Olympus SP-550 UZ Review
High ISO modes
As is now the norm the SP-550UZ offers a range of high ISO options, with Olympus raising the stakes by going all the way to ISO 3200 and 5000, albeit at a reduced resolution (using pixel binning). Below you will find studio comparisons of the highest full size sensitivity on offer (ISO 1600) and one of the reduced resolution high ISO options (ISO 3200). If you'd like to see the ISO 5000 output (which looks very much like the ISO 3200 result) please click here.
Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 1600 & ISO 3200)
- Olympus SP-550UZ: Aperture Priority mode (F5.6), ISO 1600, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.70 EV compensation
- Olympus SP-550UZ: Aperture Priority mode (F5.0), ISO 3200, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.7 EV compensation
- Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
ISO 1600, 1/640 sec, F5.6
ISO 3200, 1/640 sec, F5.0
3,685 KB JPEG
536 KB JPEG
If ISO 800 was stretching things then it will come as no surprise that ISO 1600 (the highest ISO setting usable at full resolution, if you can really call this full resolution) is even worse. I guess if you don't intend to produce prints or look at them full screen - and you really need that extra stop of sensitivity - then there may be some point to ISO 1600, but I'd have to be backed into a corner with a gun to my head to consider using either of the much-touted ultra high sensitivity settings (ISO 3200 and ISO 5000 - not shown here, but even worse).
Pixel binning rarely produces decent results, and the SP-550UZ is no exception; the 3MP files are just plain unpleasant, and any detail there was in the scene has packed its bags and left long ago. For Olympus to put ISO 5000 (and 'Dual Image Stabilization' using it) so prominently in its promotional literature is, in my opinion, misleading to say the least; this is not photographic quality by anyone's standard. Although there's nothing wrong with including these 'last resort' options for low light tight spots, to suggest that (and I'm quoting here) 'The SP-550 UZ offers the highest ISO sensitivity of any ultra zoom for superior low-light and fast-action photography' would, I suggest, lead uninitiated buyers to expect something more than they're going to get.
One final note about the pixel-binned ultra-high sensitivity modes; the actual ISO as measured using our meter varies widely, with different exposure settings (up to two stops either way) often producing the same result. Although it doesn't really matter most of the time (you're unlikely to be shooting in manual mode at ISO 5000) it does lead me to wonder why they even bothered including two manually selectable ISO settings (rather than just an 'auto HI' ISO mode, which appears to be what they are)... unless it's just a marketing thing.
Update: metering issues at over ISO 800 have apparently been fixed with a new firmware version, announced March 26th.
Mar 26, 2007
Jan 25, 2007
Mar 3, 2010
Mar 17, 2010
|Fascia walkie talkie building London by ian herridge|
from Abstract Architecture
|Global Reach by cjf2|
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.
After 1.7 million downloads on Apple computers since the launch in November 2015, Aurora HDR will be available for Windows PCs for the first time with the 2018 release.
The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s.
The updated Qualcomm Spectra system is a dual-camera setup that is capable of sensing depth and motion in real time.
A sizable swath of the United States will be treated to a total eclipse of the heart – er, sun – in just under a week. Here are a few excellent guides to help you photograph this rare occasion.
f11 Magazine—an ad-supported, free magazine for 'photographers and aficionados' that focused on photos rather than gear—is suspending publication due to financial troubles.
The Minolta MC Rokkor-X 40-80mm F2.8 is unlike any zoom lens you've probably ever seen. Instead of a helicoid, it uses a gearbox, and because of this it's still one of the sharpest zoom lenses out there.
If you're looking to switch to Sony, the company's new limited-time "α trade up" promotion can snag you up to $500 + trade-in value towards a brand new a9, a7 II, a7R II, or a7S II when you hand over your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
The Google Camera app exclusive to the company's own Pixel phone has been unofficially ported to other Android devices. If you're willing to take the risk of installing, you can now use features like HDR+ on the Galaxy S8, LG G6, OnePlus 5, and more.
49-year-old David Hilos is known by the Singapore photography community as the 'camera whisperer.' When a service center says a camera is beyond repair, Hilos can usually coax it back to life.
Photographer Ryan Kelly captured one of the most viral and graphic images of the horrifying events in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. This is the harrowing story behind that photograph.
Data storage manufacturer Synology has added a new, lower-cost NAS to its DiskStation j line that has a maximum capacity of 40TB, and which is aimed at home users and photography enthusiasts.