Undoubtedly the key feature of the Olympus C-750 is the huge 10x optical zoom lens. This is ideal for sports photography or getting close to camera-shy subjects. We’d expect a lens of this size to introduce severe chromatic aberrations, but Olympus has used extra-dispersion lenses, which make sure light is evenly distributed across the CCD.
We noticed slight chromatic aberrations in our indoor photo, but this was much reduced with forced flash, and outdoors and in general use the problem wasn’t apparent. Fujifilm’s S5000, which also shares a 10x optical zoom, suffered more.
Sharpness, contrast and saturation are all adjustable, but the former shouldn’t need to be altered, as images were perfectly sharp (except for the expected fall-off in the corners) thanks to the optics and 4-megapixel CCD working well together. Colours were well saturated and neutral too, with the auto white balance showing it skilled at its task.
The C-750 slightly underexposed the portrait shot without the flash, but the fill-in flash provided a much better exposure. Colours outdoors were accurate, as were skin tones, and the macro ability left the S5000 standing – the C-750 captured just 49 x 37mm.
Where the Olympus falls behind the S5000 is its design. Buttons have too many functions and menus are hard to navigate. Thankfully, you can customise menus and a user profile allows you to save settings such as flash mode, whether to use the 180,000-pixel EVF or 1.5in LCD, plus all the exposure and quality settings. Also, the exposure lock button can be reprogrammed – we found it useful to set it to the live histogram.
The C-750 also comes with an infrared remote for shutter release and zoom control, while a hotshoe means you can easily attach an external speedlight. The $20 price difference between the S5000 and C-750 is irrelevant when you consider that Olympus bundles 1,600mAh AA batteries and a separate charger – the Fujifilm has none.
The S5000 matches the C-750 with unlimited movies at 320 x 240 and a RAW capture mode, but can’t equal the Olympus’ maximum resolution of 2,288 x 1,712 for stills. A 3:2 ratio is yet another bonus, but you’ll soon fill the 16MB xD-Picture card when shooting at four megapixels.
The S5000 might be considerably more attractive and feel more comfortable in use, but the C-750 is the clear choice if you’re after a big zoom on a budget.