Olympus SP-500 UZ review
I must say that this camera surprised me with its image quality and ease of use.
I also have a C-8080 which is an excellent camera for many situations with superb image quality, but the SP-500 fills the gaps at the closest macro ranges and at telephoto shots that the C-8080 cannot do. I also do shots with a Nikon D70 at work now and then and have also tried the Canon 350D with different lenses...
The dSLR:s are faster on focusing than the SP-500 (and C-8080) but it seems it's more like of a hit & miss game with the dSLR:s than with the Olympus digicams.
The 6 MP are enough for clear & crisp shots with very little noise compared to more expensive cameras as eg the noisy 8 MP Canon 350D, and the results are generally great. The SP-500 optics may be softer than top notch lenses, but the SP-500 optics is certainly better than the cheap kit lenses offered by Canon & Nikon regarding sharpness...
It is possible to take good shots at the 10x zoom end too with a steady hand and some support, but quick action shots at 10x is nothing you would use this camera for.
The eyepiece could be much better too, the hole is too small and no diopter adjustment - which is a shame since the EVF display itself is ok, but you can't see it properly. You simply end up using the 2,5" screen instead for most shots. However, that works too.
The use of 4 rechargeable or regular AA batteries is great, since you can always bring cheap extra batteries in case you run out of juice during a hike or such... But battery life is good with this camera so it should be no major problem.
Overall, it is a great camera that produces great pictures for a great price. Will get the TCON-17 tele converter to see how far you can take telephoto with this little beast...
None so far (2 months)