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)|
Mar 26, 2007
Jan 25, 2007
Mar 3, 2010
Mar 17, 2010
|Nectar Dancing by Lensmate|
from A Big Year - birds
|Foggy morning by LassiM|
|Sad clown by PEB|
|Mtl Gen X 2015 DP by MarioSS|
from - Gen X - (In Full Colours+ Border)
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.