Camera man

Digital camera fans will want to covet the new Olympus Camedia C-3040. Not since the Polaroid has photography been such a laugh. All right, there is the Lomo with its snappy happy appeal, but the pleasure here is definitely in the instantaneous result you get with digital. It is a case of point, autofocus, zoom and shoot – and the image is there in immaculate colour on the back of the machine.

Design-wise, the Camedia could be almost confused with the legendary Brownie. Viewed from the front and side, the camera has a harmless-looking, almost cheap, black boxy plastic shell, and before its lithium batteries weigh it down, it is pretty lightweight. Adding to the retro look is the inevitable silver metal ribbon around the circumference of its modest lens. And there are neither the buttons, speed dials, aperture symbols, or any of the other markings of masculine ‘tech culture’ here.

Its rear side is a different story altogether. The viewfinder is made almost redundant by the 4.5cm display screen which completely changes how you take shots or film. The side doors conceal ports for download leads and a slot for the memory card on which you store your images.

The beauty of the design – the product’s essence – is right there. There is no film, no development, just images straight to your computer desktop at very high resolution. And installing the software is simple too.

The memory card supplied holds about 30 seconds of rolling footage, if video is your thing. But a snappy approach works best with the C-3040. Forget experimenting with aperture, light and speed – there are some things best left to the SLR (single lens reflex). There is room for experimentation though – you can get black and white, sepia and whiteboard or blackboard effects, whatever they are. Retouch, edit and falsify images at your leisure or e-mail your friends with boring shots of your cat.

The Olympus C-3040 is available in stores now and retails at £799.99. For stockists call 0800 072 0070

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