Olympus SP-500 UZ review

Started Jul 2, 2006 | User reviews thread
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John Erhardt
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Olympus SP-500 UZ review
Jul 2, 2006

I had previously owned a C770UZ and was partial to Olympus and the UZ line of cameras. When my 770 packed it in, I decided to go for the SP500. Based on some reviews that I saw on the web (most negative) I thought with an open mind that I would give this camera a go.

One word sums up my short experience with this camera: disappointed.

Olympus has certainly cheaped out on this camera. The C770 was a solid camera, albiet with 4MP, it had a number of features that were not passed to the SP500 - namely the Hot Shoe and Remote Control (what good id BULB mode without a remote control?). All items that a Pro-Sumer camera of this nature should have. Another thing that didn't transfer over was the large EVF screen - the SP500's EVF is like looking into a tunnel and has no dioptre on it.

Using the same lens configuration from a camera almost 3 years old kind of ticked me off too. It's like Olympus thought we are all stupid and just repacked the C series camera in a fancy black plastic wrap for us to buy again.

Another item lacking is image stabilization - wow, it is more noticable on this camera than it was on the C770; unless you are shooting on an extremely sunny day and your shutter speed is 1/800 or higher, than forget about a steady shot (unless you use a tripod, and who want to lug a tripod everywhere?).

Images aren't too great - I had an SP350 and SP500 at the same time. Sure the 350 is 8MP and the 500 is 6MP, but taking the same shot with the same settings produced such an amazing difference in the image, it was clear that this camera was not up to traditional Olympus calibre. Purple hinting was everywhere when using the zoom. Even in RAW format, the images were a little better but that was because of a fabulous RAW plugin by Adobe. Saving the images is another thing - this camera is SLOW in writing to the xD cards (even with the 'faster' cards). If shooting in RAW, better expect to wait 10 secs before you can take another picture!!

I used this camera for about 3 weeks and decided that if I want a long zoom, the either I will wait for Olympus to introduce image stabilization or purchase a DSLR in the near future.

The 2.5" LCD is an improvement, however the resolution is so low, that reviewing an image may or may not help you in determining if the picture actually turned out or not!

Dissappointed, because I did like the UZ line from Olympus, but they sure need to get with the times for the price this camera is.

Problems:

- No remote
- Purple Hinting when zooming
- Small EVF
- No dioptre
- 4 AA batteries make this camera heavy
- Cheap Plastic feel (unlike the C770)

John Erhardt's score
3.2
Average community score
4.4
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