Olympus SP-550 UZ review
Just attended the sp550 training with Olympus in Singapore. While the instruction could be improved, these are a few things I learned;
i) Use the P mode, as you get more flexibility and control what you want to do. if you do not know how, instructor says to use auto.
ii)Auto mode has some problems with high zoom, because the focus iESP, i.e. intelligent focusing, which does create problems. Using P mode, and using AF (autofocus) and spot focusing, you can get pretty good images, by changing the ISO to higher (e.g.200) or by keeping ISO at auto, but using sports scene mode.
iii)to get fast shots, like racing, use the multi-shot mode. There is also the pre-capture mode, which allows you to shoot before the fast object comes into play. This way you can get very fast objects shot, like F1 racing. Haven't tried that yet, but needs to get more practice.
iv)in P mode, there are lots you can do, eg. AE bracketing, i.e. take 3 shots at different lighting setting, automatically, and select the best.
v)there are more features than most users can use.
Overall, I rate this a 5.
vi)image quality with zooming. Excellent in P mode, and in good lighting. In low lighting, use sports scene (i.e. running icon on camera), it will take some time to process.
Like the person in the forum before me, I also have used the 750uz, and hence, liked the SP550 for its high zoom, and good pictures at low lighting. Sales person in Harvey Norman showed me Sony H9, Panasonic FZ8 and Canon 5SIS shooting in dark (they used a dark box with a cat inside). Even the 750uz shots were much better than Sony's night shot setting (which was green).
Hence, I got a good bargain from someone who did not like the "slow response" and "focus error in zoom".
Overall, a good travel vacation camera. However, the image, like Sony, Panasonic and Canon zoom cameras, cannot match DSLR. I use the E-510 DSLR ...image is superb. In good lighting, not much difference between sp550 and DSLR in computer screen viewing.
I think the problem lies with Olympus not educating its customers well, who has therefore many complaints. The second problem is the settings in Auto is also not correct in zoom mode. Hence, in the sp560, they avoided that by shortening the zoom to 450? mm.