Olympus SP-550 UZ Review
Announced just before PMA in January 2007 the SP-550UZ is the first serious attempt by Olympus to take back some ground in the super zoom sector, a sector it almost single-handedly created back in 2000 with the legendary C-2100UZ, but has since struggled to make a mark in. The SP-550UZ is a significant step up from the previous models in the 'SP' range (including the current SP-510UZ), offering 7MP resolution, image stabilization (CCD-shift) and an astounding 28-500mm (equiv.) 18x optical zoom range. The 'super zoom' market is an increasingly crowded and competitive one, and the SP-550UZ goes head to head with popular and well-regarded models such as the Sony H5, Canon S3 IS and Panasonic FZ8. Rarely has a camera caused so much interest based on its specification alone... so can the SP-550UZ live up to the hype? Let's find out, starting as ever with the headline specifications:
- 18x wide optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm camera) 1:2.8-4.5
- Dual Image Stabilization
- 7.1 Megapixels
- 6.4cm/2.5” LCD with 230,000 pixels
- High burst rate (up to 15fps in 1.2 Megapixel mode )
- Super Macro mode (from as close as 1cm)
- P/A/S/M exposure modes
- RAW mode
- BrightCapture Technology for better low light photography – also available in movie mode
- 23 scene modes (including Portrait, Sports, Night Scene)
- 25 languages on board
- Internal memory plus xD-Picture Card slot
- Supplied with Olympus Master software and four AA batteries
Side by side
Although not a small camera the SP-550UZ is very similar in size and weight to the Canon S3 IS and Panasonic Lumix FZ8 (also the Sony H2/H5, not shown). In fact the only cameras in this class that are significantly different in size are the considerably larger Fujifilm S6000 and the Panasonic FZ50 (not shown).
Olympus SP-550UZ specifications
|Street Price||• US: $490
• UK: £300
|Body Material||Metal and plastic|
• 1/2.5" Primary color filter (RGB) Type CCD
|Image sizes||• 3072 x 2304
• 3072 x 2048 (3:2)
• 2560 x 1920
• 2304 x 1728
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
|Movie clips||• 640 x 480 30fps
• 320 x 240 30fps
• Up to capacity of card (H cards only)
|File formats||• Still: JPEG (EXIF 2.21), RAW
• Movie: Quicktime Motion JPEG (AVI)
• Sound:Wave format
|Lens||• 4.7-84.2mm (28-504 35 mm equiv)
• 14 Lenses / 11 groups
• Four Aspherical glass elements
• 18x optical zoom
|Image stabilization||Yes (CCD Shift)|
|Conversion lenses||Yes (with CLA-10 adaptor)|
|Digital zoom||Up to 5.6x|
|Focus||• TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection
• Predictive AF
|AF area modes||• iESP multi-pattern
• 143 area selectable spot
• Manual focus
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||• 0.1m-∞ (wide), 1.2-∞ (tele)
• 1cm closest focus (super macro)
|Metering||• ESP multi-pattern
|ISO sensitivity||• Auto ISO
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200 (2048 x 1536 max)
• ISO 5000 (2048 x 1536 max)
|Exposure compensation||• +/- 2EV
• 1/3 EV steps
|Exposure bracketing||• +/- 5EV
• 1/3 EV steps
|Shutter speed||• 15-1/2000 sec (dependent on mode)
• Bulb (max 8 minutes)
|Aperture||F2.8 - 8 (wide) F3.1 - 8 (tele)|
|Scene modes||• Portrait
• Landscape with portrait
• Night scene
• Night scene with portrait
• Self portrait
• Available light portrait
• Behind glass
• Shoot & select 1
• Shoot & select 2
• Underwater wide 1
• Underwater wide 2
• Underwater macro
|White balance||• Auto
• Fluorescent 1
• Fluorescent 2
• Fluorescent 3
• Custom white balance
|White balance fine tune||-7 Red - +7 Blue|
|Self timer||2 or 12sec|
|Continuous shooting||• 1.2fps/7 frames (Full image size)
• 7fps/15 frames (3MP)
• 15fps /20 frames (1.2MP )
|Image parameters||• Black & White
• Brightness correction
• Saturation correction
|Flash||• Built in pop-up
• Red-eye reduction
• Fill-in with red-eye reduction
• Slow sync
• Working range 0.3-4.5m
|LCD monitor|| 2.5-inch Polycrystalline TFT
|Connectivity|| DC in
|Storage||• xD-Picture Card
20 MB built-in memory
|Power||• 4x AA batteries (alkaline included)
• Optional NiMHs and charger
|Other features||• RAW data edit
• In camera editing / effects
• Panorama function (with optional Olympus xD-Picture card)
• Digital image stabilizer for movie capture
|Weight (no batt)||365g (12.9 oz)|
|Dimensions||116 x 78.5 x 78 mm (4.6 x 3.1 x 3.1 in)|
|The Lone Photographer by ed rader|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Neighbourhood Watch by Stevie Boy Blue|
from Zoo trip ~ Cute...
Fujifilm released a firmware upgrade for its X-T3 mirrorless camera that addresses issues with distortion compensation and the mechanical lock on SD cards.
The app's algorithms have been trained using using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.
Thanks to a software update, the Loupedeck+ editing console can now be used for video editing.
British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies.
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.