Olympus SP-550 UZ review
I bought this camera to replace a 4.1 mp C-750.
I needed something relatively inexpensive to take on a trip to Europe, and I wanted it to use standard AA batteries. I did not want to take my DSLR, so this was the best option for me.
This camera takes great photos in normal to average settings. I am also surprised at how well it performed at high ISO levels. I used it to take photos of a High School Chorus performing in several Abbeys and Cathedrals around Europe. In many cases I had to use ISO 800 and 1600. ( flash photography was not allowed) The camera also has an Auto High ISO Setting so you don't have to leave the camera set at 800 or 1600, it will use the appropriate setting .
The pictures, though a little noisy, came out much better than I expected.
The photos, especially daylight outdoors, were on par with photos from my Nikon D-200, in some cases better.
The battery life is excellent. Uses 4 AA batteries and I got over 600 shots on one set.
I almost wish I had purchased the SP -570 UZ, but I wanted a camera that I could afford to loose or have damaged and not get too upset. The price was right on this one. However, after using this camera, I am really getting attached to this camera.
It is a great all purpose camera for an experienced user. I would not recommend it for a beginner. It was great for wide angle group shots, and long range shots of Cathedral Ceilings and building features. I took several outdoor shots at the 17X -18X range and they came out just fine most of the time. In lower light, the auto focus does hunt, as reported by other posters, so you have to allow time for the focus to lock in. I probably shoud have switched to manual focus.
Image Stabilation is easy to activate on this camera. There is a dedicated button near the control dial that activates that function without having to search through the menu.
This camera also has a great color viewfinder with focus control, and a very high resolution LCD screen to review your photos.
If you are looking for a great all around camera, this will serve that purpose well, if you are an experienced user.
If you are beginner, read the manual and experiment with the camera before you need to take critical shots.
It will not fit in most pockets, so this is not a pocket camera, but if you have a Photo Vest, or coat with large pockets, it will fit.
Also keep in mind, it is not a DSLR and your results will not equal that of a good DSLR, but sometimes they will be close. For the size,weight and cost of this camera, performance is very good.
I only have two complaints about this camera.
Olympus now uses a proprietary USB connection and you have to now keep up with the cable that came with Camera. In the past, I could use any USB cable with my Olympus Cameras.
Not sure why they did this, but that is a definite downer.
Also, the battery meter icon does not give a true indication of how much power is left. During two shooting sessions, the batteries just died after a couple of shots event though the battery meter showed full power.
This is a problem if you are trying to coordinate /plan your shooting schedule and battery changes. I was taking photos of the London Symphony Orchestra in a dark concert hall. I checked the batteries before the lights went out and the battery meter showed full, so I didn't change them. After about 15 shots , the batteries died and I had to use another camera. ( It was too dark to make a change)