Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L Retro Review

In this retro review, we’re taking a look back at the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L, a digital camera that was released back in 1998. Despite its age, the C-800L still has a dedicated following among photography enthusiasts who appreciate its unique features and vintage aesthetic. In this article, we’ll be exploring the history of the C-800L, its key features, and whether it’s still a viable option for photographers in 2023.

History of the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L

The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L was first released in 1998 and was part of the company’s early lineup of digital cameras. It was a relatively high-end model for its time and came with a price tag of $1,499. The C-800L was marketed as a “prosumer” camera, meaning it was designed for serious photographers who wanted the flexibility of a digital camera but didn’t want to compromise on image quality.

Design and Build Quality

The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L has a classic retro design that still looks stylish today. It has a black plastic body with silver accents and a prominent lens that gives it a distinctive look. The camera is well-built and feels solid in the hand, although it’s worth noting that it’s quite bulky compared to modern digital cameras.

Key Features

One of the standout features of the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L is its lens. It has a fixed 3x zoom lens with a focal length range of 35-105mm, which gives it a good amount of versatility for a camera of its size. The lens also has a fast maximum aperture of f/2.0-2.8, which makes it well-suited for low light photography.

Image Quality

The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L uses a 1/2-inch CCD sensor with a resolution of 2.11 megapixels. While that may not sound like much by today’s standards, it was a significant upgrade over earlier digital cameras and produced high-quality images for its time. The C-800L also had a wide range of manual controls, including shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, which allowed photographers to fine-tune their settings for optimal results.


The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L was a relatively fast camera for its time, with a start-up time of around 2.5 seconds and a shot-to-shot time of 2-3 seconds. However, it’s worth noting that the camera’s autofocus system can be quite slow, particularly in low light conditions.

Connectivity and Storage

The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L uses SmartMedia cards for storage, which were a popular format for digital cameras in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The camera also has a serial port for connecting to a computer, although it lacks modern connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Is the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L still a viable option in 2023?

While the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L is undoubtedly a dated camera, it still has some appeal for photographers who appreciate its retro design and unique features. However, it’s important to note that the camera’s low resolution and slow autofocus system make it unsuitable for certain types of photography, particularly sports or action photography.


The Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L is a unique and interesting camera that still has a dedicated following among photography enthusiasts. While it may not be the best option for everyday photography in 2023, it’s a great choice for anyone looking for a vintage camera with a distinctive retro design.


  1. What kind of batteries does the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800

Sure, my apologies for the confusion. Here are some additional FAQs:

  1. Can I still find accessories for the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L? While SmartMedia cards are becoming increasingly difficult to find, there are still some online retailers that sell them. It’s also possible to find replacement batteries and other accessories for the C-800L on websites like eBay.
  2. Is the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L difficult to use? While the C-800L has a wide range of manual controls, it’s relatively easy to use once you’ve familiarized yourself with its interface. The camera has a simple menu system and dedicated buttons for adjusting key settings like ISO and exposure compensation.
  3. How does the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L compare to modern digital cameras? In terms of image quality, the Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L is no match for modern digital cameras, which can produce images with much higher resolution and better dynamic range. However, the C-800L still has some advantages over modern cameras, such as its fast lens and unique retro design.
  4. Should I buy a used Olympus CAMEDIA C-800L? Whether or not you should buy a used C-800L depends on your specific needs and preferences as a photographer. If you’re looking for a unique and interesting camera with a vintage aesthetic, the C-800L is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in terms of image quality and features, you’re better off investing in a modern digital camera.

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