Reviews and Problems with Olympus SP-500 UltraZoom
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Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom Digital Camera Review
9 May 2007
Excerpt: Olympus SP-500 is a 10X optical zoom camera, meaning it is an ultra zoom camera, way above the average zoom of other cameras; it provides 6 Megapixel CCD, large 2.5 inch LCD display, full manual controls (including white balance and focus), and plenty of scene modes plus shortcuts and custom button.
Conclusion: Taken on its own merits the SP-500UZ is a more than capable camera with a huge feature set, great handling and perfectly good results - at a very competitive price point. But the 'super zoom' sector is one of the most fiercely competitive markets in digital photography, and a 10x zoom model without image stabilization needs to offer a lot more in other areas, or to be priced very aggressively to stand a chance.
Pros: Decent results with good detail and natural color, Low noise at low ISO settings, still fairly low at ISO 400, Comprehensive photographic controls, Rugged, lightweight construction and excellent handling, Lots of scene/subject modes, Huge range of advanced features including in-camera raw editing, Highly customizable: menu customization, shortcut button, 'MyModes', Large, clear screen, Better than average low-light focus accuracy, Good 'super macro' mode, Good flash e...
Cons: JPEG images look soft compared to much of the competition, Mild exposure problems in high contrast / bright scenes, Writing to xD picture card slow (much better with newer high speed cards)., Raw mode slow (much better with newer high speed cards)., Playback quite slow, Focus can be slow in low light, Focus errors at the long end of the zoom too common in good light, No image stabilization, No dioptre control on viewfinder, Mediocre continuous (burst) shooting capabil...
Conclusion: Olympus SP-500 Megazoom digital camera The Olympus SP-500 UZ is a digital Megazoom camera that a creative photographer can really work with. The camera’s multitude of possibilities means that you can capture a variety of subjects in practically any way imaginable. The camera is multifaceted and gives beginning photographers all the tools they need to discover the many facets of photography in a user friendly way.
Excerpt: Continue on to Features & Controls SP-500 UltraZoom Specifications Imager 6 megapixel effective, 6.37 megapixel gross, 1/2.5" CCD Lens 6.3 - 63 mm (38-380mm equivalent in 35mm photography), 11 lenses in 7 groups, 2 aspherical lens Zoom Seamless to 50x (10x optical and 5x digital combined) Aperture Range f2.8 - f8 (adjustable in 1/3 EV step) LCD 2.5" color LCD, approx.
Excerpt: Ultra-zoom cameras are becoming increasingly popular and it's easy to see why. All that magnifying power in a compact means you've got everything you need to hand. No swapping lenses or wishing you had a longer zoom.
Excerpt: The SP-500 Ultra Zoom ($379) is the latest big zoom camera in Olympus' lineup. The SP-500UZ is the descendent of the C-765/770 models, which were introduced way back in early 2004. Olympus was kind of a pioneer in the ultra zoom space, and now virtually every camera maker has at least one UZ camera for sale.
Pros: Good photo quality, Full manual controls, Large 2.5" LCD display (but see issues below), Support for RAW image format; images can be edited right on the camera, Customizable buttons and menus; favorite settings can be saved to spot on the mode dial, AF-assist lamp; above average low light focusing, In-camera help system for menus; fancy playback mode, Support for conversion lenses, Good bundled software allows for RAW image manipulation
Cons: Sluggish performance when viewing photos in playback mode, or shooting in RAW format, No image stabilization, LCD resolution isn't great, neither is low light visibility, Unimpressive continuous shooting and movie modes, No diopter correction for electronic viewfinder, No USB 2.0 High Speed support, Ridiculous amount of built-in memory, no rechargeable batteries included, xD cards tend to be more expensive than other formats, Full manual only on CD
Summary: The Olympus SP-500 is packed with features
that should appeal to an aspiring photographer.
It is well-built, handles comfortably and looks
very professional in its black body. A 10x optical
zoom brings far subjects close but image stabilization
is missing. The Olympus SP-500 starts up in about 2 sec.
and there is no practical shutter lag at the wide-angle
end. At full tele, AF can sometimes take about
2 sec. to lock, depending on your subject. An
extra large 2.5 in.
Excerpt: Olympus is struggling mightily to keep with the digicam leaders (Kodak, Canon and Sony). Sometimes they win with models like Stylus 800 and E-500 D-SLR while in other instances they fail miserably with IR-500 and M:Robe . Yet you can’t blame them for trying; they can’t just quit the game or they’ll end up in the trash heap of CE companies.
Summary: : The Olympus SP-500 Ultra Zoom is an appealing digital camera, it feels very comfortable in hand, and produces very pleasing (saturated) colours, with generally low noise. The screen and electronic viewfinder let the camera down due to the screens low resolution, and the electronic viewfinders small size. This camera is easy to use (in auto mode) especially with the built in help guide, although it offers a mixed bag with regards to camera speed.
Pros: Very good exposure / metering, Very good colour, Excellent Macro mode, Abundance of features, RAW mode, bulb mode, time-lapse photography., Abundance of picture adjustments, both before photo and after photo is taken - Sharpness, Saturation, Contrast, etc, Comfortable handgrip, Built in guide / help, Good battery life
Cons: Advanced manual is on CD, Low screen resolution (115k pixels), Slightly slow focusing / occassionally misses focus at telephoto in dark conditions, Low resolution video mode compared to the competition, Lacks image stabilisation, causing more likelihood of blurry photos in low light, or using full zoom doesn't offer any compensation or scene mode for example high shutter speed mode (such as Nikon Coolpix S6), or high ISO mode (such as the Fuji S5600 ). Compensation mu...
Summary: Ultra-zoom cameras are increasing in popularity and with all that magnifying power in a compact it is easy to see why. The colour reproduction is excellent and the images are sharp. The absense of an image stabiliser is noticable, however this is a very capable camera and is pretty good value for money.