Give the SP550 sometime
I am a die hard uzi fan and owner.
Been waiting for Oly to have the guts to take up the uzi+stabilizer challenge. I have to admit there was a long while I thot Oly not going to do it anymore as they cannot/will not license the IS technology from Canon or Panasonic. BUT now finally they got down to do it but some disappointments follows.
I am yet to get my hands on one yet but heard quite a bit here. However, if we all cool down and analyses its strengths and weaknesses, it really starts to feel like an uzi's grandson. I think it is important to understand that within Oly some correct voices are heard that they are back! We should keep in mind the following:
1) Are the current limitations in software or hardware?
This is VERY important! In all these flux of digicams, we tend to forget that the 1st and foremost the camera got to have good hardware ie. good optics and mechnics and handling. That's why til today I like the uzi, it has good optics. Next is the sensor and this however is closely tied to the processing algorithm. I want to remind that when Sony first joint this superzoom market with F707, their over-saturated red was also much criticised even when set to -3 in the digicam. Of course later Sony corrected the problem with F717 and more importantly firmware for F707.
So can the current SOFTNESS problems with SP550 be corrected with firmware? I am not in a position to say so but would HOPEFULLY guess yes since it is not that there were no sharp pictures taken.
2) EVF - most said resolution average but bright. Well the uzi EVF has exactly same character! It turned out that most uzi owners use the EVF afterall. What is different today is that due to the boom in PS digicam, there are many new photographers out there who started with LCD right away. I remember the debate back then about EVF vs Optical VF. I came from a 35mm DLR user and I thot I will prefer Optical VF but it turn out that for travel photography, I like the uzi EVF better because it allows you to shoot at darker condition which an optical VF cannot allow you to see as there is no boost in light.
the DCRP reviewer who says the EVF magnifier feature was a copy of Panasonic which copy Sony is not entirely correct. This feature was ALREADY in uzi C2100.
3) Under-saturated - this has been the character of Oly esp. the uzi and honestly some people really prefer the Sony saturated approach but there are many like me who prefer the Oly underhand approach esp. when one presents a lot of pics on TV or projectors, they turn out really nice. Personally I think Canon IXUS got the best balance.
4) focusing - I have to wait til my hands-on to give meaning comments. But please understand that focusing algorithms are complex problems because each type of techniques has its pro and cons against different type of subjects. Just to list some, one spot, multi-spots, contrast (vert or horizontal), etc. The uzi seems to have an over-simplified one spot focal area but because its algorithm is so straight forward that when you know the camera well it is almost spot-on! But when it was being reviewed when released, it was considered so-so!
From what I hear so far, the optics in SP550 seems to be good. Let us do most tests with the SP550 and register all in this forum so that Oly could hear us and maybe post the correction!
~ ~ Uzi 119703405 since dec 2001, Merely a View