Olympus SP-310 Review
Timing & Performance
Although it rarely feels sluggish, the SP-310 is by no means the fastest camera in its class. That said, there are only one or two areas where this really shows itself; focusing and shutter lag aren't great, meaning the SP-310 isn't the best camera in the world for rapid shooting, and focusing in low light can be very slow indeed outside the 1.0m or so reach of the AF illuminator. Flash recycle is also on the long side, and if you shoot more than four SHQ images in a row you hit the buffer limit, which really slows things down. The slow xD picture card read / write speeds mean scrolling through images can feel slow in playback mode, and the time taken to empty the buffer after a burst of shots in continuous mode feels like an eternity. At the end of the day, however, this is a camera that offers a lot of features at a very keen price, so you can't expect miracles, and in most everyday shooting situations it won't let you down.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3072 x 2304 SHQ JPEG image (approx. 3,800 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.6 *1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||3.1|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.7|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||1.6|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens already retracted||~ 0.2|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~ 0.6|
|Mode: Record to Play||2.5|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.3|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||~1.2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||2.5|
|Play: Thumbnail view||2 x 2 thumbnails||~0.7|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||~1.6|
|Play: Thumbnail view||4 x 4 thumbnails||~3.3|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||38 to 114 mm (3 x)||1.2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.6 *2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.6 *2|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||~0.15|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||Viewfinder||~0.1|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.6|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.5|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.8 *3|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (with red eye reduction on)||4.9|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (with red eye reduction off)||6.9|
|*1||This is the time it takes for the preview image to appear - you cannot actually take a picture until around 3.2 seconds after you've pressed the 'on' button.|
|*2||In low light or when the subject lacks contrast the time to focus can stretch to as much as 1.6 seconds.|
|*3||Until the buffer is full (four shot in SHQ mode)|
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. The media used for these tests was a Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The SP-310 has three burst modes; standard, high speed and 'AF'. The standard burst mode manages a best performance of around 1.7 frames per second (though at some file size / quality settings this drops to as little as 1.2 fps). The number of shots in a burst depends on the image size/quality used, and appears to be limited only by the size of the card once you drop to 2MP or below. The High Speed burst mode allows you to take two shots in rapid succession (though i'm not sure what the value of a burst mode that only takes two shots is...), and the AF mode - which is much slower - refocuses between each shot (in the other modes focus and exposure are fixed at the first shot). You cannot use RAW mode in any continuous drive mode.
Frames in a burst *1
|3072 x 2304 JPEG SHQ||Burst||1.7 fps||3 or 4||~10.5s delay *2|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG SHQ||Burst-High||3.3 fps||2||~7.0s delay *2|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG SHQ||Burst-AF||0.7 fps *3||4||~10.5s delay *2|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG HQ||Burst||1.2 fps||15||~14.0s delay *2|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG HQ||Burst-High||2.5 fps||2||~7.0s delay *2|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG HQ||Burst-AF||0.7 fps *3||15||~14.0s delay *2|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||Burst||1.3 fps||31||~16.5s delay *2|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||Burst-High||2.5 fps||2||~7.0s delay *2|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||Burst-AF||0.7 fps *3||33||~16.5s delay *2|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||Once the buffer is full no more pictures can be taken. The figure shown is the approximate time you have to wait before the next full burst can be started. You can actually take one picture after around 7.0 seconds|
|*3||Speed varies according to focusing speed.|
Obviously most buyers of the SP-310 are unlikely to be looking for class-leading continuous shooting performance, and if they are, they're looking in the wrong place. The main issue is the size of the buffer and the relatively slow write speed of xD-Picture Card (though I'm sure there are faster xD cards around). All that said, for a camera at this price point it's a perfectly acceptable level of performance.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card.
Time to store
Time to display
File size *1
Images on a *2
|3072 x 2304 RAW||~9.8||~8.0 *3||10,470 KB *3||48|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG SHQ||~4.0||~2.3||3,791 KB||99|
|3072 x 2304 JPEG HQ||~2.5||~1.2||1,520 KB||293|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||~2.1||~0.6||600 KB||652|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
|*3||The SP-310 offers the option to save a JPEG file with each RAW image. These figures are for RAW files only (i.e. with this option turned off). The save time increases slightly if you turn on the JPEG option.|
The slow read/write speed of xD-Picture card is obvious when you look at these figures - just over 1MB per second is hardly class-leading. That said, the only time this is an issue is when shooting in RAW mode, as the files are too big for the buffer, meaning they must be saved directly to the card, which locks up the camera for just under 10 seconds after every shot. If you do shoot raw - and there are some compelling reasons to do so for 'special' shots - you'd better not want to take them in rapid succession. The buffering works perfectly well for JPEGs, though it's only large enough to hold four SHQ files, after which there is a delay whilst some of the data is written to the card.
Thanks to Google Assistant integration, the Pixel 2's AI-powered 'Google Lens' camera feature will soon be easier and quicker to use.
Photographer Jenna Martin and her model friend Rachelle Kathleen set themselves a challenge: could they create beautiful portraits in an 'ugly' location? So they went to a local Lowe's hardware store and gave it a go!
The LG V30 differentiates itself from the competition with an expansive video feature set and a secondary wide angle camera, making it something of a Swiss Army knife for content creators.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.