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
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.