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Camedia C5000 has what most are seeking in a digital camera

More than a few friends and colleagues have asked me recently which digital camera to buy. They have tended to want to print 8-x-10-inch photos, spend less than $500 and be able to slip their new toy into a shirt pocket.

While the Olympus Camedia C5000 Zoom Digital Camera ($400) is a bit big for carrying in a shirt pocket, it otherwise pretty much fills the bill for anyone who wants quality in a small package under $500.

The Camedia C5000 is a 5-megapixel camera with absolutely wonderful optics. Its digital images can be printed up to 11-x-14-inch size and are sharp and colorful.

And if you don't like what you're seeing on your monitor after you've begun firing away, the camera has 12 shooting modes, such as a super macro mode which allows you to focus in to an object an inch away from the lens, and full manual control so that you can make adjustments in exposure and sharpness.

In addition to its photo capabilities, it also shoots brief QuickTime movies.

You can add an external flash with the hot shoe or use the built-in flash, which produced nice indoor pictures at a recent party.

While I am a fan of compact flash cards, the Olympus XD card that ships with the camera offers solid performance. Moreover, unlike the old Smart Media cards, the XD cards are being created with capacities up to 512 megabytes right now - and might reach capacities of 8 gigabytes in the future. So you can buy a large-capacity card if you're going on vacation and want to keep shooting for weeks.

I'm not excited by the proprietary rechargeable battery. But it's fair to say that since I misplaced the recharger, I have been able to shoot dozens of photographs without having to charge up the camera. That speaks well of a battery.

Information: 800-622-6372 or www.olympusamerica.com.

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