Olympus SP-550 UZ: Shoot Far and Wide

This Excellent 7.1 Megapixel camera features the largest optical zoom found on a point-and shoot. Evevn so, because of a few shortcomings, this fantastic feat of engineering isn't enough for the device nab the top spot from our reigning superzoom, the Panasonic Lumic DMC-TZ3.

With an ultrapowerful 18X optical zoom lens that spans a 4.7mm to 84.2mm range, the SP-550 UZ is optically well equipped. The zoom lens ranges from ultra-wide-angle (letting you capture more in picture) to telephoto, which gets you closer to the action than most other compact cameras do. A helpful guide mode provides instruction on 15 common topics, including blurring backgrounds and shooting at night. The subdue camera shake, the device also features built-in image stabilization. That said, a real zoom ring for better lens control would have been nice.

Overall, I found the SP-550 UZ's images pleasing, with a very deep dynamic range and good contrast. The camera scored 1,650 lines on our resolution test, which is above average for a 7.1MP camera. It also boast full manual modes, icluding the ability to shoot RAW files, a format that produces higher-quality images than JPEGs. Boot up took 3.6 seconds, which is okay but far from swift, as was the camera's 3.6-second recyle time.

Sure. it's not perfect, but if you seek a smal camera with a sweet lens. the Olympus SP-550 UZ will satisfy.
Olympus SP-550 UZ: $499.99


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