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My First Muse: The Olympus C-2100UZ

Posted on 01-22-2013 in Influential Photo Gear

My biggest step forward in photography has been the transition from picture-taker to photographer, and the biggest impact in this transition came from an Olympus C-2100UZ. It provided me with the opportunity and gratification I needed to realize that there could be more to my photography than the classic tourist photos of standard memorable subjects. It had such an impact that, in time, I gave it to my sister in the hope that she would be equally inspired.

The C-2100UZ (Ultra Zoom) was one of the first digital long-zoom Point-and-Shoot cameras. For me its main features are:

  • an image-stabilized all-glass aspherical zoom (35mm equivalent 38-380mm)
  • f/2.8-f/3.5 lens system
  • a 2 megapixel, 1/2-inch CCD sensor
  • 1/2-1/750 sec. shutter speed
  • and 100, 200, 400 ISO.  

(Click on the images below to enlarge)

Moss Coating a Tree

 Digital cameras produce images cheaply enough that taking multiple shots of the same scene is reasonable. The “uzi”, as it is affectionately known, produced photos that were clean and crisp enough that photography became pleasant for more than recording places and events. And its incredible (for that day) zoom allowed me to experiment with framing a scene. I quickly found taking pictures and critiquing the result to be enjoyable, and a learning experience. I first realized the possibilities during a driving vacation down the coast and up the middle of Oregon. While touring waterfalls along the Columbia River I saw images that captivated me. I found that framing the scene with the long zoom let me recapture the images that gave me that “wow” moment. Taking several shots with varied framing helped me see what best recaptured the original emotional impact. From someone who normally shot one or perhaps two rolls of film per vacation, I started shooting about a hundred photos each day. And critiquing them each evening.

Water Falling Down Stone
At the Bottom of the Waterfall

As the trip went on I still took the standard photos, 

Crater Lake
Mount Hood

 but I also found other images I wanted to save:

At the Portland Japanese Garden

And on later trips I continued to find captivating images:

Raindrops on Plumeria Blossoms (St. John, USVI)
Sunset Over St. Thomas (St. John, USVI)

After four years I moved on to a new camera, ultimately graduating to a DSLR (Pentax K100D). I have continued to refine my technique, with the same original goal – to preserve images that captivated me. I have started to experiment with manual focus, shutter, aperture, and sensitivity (ISO) control; and, with some reluctance, with post-processing (with some inconclusive forays into RAW). I plan to continue trying to capture images that please myself and those close to me; and I hope to become better at it by expanding and improving my skills and my knowledge of photography.

- Vramin74

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UncleRed [Delete] Feb 26th, 2013 12:25PM

The C-2100 was actually my 2nd digital camera with the C-2020 being the first. I still have the UZI but don't use it anymore. At 2mp it takes some of the most amazing photographs, I even had a poster made 20x30 although not perfect it was very adequate.

I always found it very difficult to take a bad photo with it......

wolffy [Delete] Feb 18th, 2013 9:09AM

Good story, It was a fantastic camera. The UZI was my first move from a P&S to a "serious" digital camera. That $500 was a bit hard to come by. I still have my UZI, it hasn't been used for awhile but maybe I'll dust it off put in some AA batteries and see if I have any way to read those smart-media cards.

Vramin74 [Delete] Jan 22nd, 2013 7:45PM

Thanks for the kind words. As I look at these shots, I feel I should be doing better with my K100D. I still get some shots I'm proud of, but my hit rate went way down. The Oly was so good I didn't have to shoot well, just see the possibilities and compose well. There weren't/aren't many as good as the Oly.

Thornplayer [Delete] Jan 22nd, 2013 12:56PM

Great images thanks for posting. My experience is similar to yours. This was my first digital camera and I graduated to the K100d via a Panny FZ20. The Uzi rekindled my interest in photography after a few years in the photo Doldrums. I got used to the big zoom range though and I blame this camera for me having to have a Bigma with my k5 today.

dshombert [Delete] Jan 22nd, 2013 9:48AM

Nice photos, you've done well. I also started with this camera, and I've always been a little sorry that I sold it. When I look at the shots I took with it, I'm surprised at how sharp they are. These days, we tend to think that 2 megapixels would be totally inadequate, but that is not the case.