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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Olympus > arrow Olympus SP-570UZ Digital Camera Review
Olympus SP-570UZ Digital Camera Review

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Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker

 

For those wanting the features and functions of a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) without the accompanying price tag, the SP-570UZ is definitely an option for you. With 10mp, a finely crafted 20x wide angle optical zoom lens and the ability for full manual control, this camera outputs high quality images that are sure to please the user.

 

Built-in technologies including bright capture, face detection and shadow adjustment allow for pin-sharp, correctly exposed images every time. Duel image stabilisation is another excellent feature on the SP-570UZ that massively reduces the chances of blurring. Its effectiveness is especially noticeable when shooting hand-held in low light conditions; no longer is it impossible to capture sharp images in a dim environment without flash!

 

The SP-570UZ comes with a neck/shoulder strap, case, AV cable, USB cable, software, manual and four AA batteries. It’s surprising that a camera this equipped doesn’t have a dedicated battery but it makes no significant difference overall. The only let down is the absence of a battery charger in the box kit and while it is not a major problem it may mean an extra purchase is required when in store.

 

In terms of design, the SP-570UZ is sturdy and ergonomically friendly. It rests nicely in hand and the controls are easy to operate with the forefinger and thumb mainly. The interface is more complex than a digital ultra-compact camera but this is to be expected given that it’s aimed at a more advanced user wanting more control over their images. The generous 2.7 inch (6.8cm) hyper crystal LCD could have come with a protective cover to help avoid scratching but in terms of operation, it has bright and crisp display that remains visible in the harshest of sunlight, thanks to anti-glare technology. The camera is relatively lightweight at 445g and its size (11.9 x 8.4 x 8.8cm) means portability is not an issue.

 

A unique feature on the SP-570UZ is the ‘guide mode,’ which offers 16 described shooting scenarios that briefly explain how to best capture images under particular conditions or to achieve a described effect. Unlike ‘scene modes’ that once set, do the work for you, ‘guide mode’ instructs you how to use the cameras functions and settings to achieve the desired results: if you want to reduce red eye, blur the background, take high-speed sequential shots, or set particular lighting, ‘guide mode’ will tell you how. For example: guide number two refers to brightening the subject for which the advice ‘increase exposure compensation’ or ‘set to fill-flash mode’ is offered. Guide number 12 ‘reducing blur’ advises the user to ‘set to image stabilisation mode’ or ‘increase ISO sensitivity.’ While some guides may initially seem obvious, overall the function is a nice idea especially for those unfamiliar with manual operation of a camera.

 

There are 23 ‘scene modes’ available along with the ‘guide modes’ including popular choices across many brands such as: portrait, landscape, night scene, sport, beach, snow and sunset, while more unique modes: behind glass, cuisine, document and auction mode – which captures 3 sequential images at different exposures in the appropriate size for immediate upload to email or an online auction site – are also available.

 

Another clever feature called ‘smile shot’ registers when your subject smiles (with teeth) and automatically takes a photo. No buttons need to be pushed – just point, smile and let the camera shoot on its own. Although I’m not entirely sure what the practical application is (for self portraits perhaps?) or whether it is purely a novelty function, the technology remains very impressive. And, if nothing else, its quirkiness will give you and your subjects something to talk about and may even elicit from them a bigger, brighter smile, which is always a positive!

 

The SP-570UZ is capable in shooting in either RAW or JPEG and has some handy in camera editing tools including cropping, colour edit (black and white, sepia, hard or soft saturation), add frames and labels to images, or create a calendar. Images can also be printed directly from camera when plugged into a printer and you can opt for either easy print (print as is) or custom print (select number of prints per sheet, image size, border type etc.)

 

Manual mode, shutter and aperture priority, program and auto shooting options are available allowing for either fully automated picture-taking or complete creative control. The powerful 20x zoom offers an effective range of 26-520mm and when the 5x digital zoom is operated, 100x zoom is possible - and is very impressive. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors or traveling, this function will be an absolute delight. Super macro operates as close as 1cm away from a subject allowing for extreme close-ups and the wide angle lens means you can fit more of scene into frame.

 

The zoom function on the SP-570UZ is manually operated with traditional on-lens control like that on a DSLR, which is a nice touch and super smooth but for quick zooming there is a slightl lag as a result of being electronically/digitally displayed i.e. it is not live-view. The user has the option of using the LCD or to switch the electronic viewfinder on when framing and composing shots. For my personal taste, the electronic viewfinder function is too ‘digital.’ Either have a traditional viewfinder with live-view or don’t have one at all.

A sticking point which some will either quickly like or dislike is the manual flash trigger. To use the flash it needs to be medal-gold-r.jpgmanually popped for it to function, even in auto mode. This may frustrate some users who forget to flick the switch and miss a shot. Sometimes you just want to turn the camera on and know that you can shoot immediately on auto mode and everything will be considered in camera by the camera without user involvement. So for some happy-snappers they will require a little forethought about darker the lighting situations.

 

Overall, this is a versatile unit with the ability to capture high quality images whether operating as a point-and-shoot in automatic mode or like a base level DSLR with full manual control over all settings. It is definitely a camera that requires an enthusiastic user who is willing to experiment with the controls and features in order to get the best out of the functions made available and if that sounds like you, the SP-570UZ could certainly be what you’re looking for.
 
Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality 4 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $699
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 10 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 26mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 520mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 20x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 3648 x 2736
Shooting Modes 26 Scene options
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 10cm to infinity
Aperture Range F2.8 - F4.5
Aperture Priority Yes
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 10cm to infinity
Shutter Speeds 15 seconds - 1/2000
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO 50 - 6400 and Auto
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch LCD display
Viewfinder Yes, EVF
Flash 5 mode options plus auto
Hot Shoe No
White balance 3 options, 3 fluorescent and Auto
Self Timer Yes, 12 and 2 seconds
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes. AV out
Storage Type xD-Picture Cards (16MB ~ 2GB xD)
Storage Included [Mb] Onboard memory, 45Mb
Image / Audio Formats Jpeg, RAW,  EXIF v2.21,  PIM III  DPOF and AVI, Jpeg w sound
Connectivity USB
Power Source C-8AC AC adapter 
Battery Options 4 x AA NiMH batteries may be used (BU-90SA kit may be purchased)
Dimensions 118.5mm x 84mm x 87.5mm
Weight 445g
 

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About Olympus

 

In Greek mythology, Mt.Olympus is the home of the twelve supreme gods and goddesses. Olympus was named after this mountain to reflect its strong aspiration to create high quality, world famous products.

"Olympus" has been used as a trademark since the time of Takachiho Seisakusho, the predecessor of Olympus Corporation.

In Japanese mythology, it is said that eight million gods and goddesses live in Takamagahara, the peak of Mt.Takachiho. The name "Olympus" was selected as the trademark because Mt.Olympus, like Mt.Takachiho, was the home of gods and goddesses. This trademark is also imbued with the aspiration of Olympus to illuminate the world with its optical devices, just like Takamagahara brought light to the world.

Takachiho Seisakusho was renamed Takachiho Optical Co., Ltd. in 1942 when optical products became the mainstay of the company. In 1947, the name was changed again to Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. in an attempt to enhance its corporate image.

And in 2003, the company made a fresh start as Olympus Corporation, to show its willingness to establish a dynamic corporate brand by unifying the corporate name and the well-known brand.

In recent years, Olympus Corporation has focused on "Opto-Digital Technology" as its core competence, technological strengths that competitors cannot easily imitate, to maximize corporate value and to become one of the top optical instrument manufactures.

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