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back to article Olympus SP-570 UZ 'superzoom' camera

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 …

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Coat

Artifacts in ISO 400 mode?

Curiously, it seems to produce artifacts in the water reflection that look just like swans!

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Stop

Far too expensive...

With the Panasonic FZ18 with an 18x zoom available for £199, what do you actually get for the extra £190?

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Compromise

I had a bit of a look last year at the older 18x zoom model (550?), and decided not to bother. The only way to acheive big zooms in a camera that size is to use a tiny image sensor, which leads to dreadfull low light capability. The marketing bods won't tell you that. Bumping up to 10 megapixels doesn't help. Image geometry suffers too.

Having said that, I did conclude that the olympus was the best of the bunch of superzooms about at that time.

At least it takes real batteries, it's almost worth buying just for that.

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SDHC

Surely I'm not the only person who dismisses any device that does not support MMC/SD/SDHC cards?

Interchangability between devices & computers is rather important. Anybody at Sony or Olympus listening?

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Bleagh!

Those example shots look horrendous!

And thats no slate on the photographer, i mean they look barely passable from a 5mp cameraphone.

I dread to think what night shots would be like, they obviously skimped on the CCD here to pack in such a lens while keeping it under £400.

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My own review

This camera is old news.

I tried this camera many months ago (I also own the SP550, as well as the C750 so I know what to expect).

I like the SP range of cameras due to the pre-capture function. This camera has taken lots of pretty good quality photos, in quick succession, before you’ve even pressed the shutter. This function has given me many a good laugh!

One downfall of the 570 is the response of the zoom ring. It is not mechanically linked to the optics so it just 'feels' wrong, as well as a bit slow.

Why do Olympus insist of remaining with the painfully slow XD format? (low power means nothing if it is slow).

I like the format of the control on the 570, you can get to all the functions very quickly, but it is aimed at those who want to use these functions; others less geeky may not appreciate it.

RAW is absolutely useless on these cameras. The imager is too noisy (well it is small), even in ISO 50/64 mode the noise level is at least several bits in 8 bit mode anyway, so why bother with 12 bits? I found it is best to remain with jpeg to get rid of some of that noise.

£390 is a bit steep. Even LCE charge a lot less than that. The last time I looked on Ebay I could get one from a reputable seller for it for not much over £200.

Note: 20x is the range of the zoom (from wide to tele), it is a 0.75x to 15x zoom.

My verdict, I remained with the 550 (and that has its own flaws).

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s
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How can that get 70%

The image quality sucks! My old Fuji had better pictures than and I still got rid of it in less than 12 months due to the fact that you can't actually print a picture taken with the camera if you want a print bigger than a minimal 10cm*13cm.

For the quality of image just stick with a cheapo point and click - the image quality is no worse (maybe even better?) you just don't have the zoom...

I worked out the crop factor on that sensor to more than 5x! I guess that explains the picture quality somewhat. Terrible!

I can't imagine any serious ameteur would even consider buying this - unless it was an expensive first step mistake as my Fuji was - save for a bit longer and get a second hand real camera with a decent lense.

I worked out the crop factor on that sensor to more than 5x! I guess that explains the picture quality somewhat. Terrible!

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picture quality? what picture quality?

ISO 64 = blown highlights

ISO 400 = lots of noise

ISO 640 = picture lost in noise

Luckily, there are signs that the trend to pack more MPx on tiny sensors might cease soon and customers will start to appreciate sensor size and lens quality (as opposed to zoom range). For example - an article in most recent issue of "Digital Camera Magazine". In image quality comparison between Sony A200 , A300 and A350 with 2 different zoom lenses , the winning combination is A200 (less noise) with better lens Zeiss 16-80 (better edge sharpness).

El Reg, time to educate yourself!

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Ash
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Fujifilm S8000fd (Owner)

£200 cheaper, 98% of the functionality. the 18x zoom is more than decent enough for images to print on 8"x6" photopaper after reduction.

This camera is rubbish for the money. Spend the extra £60 and get the EOS 450D if you want a GREAT camera.

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Paris Hilton

Sensor size........

A 390 quid camera, and they stick a 1/2.33" sensor in it? That's like a Porsche with a lawnmower engine up front.

Paris, cos - well, she's in the news innit?

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Coat

Another great George Cole camera review

Oh, wait, I meant another misguided George Cole camera review. The keys are right next to each other.

Coat, got.

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Are those from a cellphone?

The photos are very blurry and hazy even when they're reduced in size. Color purity is slightly worse than a 20 year old TV. Anything less that perfect shooting conditions wouldn't even give you 4x6 prints. Why does this get 70% for a rating? It's a waste of space in your hand and very expensive. Cheap pocket cameras do at least as well.

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Shame

I used to love Olympus cameras back in the (35mm) day but this seems a little overpriced. My Lumix FZ18 has pretty much everything on offer here at nearly half the price. Ok its a bridge camera and quality at lower light levels isnt going to win awards, the important thing is that it suits my needs without the expense of a full blown DSLR. This camera simply doesnt justify the extra cost when compared to an entry level DSLR.

Oh well, back to fondling my OM-2 and OM-10's ..

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Anonymous Coward

err what

A camera phone couldn't take a photo at 1/4 of that resolution, so those comments are clearly from the ignorant.

Anyone that's truly used any of these cameras from their earliest model to the current will know there are very few that can compare at it's real price, which is about 2/3rds of what you're being scammed for in the UK.

Fujitsu and Panasonic, excuse me while I rofl. If they were to even attempt to take an equivalent sized photo, you probably wouldn't be able to make out the subject.

I'd put what I take with one of these up against anything that isn't a true DSLR.

Anyone who truly understands the way these things work knows the reasons for the artifacts you get at these resolutions.

Simply the fact that you're complaining about artifacts at all in a macro shot or a 20X zoom shot shows your ignorance. Neither of those is even possible on the kinds of cameras you're talking about. No, they aren't, because they don't possess the imaging technology to take a photo that close or that far away.

Clearly these shots were taken on the fly, with no attempt to produce top quality imagery. Nothing wrong with that, it's simply proof you can take a decent photo with one of these without too much effort. Scale it down to something taken with a $200 cell phone and you'd begin to understand where I'm coming from.

No it isn't the best camera, the 70% review is bang on from that point of view, and the price is way too high considering it's under $500 price tag in the US. But it is significantly better than any slimline shite or a camera phone if you need to do more than take snapshots at a wedding.

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@err what: AC

So you are saying that the crap photo's that these things take is acceptable because the technology is fundamentally flawed?

And this is supposed to make me think - oh wait yes I do want to spend $500 on a this peice of junk, because it's not that the camera is bad per se, it's that the technology behind it sucks...

And of course why would I complain that the the features they use to sell it macro and 20x zoom don't work. We wouldn't expect them to work would we so it's fine to pay the extra money for this camera to get them.

I dispear for the state of the world when people accept poor quality with excuses like this....

And yes I would like to put it up against my old Fuji 5600 - sure the zoom isn't as good at 15x (but then you admit the zoom on the camera is a reason for it's image crapness). The image is just as bad on both machines, and the Fuji is *much* cheaper.

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Stu
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That CA sucks donkey balls.

Those pictures showed some of the WORST 'Chromatic Abberation' artifacts I've seen in a modern camera! But then most people wouldn't care, I'm too used to the CA and noise free results (up to IS0 800) I get with my Eos 400D, I cringe when I see photos like that.

I was intrigued by this camera with its 20x zoom, but seeing the results of this in relation to your typical 'proper' dSLR, there's just no contest.

DEFINITELY take Ash's advice - "This camera is rubbish for the money. Spend the extra £60 and get the EOS 450D if you want a GREAT camera.".

Only trouble is that you'd be very hard pressed to get 20x zoom on your Eos (if you care), you'd need to shell out at least £600 extra for a Sigma 50-500mm, then more for the 2x teleconverter, oh and a bit more for a Hoya UV filter to protect it all, then you'd need to get your ass down the gym to be able to lift it all up and hold it steady at that weight!

...or shell out £500 more for a top quality tripod and ball joint head which could hold it all.

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@stu

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.

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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.

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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/

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