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Olympus SP-565UZ Digital Camera Review


Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker


Picture, if you will, a standard digital SLR with a sleek black body, protruding lens and a pop-up flash, and now shrink it. The SP-565UZ is a palm-sized, 10 mega pixel compact camera with a fixed, external auto focus 20 times (yes, 20 times) optical zoom lens and the ability to shoot up to 13.5 frames per second.

Amazingly, it is capable of extending from 26mm wide angle to 520mm super telephoto, which is the widest focal-length range currently on the market (as at November 2008.)

The SP-565UZ is both lightweight and ergonomically friendly although the function and control buttons on the camera’s back do require some fine handling and so, it would be best suited for those with small to medium-sized hands.

Being on the smaller side, it could have been useful to have a rubber thumb grip pad provided (there is one for your fingers) on the plastic body to further increase stability and security in-hand but overall, the SP-565UZ is an attractive compact-style camera with logical hand and finger controls and straightforward overall handling.

True to Olympus’ style, the menu system is easy to navigate and comprehend, and it sits nicely along that fine line between assuming the user knows more than they might and assuming they know half as much as they actually do.

The shooting guide offers basic assistance as required along with an array of pre-programmed shooting modes, and yet users also have the opportunity to customise various functions and buttons if they so choose and can opt to shoot in full manual mode on top of that.

A wide spectrum of user-ability is catered for overall, making the SP-565UZ suitable for many.

Users can choose to compose and preview images using either the bright 2.5 inch LCD or the electronic viewfinder (or swapping between the two with the single push of a button), which unlike many other cameras in its league, shows no significant signs of lag.

The SP-565UZ has a single-fire flash (except when in smile shot mode), which is a pleasant alternative to many modern compacts where two or three pre-flashes fire prior to the shutter opening by which time subjects have moved or blinked etc. and consequently ruined the photo. The orange focus light is extremely bright however, which may bother certain subjects if or when a series of portraits or happy snaps are being taken.

What appear to be standard technologies across the current Olympus range are also included in the SP-565UZ: shadow adjustment and face-detection technology (of up to 16 faces in a frame), along with dual image stabilisation, combine to ensure correct exposure, accurate colour reproduction, and natural focus is achieved from shot-to-shot in virtually all shooting conditions.

Noise does become apparent in low-light situations but generally speaking, this is difficult to avoid across a range of camera brands and models.

A personal favourite feature (not necessarily because the practical use is fully understood but rather because it is simply impressive) is the smile shot function where the camera automatically focuses and fires the shutter when it recognises a smiling face, which incidentally it does fairly readily.

The SP-565UZ has an easy-to-operate 10-mode dial including popular operation favourites: auto, manual, shutter priority, aperture priority, program, movie mode and preview. It also includes a ‘my mode’ function that allows for a level of customisability and ‘scene mode,’ which includes a massive selection of 25 shooting methods programmed to provide premium results for common shooting situations such as portraits, sports, indoors, night shooting, cuisine, documents, and online auctions etc.

Additionally, the SP-565UZ is able to produce in-camera panoramas, time-lapse sequences and calendars. The internal alarm clock system may also prove a useful feature at times, along with the AV cable provided that will allow you to playback images and movies directly through your television, which is great to do especially for the benefit of family and friends.

The SP-565UZ box kit includes the camera, a case, strap, USB and AV cables, manual, software (Olympus Master 2), warranty card and a Micro SD attachment. At last, a box kit on the market that includes a case!

Despite being a necessary accessory, the majority of camera manufacturers deny consumers the convenience of including a case in their kits and while, admittedly, this may not be the most sturdy or protective case available on the market, it will more than suffice up until confronted by ill-weather, long-term travel, and regular extensive use. Either way, thank-you Olympus for showing some initiative.medal-gold-r.jpg

Four AA batteries are required to power the unit (which are not included) and as such it is highly advisable the owner purchase rechargeable batteries if they are not already owned. This may also mean purchasing an appropriate charger, which should be considered when budgeting for your purchase.

In conclusion, the Olympus SP-565UZ is a versatile camera that delivers solid results and all-around performance to justify its mid-range price tag. It checks the majority of appropriate boxes in terms of design, functionality and image quality making it another worthy unit in the extensive Olympus range.


Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen
3 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $599
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 25 Scene options
Face Detection
Yes, up to 16 faces
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 10cm - infinity (wide), 120cm - infinity (tele)
Aperture Range F2.8 (wide) / F4.5 (tele)
Aperture Priority Yes
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 10cm - infinity (wide), 120cm - infinity (tele)
Shutter Speeds 1/2 s - 1/2000 s (up to 4 sec. in night mode); Manual 15 s - 1/2000 s
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO ISO 50 - 6400 (5MP above ISO 1600)
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.5" LCD Screen
Viewfinder Electronic View Finder with 100% field of view coverage
Flash 3 mode options plus auto
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto, One Touch, Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1 - 3
Self Timer Yes, 12 sec / 2 sec
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes
Storage Type 512MB ~ 2GB xD, Micro SD via MASD-1 Micro SD adapter (included)
Storage Included [Mb] 48MB Internal Memory
Image / Audio Formats RAW, JPEG, EXIF v2.21, PIM III, DPOF and AVI Motion
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 8116mm x 83.3mm x 80.8mm
Weight 373g




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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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