Operation and controls
The SP-500UZ has a real wealth of features and controls, and though many of the more advanced options are fairly well hidden in the extensive on-screen menu system, most of the important stuff - exposure controls (including AE compensation), white balance, ISO and so on - is no more than one or two key presses away. More importantly the level of customization on offer (common to most enthusiast Olympus cameras) means tailoring the camera to your own style of shooting is easy, whilst the fairly simple control layout and huge selection of scene modes means the SP-500UZ retains a beginner-friendly face for those less interested in manual control.
Rear of camera
To the right of the electronic viewfinder are the flash pop-up switch and screen / viewfinder toggle button. Down the right side of the screen are the DISP / GUIDE button (for changing the information shown on screen), flash button and a dedicated 'QUICK VIEW' button - for checking recently captured images without going the whole hog and switching to playback mode. Finally the ubiquitous four-way controller (with an 'OK / menu' button in the middle).
Top of camera
Display and menus
|The most basic record screen, in fully automatic mode - showing focus brackets, memory in use (internal or xD), current file setting and a 'memory gauge' - the gray line on the left, which turns green as the buffer fills. You can actually turn the last three off if you prefer a more uncluttered preview screen.||Half-press the shutter and the display changes to indicate the focus area selected (in iESP mode). There's no exposure information (shutter speed/aperture) in auto mode, but a green dot shows correct focus, and the flash symbol turns red if it is turned off and the exposure is likely to result in camera shake (as shown above).|
|In program mode the main difference is the appearance of exposure (aperture / shutter) information and an AE compensation indicator (top right) - pressing the left or right buttons on the 4-way controller changes the value.||In aperture or shutter priority modes the up and down keys change the relevant setting. The value turns red if it's outside the usable range (i.e. if it would result in over or under exposure).|
|The SP-500UZ offers several other display options in record mode. Pressing the 'DISP' button cycles through the various options, including 'rule of thirds' grid lines.||Finally you can bring up Olympus's excellent live histogram.|
|In manual exposure mode the up and down arrows control shutter speed, the left and right aperture. The EV display changes to show how far from the metered exposure you are. It's a neat, and highly usable system for those who like total control.||The manual focus mode has an option for enlarging the central portion of the frame - essential given the fairly low resolution of the screen.|
|The SP-500UZ has a grand total of 21 subject modes. Each mode is illustrated with a photo thumbnail and a brief text description of what it does.|
|Pressing the menu button in the middle of the four-way controller brings up this menu - pressing one of the arrow keys takes you to one of the four choices. Note that the top, left and bottom 'shortcut' can be assigned to almost any setting, so if you change white balance and ISO most often, you can put them here.||The SP-500UZ offers a wide range of shooting sizes and quality settings, including RAW - something still rare on this class of camera, especially in a 'budget' model.|
|The right arrow takes you to full - and extensive menus. There's four 'tabs'; camera, picture, card (formatting) and setup. The menus have options for virtually every shooting variable, from macro, burst and drive mode to ISO, white balance, focus mode, sharpness, saturation and contrast.|
|The setup menu is where you change basic camera settings; audio, color schemes (for the menus) and startup images, LCD brightness and date/time. This menu is also accessible from playback mode.||One nice touch is that the AE lock button can have almost any function assigned to it, including ISO and white balance.|
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more