At the end of August 2005 Olympus added two more cameras to its 'SP' range of 'creative compacts'; the 8 megapixel SP-350 and the model reviewed here, the 7 megapixel SP-310. The SP-310 - on paper at least - offers a compelling mix of point-and-shoot ease of use and advanced photographic features - including RAW capture - at a very competitive price point. But is it any good? Read on to find out.

Let's start with the main selling points:

  • 7.1 million pixels
  • 3x zoom lens (equiv. 38-114mm)
  • 6.4cm/2.5” LCD monitor
  • Auto, Program, Aperture & Shutter Priority and manual exposure
  • 24 scene modes
  • iESP auto focus , spot with option to select AF area with 143 points and manual focus
  • Super Macro mode up to 2cm
  • Histogram function in shooting and playback modes
  • Recording in JPEG or RAW formats
  • Very long battery life (up to 510 shots)* and uses standard AA batteries
  • TruePic TURBO image processor
  • 32 MB internal memory plus xD-Picture Card slot
  • Movie recording with sound
  • USB Hi-Speed AutoConnect
  • PictBridge compatible
  • Availability of lens converters WCON-07F, TCON-17F and underwater case PT-030

* Under ideal conditions using the included CR-V3 battery pack

Olympus SP-310 Key specifications

Street price • US: $333
• UK: £270
Body Material Plastic
Sensor • 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 7.4 million pixels total
• 7.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 3072 x 2304
• 3072 x 2048 ( 3:2 )
• 2592 x 1944
• 2288 x 1712
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480

Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30/15 fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30/15 fps
• Up to the capacity of the memory card
• QuickTime Motion JPEG
Lens

• 38 - 114 mm (35 mm equiv) 3x optical zoom
• F 2.8 - 4.9
• 5x Digital Zoom

Focus • Spot
• iESP autofocus, AF area is selectable (from 143 points)
• Manual focus with enlarged focusing area
• Macro: 0.2m (W)/ 0.3m (T)
• Super macro: 2cm
Metering • Digital ESP metering
• Spot metering
• Center-weighted
Shutter speeds 15 - 1/2000 (up to 8 minutes in Bulb mode)
Apertures (W) F2.8 - F8.0, (T) F4.9 - F8.0
Image Parameters • Saturation ± 5
• Contrast ± 5
• Sharpness ± 5
• RAW edit
• Red-eye reduction
• Sepia mode
• Black & white mode
Shooting mode

• Program
• Aperture priority
• Shutter priority
• Manual
• Portrait
• Landscape with Portrait
• Landscape
• Sports
• Night Scene
• Night Scene with Portrait
• Cuisine
• Beach
• Snow
• Available light portrait
• Self Portrait
• Indoor
• Behind Glass
• Museum
• Document
• Auction
• Candle
• Sunset
• Fireworks
• Manner
• Shoot & Select 1
• Shoot & Select 2
• Underwater Wide 1 & 2
• Underwater Macro
• 4 My Modes
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 64
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
White balance • Auto
• 7 presets
• Manual (custom)
• White balance fine tuning (7 steps, Red - Blue)
Continuous • High speed mode: up to 2.4 shots per second up to 2 images
• Normal mode: up to 1.5 shots per second up to 8 images
Flash • Built-in
• Modes: Auto, red-eye reduction, fill-in, off, fill in and red-eye reduction
• Range: 3.8 m (wide) / 2.2 m (tele)
• Guide number: 7.5
• Flash output level control (10 levels)
Storage • xD-Picture Card (optional)
• 32 MB internal memory (24MB available for image storage).
Viewfinder Optical real image
LCD monitor • 2.5" TFT LCD
• 115,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Full Speed
• A/V out
• Optional AC adapter C-3AC;
Power • 2x AA battery (NiMH, NiCd, alkaline, lithium) or 1x lithium CR-V3
• Optional adapter
In the box*

Camera
Strap
USB cable
audio/video cable
1 x lithium battery LB-01 (CR-V3)
OLYMPUS Master 1.31.

Other features

• DPOF
• EXIF 2.2
• PIM III
• PictBridge
• AE bracketing
• Optional lens converters WCON-07F & TCON-17F
• AF assist lamp
• Playback and record histogram
• Noise reduction on/off (0.5 second exposure or more)
• Saved image editing
Timelapse (interval) shooting - 2 to 99 shots, 1 to 99 minute intervals.

Weight (excl batt) 180 g (6.3 oz)
Dimensions 100 x 65 x 35 mm (3.9 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area