a little slow, with the delay being just under
a second in most cases. If the camera has to hunt a bit, it will
be longer. Low light focusing wasn't great, due in part to the
750's lack of an AF-assist lamp.
terms of shutter lag, there isn't very much at fast shutter speeds.
When you start approaching "tripod speeds", it becomes
of info on the LCD/EVF in record mode, including a live histogram
speed was quite good, with about a 1.5 second delay between shots,
assuming you have the Rec View feature turned off.
and quality settings are pretty complex on the C-750UZ, as you'll
photos on 16MB card (included)
x 1520 (3:2)
x 1520 (3:2)
x 1520 (3:2)
you know why I suggested buying a larger xD card! As you can
see, there's a TIFF mode. Unless you're a real perfectionist,
using JPEG mode is fine. Do note that the camera will be locked
up for over 20 seconds every time you take a TIFF image.
I didn't list it in the chart, in SHQ and HQ modes you have the
option of saving images at 3200 x 2400. That involves interpolation,
and your images will lose quality as a result.
uses one of the better file numbering systems that I've seen.
Files are named Pmdd####.jpg, where m is the month (1-9, A-C),
d is the day, and #### is 0001-9999. This way your file numbers
are always unique (well, for one year at least). File numbering
is maintained as you erase and switch memory cards.
C-750UZ uses the recent, customizable Olympus menu system. When
you first open the menu, you're presented with four choices:
like those choices? With the exception of Mode Menu, you can
put other items in this menu.
Mode Menu is where most of your options are, and it can be a
little intimidating at first. Here are the menu options:
(Single-frame, sequential, high speed sequential, AF sequential,
auto bracketing) - see below
(Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400)
- switches between aperture priority, shutter priority, and
full manual modes
Mode (1, 2, 3, 4) - choose from four sets of camera settings
that you have saved
strength (-2.0EV to +2.0EV, 1/3EV increments)
slow sync (1st curtain, 1st curtain w/redeye reduction, 2nd
reduction (on/off) - reduces noise for shutter speeds 1 sec
zoom (on/off) - using the 4X digital zoom will reduce the
quality of your images
AF (on/off) - keeps the image in focus at all times. Puts
extra strain on batteries.
mode (iESP, spot)
macro mode (on/off) - more later
- helps you make panoramic shots. Requires Olympus-branded
in 1 - two shots in succession combined into one
(Off, black & white, sepia, white board, black board)
- various photo effects
Area (on/off) - lets you choose the AF target by using the
four-way switch. Must put camera in spot metering mode first.
(on/off) - toggles info shown on LCD/EVF
(on/off) - toggles live histogram on LCD/EVF
annotations (on/off) - add 4 second sound clips to each
photo you take
Balance (Auto, sunlight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent x3,
balance compensation (-7EV to +7EV in 1EV increments) - fine
tune white balance
(-5 to +5, increments of 1)
(-5 to +5, increments of 1)
(-5 to +5, increments of 1)
(the interesting ones, at least)
reset (on/off) - retain settings after camera is powered
(English, Français, Deutsch, Español)
on/off setup - choose startup screen/sound
View (on/off) - shows image after it's taken on LCD
(30 sec, 1, 3, 5, 10 min)
Mode setup - save your favorite settings for easy retrieval
naming (Auto, reset)
mapping - helps eliminate "bad pixels"
brightness - affects both the EVF and main LCD
output (NTSC, PAL)
cut - configure the first page of the menus, as I explained
button (AE lock, info, ISO, P/A/S/M, digital zoom, quality,
white balance) - customize what the AE Lock button does
further explanation is required on some of those. First, the
drive options. There are three continuous shooting modes. Regular
sequential mode will lock the focus and exposure settings on
the first shot, and will take up to 8 shots at 1.3 frames/sec.
High speed sequential works in the same way, just faster (1.8
frames/sec) and with fewer shots (only two). AF sequential mode
will redo the focus and exposure for each shot, which slows the
rate down considerably (figure just under 1 frame/sec).
bracketing will take 3 or 5 shots in a row, each with a different
exposure compensation value. You can set the EV increment (±0.3EV, ±0.7EV, ±1EV)
in the setup menu.
fine-tunable white balance lets you make the white balance redder
or bluer. It's almost impossible to have bad white balance with
enough about menus. Let's take a look at some photo samples now.
750 turned in a sharp, though somewhat noisy, night shot from
atop Twin Peaks. There's a bit of purple fringing, but much less
than I expected. Do note that you'll need to either use night
scene mode or full manual mode to get the longer shutter speeds
like the one used above (3.2 sec).
macro test shot came out very well. What impressed me most was
the smoothness of the subject. The colors were accurate, and
the noise levels were low.
C-750 has two macro modes. Regular macro mode gives you a focal
range of 7 - 60 cm at wide-angle, and 1.2 - 2.0 m at telephoto.
Super macro mode will lock the lens in the "sweet spot" of
the focal range (somewhere in the middle), allowing you to get
as close as 3 cm to your subject.
was a tiny bit of redeye in the test shot, but it's pretty minor.
What's left can be cleaned up in software.
distortion test shows moderate barrel distortion at wide-angle,
and no vignetting (dark corners).
I'm quite pleased with the photo quality on the C-750UZ. The
noise levels seem to be much lower than other recent Olympus
cameras, giving image more of a smooth look (though they're still
sharp). Color and exposure were both very good. Purple fringing
is lower than previous Ultra Zoom models, but it's not totally
just take my word for it though -- have a look at the gallery and
decide for yourself if the 750's photo quality is right for you.
movie mode on the C-750UZ is much better than on older Ultra
can record for as long as there is space on the memory card.
For the included 16MB card, that's 46 seconds at 320 x 240. Get
a 32MB card and the number jumps to 93 seconds. And so on. Use
the smaller 160 x 120 resolution and those numbers are 187/374
are saved in QuickTime format, with a 15 fps frame rate.
zoom lens can
be used during filming.
an unexciting sample movie for you:
Click to play movie (3.0MB, QuickTime
Can't play it? Download QuickTime.
C-750 has the standard (and very good) Olympus playback mode.
Slide shows, DPOF print marking, thumbnail mode, and image protection
are all available.
zoom and scroll feature is here too, allowing you to zoom in
as much as 4X into your photo, and then move around in it. The
performance of this feature could be better.
other handy features are image resizing (to 640 x 480 or 320
x 240), trimming, and rotation. The trimming (cropping) feature
in particular is well implemented. You can resize the cropping
box and move it around. Hit okay and a new image is saved.
an image is a piece of cake -- just hit the delete button on
the back of the camera. You can delete one photo, or all of them
-- but not several at a time.
you don't get much information about your photos in playback
mode (above left). When you want more info, you can turn on "info" in
the menu, or better yet, the histogram feature (above right)
between photos on the camera is fairly quick: it takes about
1.5 seconds to load another photo.
Does it Compare?
those people who want a high resolution camera with a big lens
and lots of controls, the Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom is the best
there is. It offers very good photo quality, with less noise
than other recent Olympus models. The new ED lens elements reduce,
but do not eliminate, purple fringing. The camera has full manual
controls, though I don't like how the full shutter speed range
is locked out in shutter priority mode. Other nice features include
a hot shoe, above average movie and playback modes, a customizable
menu system, and a super macro mode for ultra-closeups. The "My
Mode" feature, which lets you quickly access your favorite
settings, is a nice touch as well. Negatives about the C-750
include slow AF performance, the lack of an AF-assist lamp, a
sluggish zoom controller, and the tiny 16MB memory card bundled
with the camera. While not perfect, the C-750 is one of the best
cameras of its kind, and is well worth a look.
you don't need the hot shoe, sound recording, remote control
support, and 4MP CCD, consider the similar C-740
good photo quality, less noise than earlier Olympus models
purple fringing than earlier models
manual controls, including white balance which you can fine
buttons and menus
store four sets of your settings
shoe for external flash
mapping feature blocks out bad pixels from CCD
I didn't care for:
performance could be better (an AF illuminator would help too)
difficult to see in low light
some purple fringing (really hard to avoid on these big lenses,
controller a little sluggish
shutter speeds only available in full manual mode
metal body, but plastic tripod mount
could be better (larger xD card, full printed manual)
other big zoom (7X or greater) cameras with 4+ Megapixels include
Photosmart 850 (8X), Minolta
DiMAGE 7Hi (7X), Nikon
Coolpix 5700 (8X), and the Panasonic
Lumix DMC-FZ1 (12X).
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try
out the C-750 and its competitors before you buy!
out the photo gallery for this
a second opinion?
Feedback & Discussion
you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking
for a personal recommendation.
discuss this review with other DCRP readers, please visit our forums.