The Olympus C-7070. What can I say? Probably one of the ugliest cameras ever made. It’s bulky, it looks weird but . . . it handles very well because of the fantastic grip Olympus made on this camera. It also has an optical viewfinder but I must admit I always use the rather small (in 2005 it was ok) LCD display that works pretty well and tilts in various directions so you can easily shoot from the hip or above the crowds. The C-7070 also has a built-in flash (which I hardly ever use) … and let’s not forget: the Olympus C-7070 is built like a TANK.
The body of the C-7070 is made of a magnesium alloy material so you can be sure that it is here to stay. I have used this camera for a long period of time since 2005 and I can say it hardly has a scratch. To further prove its toughness: Magnum photographer Alex Majoli has shot war-photography(!) with the C-5050, C-5060 and C-8080 which are the predecessors / successor to this camera and pretty much the same except for megapixel count. As I said: it’s hard to destroy this one. The only weak spot is probably the lcd display that is made entirely out of plastic.
The image quality is great! The lens of the C-7070 is of very high quality. It is a wide zoom which means that you have the equivalent of a 27mm wide angle lens. The zoom goes to 110mm (35mm eq.) which is not much but great for portraits. It has a 7,1 megapixels sensor which is pretty much enough for big prints which I will probably never make.
Battery and Memory
The C-7070 accepts a BLM-1 lithium ion battery which is the same as used in the E-510 DSLR. This is my DSLR also so I can exchange batteries between the two cameras. Very handy. Furthermore… there is also an optional battery grip for the C-7070. I actually own one but I hardly ever use it. The camera fits better in the hands without the grip. At least that is my opinion. Of course with the grip you have two batteries so it will last much longer. The C-7070 accepts two memory cards: XD cards from Olympus and Compact Flash cards.
I love this camera. It has great image quality. It is bulky and weird looking but built like a TANK! There is also an underwater-housing available. I would really buy this camera and of course I did :) No regrets. If you are looking for a tough serious compact camera with great optics and a wide zoom (27mm in 35mm terms) this one is for you. But…
Since this camera was introduced in 2005 you guessed it right: not available anymore in the stores but you can still buy used ones on ebay etc. In the mean time there have been other great compacts like the Canon S95 which I will talk about later on.