Olympus SP-570 UZ 'superzoom' camera
This puppy packs a protruding 20x zoom
Review The problem with many in-between/crossbreed/hybrid products is that they can suffer a little from an identity crisis...and the Olympus SP-570 UZ is no exception.
At first glance, it looks like a compact version of a DSLR: it’s got a large zoom lens at the front, an SLR-type grip and it’s a mile away from the ultra-slim compacts that slip easily into your pocket. And yet, the SP-570 UZ is designed to be used by beginners as well as experienced users. So will this camera for all seasons end up satisfying everyone or no one?
Olympus SP-570 UZ: this camera has a looooooong zoom lens
Let’s get the most obvious feature out of the way: this camera has a looooooong zoom lens, and by long we don’t mean a digital zoom that offers a pixelated mess at x500 magnification. No sir, we are talking about an optical zoom that is as long as your arm.
Okay, we exaggerate, but you have to admit that a 20x zoom offering is pretty impressive, even more so when you consider that the specification - 4.6-92.0mm F2.8-F4.5 - is equivalent to a 26-520mm lens on a 35mm camera. It’s the sort of thing James Bond would find useful on a surveillance operation.
A quick run through reveals a large lens at the front, and at the top (from left to right), a pop-up flash button next to the...er, pop-up flash, hot shoe for an external flash, large mode dial (for auto, program AE, aperture priority, shutter priority, scene, manual, movie, my mode (which saves up to four shooting modes) and guide, which helps you select the right settings for particular scenes.
Olympus Fan and here's why
My main camera is a Nikon D200 with all the expected gear. Sometimes, I just need a good point and shoot without all the weight and lens changes. This olympus camera is supurb for general purpose shooting. But the macro outdoes anything I have been able to find for truly authentic close ups. The camera is easy to use if you just don't try to make it into more than a point and shoot. I'd download examples that compete with some of the best dlsrs, but there isn't any way to do so. If you want to see them, go here: http://flickr.com/photos/29259953@N02/sets/72157606689869130/
People, calm down
This is not a professional camera, of course the image won't be great but don't turn your noses up at it. They fill a void which 'daddy cameras' do not cater for. What they boast is an all-in-one solution which is overall easy to use and has some great features (compared to proper cameras). I have a friend who owns the Rebel Xt who found it too cumbersome to keep changing lenses for different shots, this usually meant that he missed the shot - so what's the point of spending all that money for a shot you missed? So he brought himself a superzoom too, purely for the convenience and speed of setup. Yeah it was relatively crap, yet he was happy with his move - why? becasue he got his shots!
You’ll find the image quality for this camera (noise, chromatic aberration, barrelling etc) to be par the course for these cheaper pro-sumer units; those can mostly be fixed in post processing if need be anyway. Thanks to image stabilisation, the user can always drop the ISO to get decent photos – I only ever use ISO 50. Apart from the loose barrel I'm dead happy with my SP550, I can take it anywhere and can get some really natural shots of people. It does everything - not brilliantly but it does it.
Anyone who ever pays RRP is crazy.
20x zoom is bad idea anyway, no matter where you attach it to, due to size, design compromises and maximum aperture. The one you mentioned, Sigma 10x 50-500 (which translates to FoV 75-750 in 35mm format) obviously lacks wide angles. You'd be better off with Tamron 18-250 or similar, if you are ready to trade picture quality and max aperture for conveniance. I know I am not. In fact, I am very happy with my Pentax K10D with couple of Limited fixed-focal lenses.