Olympus C5050z digital camera resource

Latest additions: Nov. 16th, 2006
Nov. 16th: Auxiliary lenses section updated
Nov. 16th: more photos about how to repair the mode dial
Sept. 4th: RAW section updated
July 20th: Links section updated
May 14th: Technical data and user manuals section updated

Apr. 5th: RAW and Camera control sections updated
Mar. 13th: underwater photography section updated


Contact & Questions

For questions and comments send me an email or use the form below. If you have very specific questions about the Olympus 5050, I'd suggest that you put them in the

Olympus 5050 user group


Technical data and user manuals





User comments


Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 user group

Sample images

Note: this is simply a collection of links to Olympus 5050 samples posted by Olympus 5050 users. Some of the links below may no longer be active (most were added at the end of 2002 or early 2003).


General tips


White balance settings


Camera exposure modes


Noise and JPEG file size

  • What follows are the results of a test I conducted.
  • Noise is measured with the standard deviation in an image area with homogeneous colour (see the image to the right).
  • In the test noise and file size are measured at different ISO and sharpening settings.
  • I did the test with two scenes (results on this page are shown only for one scene).
  • The complete results are available here.


Noise vs. sharpening level and ISO

Test details available here

RAW file format


Memory cards




Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 user group

Macro and Supermacro


Chromatic aberrations / Purple fringing


Polariser filter and other filters


Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 user group

Infrared photography with the Olympus 5050


Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 user group

Auxiliary lenses



External flash


Controlling the Olympus 5050 with a computer



Travelling and storage


Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 user group

The camera bag I'm using

I'm reusing the bag I used for the 4040 (as most other accessories I used with the 4040). It's a relatively compact bag from Cullmann (next to it a CD to get an idea of the size). The bag can also be carried with a belt. The inside of the bag with the 5050 with CLA1, polariser filter and lense cover; next to it a transparent plastic container (originally this was the container of the polariser filter) in which I put the Smartmedia cards. The smaller side bag (with a zip) contains two sets of spare batteries, the remote control, a lens cleaning stick and a tiny tripod.



Underwater Photography


Data recovery / Smartmedia problems


Noise reduction



Exposure information data (EXIF)


Panorama shots



Linux and the 5050


Replacing the mode dial on an Olympus 5050


Astrophotography with the Olympus 5050


What follows is a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) compiled by Jens Birch, based on questions asked in the Olympus 5050 users group.

Q: Can I update the Firmware? Will it improve the timelag between pressing the button and exposure?
A: Olympus never released any official firmware for the C5050 and they claim that you can't do it yourself. Also, there are no observed improvements for the user with the higher versions firmware. However, there is a 'Pirate' copy of firmware v.82 and do-it-yourself instructions available at: http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/c5050/

Q: Can I use a linear polarizer with my camera?
A: Yes. You can use either linear or circular polarizers. Circular ones are needed for most autofocus SLR cameras (not the Olympus E-10 and E-20 though).

Q: How can I avoid the annoying beeping sound when turning ON by mistake?
A: Turn mode dial to GREEN ARROW...it works every time! You can also use a sufficiently long lens tube (does not work for the 8080 without vignetting).

Q: How can I obtain exposure times longer than 4 seconds or shorter than 1/1000 second?
A: You must have the camera in manual (M) mode. To obtain 1/2000 sec., you must use f/8 on the C5050. In P, A, and S modes, you can only access the shutter times in the range: [1/1000 sec. - 4 sec.].

Q: How can I reduce the noise that I see in many of my images?
A: The C5050 is known to have a too high sharpening of the pictures by the default settings. You can reduce the "Sharpness" to between -3 and -5

Q:How can I speed up the time it takes for the camera to take the picture after I press the shutter button?
A: There are many things you can do:
  1. You can be prepared beforehand by 1/2-pressing the shutter button (and keeping it 1/2-pressed) while aiming at the subject before the actual moment when you want to take the picture. The autofocus (AF) and the aperture will be set and the camera will then take the picture with no time lag when you press the last 1/2-way.
  2. By having the LCD switched on, the time to activate the cameras AF and metering will be reduced by about 2 seconds.
  3. Set the camera to manual focus (MF) at the subject distance you intend to take the picture at. This is most easily done by aiming at an object at the distance you want to use and 1/2-pressing the shutter button. While keeping it 1/2-pressed, press the AF/Macro/MF button. That fixes the focus at the desired distance and the camera is set to MF. This will significantly reduce the shutter lag.
  4. Set the camera to manual exposure (M) which further reduces the shutter lag.
  5. When it is tricky to catch the moment, use Hi-drive sequential shooting and start taking pictures just before you think the action starts. Use the optical viewfinder in order to follow the action when the camera's LCD is occupied while taking the pictures.
  6. Turn off the "REC-view in the "SETUP" tab in the "Mode Menu". That will minimize the time that the just taken picture is displayed and you will be ready for the next shot as soon as possible.
  7. Use fully charged batteries if you are using the on-board flash. Otherwise it takes a long time to re-charge.

Q: How can I stop the camera from entering sleep mode after 3 minutes?
A: Plug in an external DC power unit or a battery pack. You can also excercise the zoom a little now and then with the remote control. Note that later versions of the C5060 firmware makes the camera fall asleep already after 30 seconds.

Q: How do I copy between cards in the camera?
A: Change the Camera to Playback Mode, press OK, press right, go to the Edit menu, press right, go to the Copy button, press right, select "All" if you want to copy all otherwise go to "Select" to copy single pictures. Press OK when you want to copy.

Q: How do I switch between the xD/SM and the CF cards when transferring the images from the camera?
A: The camera uses the card that was selected when it was connected to the USB port. To switch card, you must 1) prepare your computer to safely disconnect the USB drive (camera). 2) pull the USB cable from the camera, 3) press once at the CF/xD-SM button to select the other card, 4) reconnect the camera.

Q: How do I tell what firmware version I have?
A: One way of doing it is to open a picture in a text editor such as Notepad, and search for the string "v558". The number of the firmware version follows right after that; for example, v558-77 means you have version 77. A second method is, when viewing an unedited image in Windows XP, right click on on the image, then click on properties, then metadata, and it should be listed. A third method is to run the firmware update utility but do not update and it will tell your your firmware version in the camera.

Q: How do I use a polarizing filter to best effect?
A: The LCD normally compensates for the brightness of the scene which makes the effect hard to see. To see the effect on the LCD you must circumvent that compensation by locking the automatic exposure temporarily. You can do that in two ways, either by pressing the AEL button once or by keeping the shutter button 1/2-pressed. Now, while the exposure is locked, rotate the filter and observe the effect on the LCD screen, when you are satisfied with the effect you must press AEL again or release the 1/2 half pressed shutter button in order to re-activate the exposure meter (to get a correctly exposed picture). If your polarizing filter feature a little knob or a white dot, you can get maximal effect without looking at the LCD by rotating the filter until the knob/dot points towards the direction where the sun is on the sky (as good as you can). This is useful in sunny days when viewing the LCD is difficult.

Q: How high flash trigger voltage is the C5050 capable of handling?
A: Several independent Olympus' tech staff stated that they will survive 300 V trigger voltage. (See e.g., posts #9105, #19780, and #30782 in the Olympus 5050 users group.) However, one Olympus techie recommended to stay below 10 Volts (post #31361) and another said that "the voltage could not be concealed to the public". We have not had any high trigger voltage damages reported so far (July 2004). Note: a minimum of 6 Volts trigger voltage is also recommended by one Olympus representative.

Q: How to RESET my camera?
A: A "soft" reset to factory default shooting settings, but without changing date and file-numbering, is done either by simultaneously pressing the "self-timer" and "custom" buttons or by setting the "All Reset" to ON in SETUP in MODE MENU and then restarting the camera. There is also a "hard" reset which basically restarts the "firmware" (the program that runs the camera) and wipes out the on-board memory. NOTE: This reset is intended for technicians to use. This is done by: putting the camera in M mode, opening the memory door, turning the camera on and then hold the "OK" and "Quickview" buttons simultaneaously for 3 seconds. Select "Reset" in the menu that appears and press "OK".  A similar reset is obtained by leaving the batteries out of the camera for a long time (12-24 hours).

Q: My camera gives out-of-focus images. What is wrong and how can I avoid it?
A: The camera is by default set iESP focussing which automatically selects what is most important to focus on. Often, the camera decides that a contrast-rich background is more important than the subject. Set the camera to "Spot-autofocus" by pressing the "OK"-button while holding down the "AF/macro/MF"- button and select "spot" with the selection wheel. That will make the camera to focus in the center of the scene. Another possibility is that you set the camera manually according to the distance gauge which isn't accurate at all.

Q: What is a lens tube?
A: A lens tube is the tube you attach to the camera body at the base of the lens; add-on lenses and filters can be attached onto the other end of the tube. For the C5050 the thread on the camera body is 41 mm and he Olympus lens tube is the CLA-1 has a 43 mm filter thread. Olympus also sell the CLA-5 which is a CLA-1 plus a 43-55 mm step up ring. Note that only certain 43 m filters will work together with the CLA-1 on the C5050 (see another FAQ about that). 
Alternatively, you can get third party lens tubes from Raynox, Soligor or Tiffen with standard filter threads that accepts filters as well as third party auxillary lenses. More info is compiled in the document: 'Lens armour_adapter tubes.doc' in the 'Files' section of the Olympus 5050 users group and at http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/c5050/lens-adapt.html.

Q: What memory card is the fastest for my camera?
A: Generally a fast (faster than 17x) and large (256 Mbyte or larger) card of a good brand (like Lexar, Sandisk Ultra, Transcend, and Ridata) is recommended. At about 17x, the camera electronics becomes the bottleneck for the C5050.

Q: When is it beneficial to use a polarizing filter on my camera?
A: If a polarizing filter is rotated to the correct angle, it will reduce light reflections from wet surfaces, asphalt, glass etc. or darken the blue sky but leaving the white clouds essentially bright. You also use it to reduce haze and glare in misty or polluted air conditions. You can use it all the time but it will steal about 1-2 f-stops of light and it will not have any noticeable effect in other situations than the above mentioned.

Q: Where is the nodal point located?
A: Distance from the center of the tripod socket:

Q: Which 43 mm filters work with the CLA-1 adapter on the C5050 without lens crash?
A: Kenlock UV filter, Hama UV filter, Hama HTMC circular polarizer, Hoya HMC (multicoated) clear, HMC Skylight, and HMC UV filters, Soligor circular polarizing filter.

Questions ? Comments ? Put them in the Olympus 5050 users group




Olympus 5050 Photo Galleries


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