Olympus Pushes Further – SP-570 UZ 20x Zoom with 26mm Wide End

ShaolinTiger posted this at 12:32 pm on Wednesday, January 23, 2008 —

Olympus takes it two steps further this time, after announcing the first 18x zoom camera the Olympus SP-550 UZ (a couple of others followed with the Panasonic Lumix FZ-18 and the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd), now they are pushing into new territory again with a 20x zoom and even wider at the wide end (26mm for 35mm equiv.).

I always prefer compacts to start wider than zoom further, it’d be ideal if they started at 24mm IMHO, with a 20x zoom would be great.

Olympus SP-570 UZ 20x Zoom

The Olympus SP-570 UZ – main features:

  • 20x optical zoom (equivalent to 26-520mm) – from extreme close-ups to stunning scenes
  • Avoids blur thanks to Dual Image Stabilisation
  • Don’t miss the moment with high-speed 15fps sequence shooting
  • Face Detection Technology for perfectly focused and exposed faces plus correct exposure of other image areas
  • P/A/S/M exposure modes for creative freedom
  • 22 scene modes for the best results in different situations
  • 10 Megapixels to make poster-size prints
  • See and share images on the 6.9cm/2.7″ LCD
  • Great for shots of flowers and detail from as close as 1cm with Super Macro mode

I’ll certainly be looking forwards to the reviews on this one, a very versatile backup and travel camera. The performance of the previous model was a little disappointing. Both in terms of speed and image quality.

It’ll also be interesting to see if Panasonic and Fuji follow again with 20x zooms and 10megapixel upgrades.

Read the full release here:

Olympus SP-570 UZ

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Panasonic Unveils New Lumix FZ-18 with 18x Zoom and 8.1 Megapixels

ShaolinTiger posted this at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 —

Clearly a rival of the recently released Olympus SP-550 UZ “Ultra Zoom” camera, which also features an 18x optical zoom.

Introducing the Panasonic Lumix FZ-18.

Panasonic Lumix FZ-18

The Olympus got reasonable reviews, it’s not very fast, not very sharp and the pictures are ok – but it has 18x zoom! The ultimate travelling partner perhaps.

Now Panasonic counters with this, a massive 18x zoom to match and wider at the wide angle end with 28mm rather than the normal 35/36mm and of course the quality of the Leica lens helps. Plus the great Panasonic stabiliser. They just really need to sort out the image quality and noise problems with the Venus processor.

Looks to be a well specced camera.

  • 8.1 effective Megapixel CCD
  • F2.8-4.2, 18X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 28 – 504 mm
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 2.5″ LCD display with 207,000 pixels + electronic viewfinder with 188,000 pixels
  • Full manual controls
  • Intelligent Auto mode features auto scene selection, face detection (for up to 15 faces), and continuous AF
  • High sensitivity mode can boost ISO to 6400 (oh, good)
  • RAW image format support
  • Records widescreen movies at 848 x 480, with sound
  • 27MB onboard memory + SD/SDHC/MMC card slot
  • Support for conversion lenses and filters
  • Uses proprietary li-ion battery; 400 shots per charge
  • Comes in silver and black
  • Ships this September for $400

But please – ISO6400? On a Panasonic, they must be kidding!

And why can’t people make f/2.0 lenses like the old Canon G2!

You can read more here:

First look: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 preview

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15,810 views - Filed under: Equipment,Panasonic

Olympus SP-550 UZ (Ultra Zoom – 18x zoom) Full Reviews

ShaolinTiger posted this at 2:13 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 —

I was waiting for this camera for a while, could it be the ultimate super zoom with it’s incredible 18x optical zoom?

Olympus SP-550 UZ

The SP-550 UZ main features:

  • 18x wide optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm camera) 1:2.8-4.5
  • Dual Image Stabilization
  • 7.1 Megapixels
  • 6.4cm/2.5″ LCD with 230,000 pixels
  • High burst rate (up to 15fps*)
  • Super Macro mode (from as close as 1cm)
  • P/A/S/M exposure modes
  • BrightCapture Technology for better low light photography – also available in movie mode
  • 23 scene modes (including Portrait, Sports, Night Scene)
  • 25 languages on board
  • Internal memory plus xD-Picture Card slot
  • Supplied with Olympus Master software and four AA batteries

I mean realistically I wasn’t expecting too much, and I am looking for a backup compact camera for the times when I don’t carry my dSLR around and also something to use for underwater shooting.

I’m glad they chose to go with the wider end at 28mm rather than the standard 35mm for those sweeping landscapes.

The camera seems to perform reasonably well.

Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom – Digital Camera Review

The Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom, with it’s impressive wide-angle 18x optical zoom lens and CCD-Shift image stabilisation, is an appealing digital camera providing a zoom range of 28mm – 504mm. It feels very comfortable in hand, and produces very good images with very pleasing colours and generally low noise. The screen and electronic viewfinder are good. The camera is easy to use, especially with the built in help and shooting guide, and camera speed is fairly good. The camera offers good battery life, with very good controls and very good build quality.

Olympus SP-550 UZ Review – Photography Blog

With an asking price of £375 in the UK, which is similar to what some retailers are now asking for body-only DSLR deals, potential purchasers of the Olympus SP-550 UZ face a hard choice – particularly those who are upgrading from a simple point-and-shoot, and don’t already have the increased flexibility of a prosumer camera. Build quality is however good given its mainly plastic frame – the camera is solidly fashioned, attractively finished, and with batteries inserted feels capable of withstanding a few knocks in the heat of the action. The necessary unfurling of that zoom lens however does slow down responsiveness.

DCRP Review: Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom

The Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom is a great example of a marketing-driven cameras. I’m just guessing here, but the marketing folks at Olympus probably got together and said “let’s make an ultra zoom camera with the biggest and baddest specs on the market”, and then the engineers had to make it work. And it works, for the most part — though plenty of compromises were made. While it’s not the best ultra zoom on the market, the SP-550 is still a very good one, and certainly worth a look.

Olympus SP-550 UZ Review – DPReview

The SP-550UZ is, then, a camera that tries a little to hard to be a true jack of all trades, and ends up being master of none; a perfect example of the whole being lesser than the sum of its parts. And yet the funny thing is, that after all that, I actually quite liked it. I guess – in a perverse way – it’s sometimes nice to use a camera that forces you out of the lazy ‘point and shoot’ mentality and reminds you that photographers, not cameras, take pictures.

All in all, it might be better to stick with the upcoming Canon Powershot S5 IS.

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4,131 views - Filed under: Equipment,Olympus

Canon Powershot S5 IS Announced – 8 Megapixels

ShaolinTiger posted this at 5:49 pm on Monday, May 7, 2007 —

Canon has today announced the S5IS. This camera has features including a 8.0 Megapixel, 1/2.5-inch CCD, DIGIC III Image Processor, 12x optical zoom lens with a shift-type optical Image Stabilizer (IS) system and 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD monitor with wide viewing angle.

A bit sad they didn’t make it wider though, it’s still stuck at 36mm rather than the nice 28mm equiv most other manufacturers are going for. The extra wide is better than the extra zoom.

Canon Powershot S5 IS

It uses four AA batteries to shoot up to approx. 170 images (based on the CIPA standard when the LCD monitor is on), and SD memory cards, SDHC memory cards and MultiMediaCards for the recording media. Images are utilized with a direct print compatible printer, computer and TV via USB 2.0 Hi-Speed.

Notice how they jumped from S3 to S5 to avoid the ‘unlucky’ number 4. It looks virtually the same as the S3 IS though. Perhaps a little cleaner images due to Digic III and 8 megapixels.

The dimensions (excluding protrusions) of the main body are 117.0 x 80.0 x 77.7 mm (4.6 x 3.2 x 3.1 in.) and the weight is approximately 450 g (15.9 oz.).

Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels – Approx. 8.0 Megapixels

Image Sensor – 1/2.5-inch type CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 8.3 megapixels)

Imaging Processor – DIGIC III

Viewfinder – Color LCD viewfinder (Picture coverage rate 100%) with Dioptric Adjustment – 5.5 to +1.5 m-1 (dpt.)

Lens – 12x Optical Zoom Lens with the Lens Shift Type Image Stabilization 6.0 (W)–72.0 (T) mm (35mm equiv. : 36 (W)–432 (T) mm) f/2.7 (W)–f/3.5 (T)

Digital Zoom – Approx. 4.0x (Up to approx. 48x in combination with the optical zoom)

Digital Tele-converter (35mm equiv.) – 1.6x: 57.6 (W)–691.2 (T) mm 2.0x: 72 (W)–864 (T) mm

LCD Monitor – Wide Viewing Angle2.5-inch type, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT (vari-angle) color LCD, Approx. 207,000 pixels (Picture coverage 100%)

I hope they’ve improved the flash so you can actually use it for macro, it doesn’t look like it though with minimum focus distance of 10cm but minimum flash range of 30cm.

Quite useless design.

Flash Range for Macro: 30–50 cm (12 in.–1.6 ft.) (W) (ISO speed : Auto)

Sensibly they have attached a flash hotshoe though, which was lacking on the S3 IS.

More information can be found here at the Canon site here:

Canon S5 IS

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Panasonic FZ-8 Reviews & Summary

ShaolinTiger posted this at 12:19 pm on Thursday, April 26, 2007 —

The perfect choice for any photographer with varied photographic needs and high ambitions – Panasonic is pleased to introduce the new DMC-FZ8 7.2-megapixel Lumix camera, featuring a powerful 12x optical zoom, LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and the ever popular and indispensable Optical Image Stabiliser (O.I.S). With a joystick control for manual adjustment of focusing and exposure setting, the DMC-FZ8 offers high end specification and portability.

Panasonic FZ-8

A fast, long 12x optical zoom lens and easy-to-use controls help make up a little for the DMC-FZ8’s image-quality issues.

A few reviews have come out, and I do like the Panasonic cameras, apart from the noise issues of course…

The FZ-8 is a slightly more compact choice than the FZ-50 series and a bit bigger than the TZ-1 series, something comparable to a Canon S3 IS.

Reviews:

Panasonic FZ-8 Consumer Review

In comparison to its predecessor, the Panasonic Lumix FZ8 is a very welcome upgrade with some great features for a very competitive price. Along with fast operation, great battery life and the bonus of a very effective image stabilisation, the FZ8 should be very seriously considered.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Review – DPReview

If you accept that the size and convenience of this type of product means a certain level of compromise you won’t be disappointed. Viewed on-screen at 100% the output often leaves a little to be desired, but for ‘normal’ use (standard sized prints, full screen viewing) the excellent lens and reliable focus/exposure systems cannot fail to impress. On this basis I think it’s safe to say that the FZ8 just about offers enough to earn a qualified Highly Recommended, but I’d urge you to check out the sample images – and decide if you’re prepared to shoot raw when it matters and to stick to ISO 100 whenever possible – before deciding.

Review: Panasonic DMC-FZ8 compared to the Olympus SP-550 UZ

The SP-550 is better built with very good ergonomics and many features. The FZ8, though, is faster and has a slight advantage in image quality with less distortion, color noise, chromatic aberration and workable RAW. Looking at the plain figures, this match ends in a draw. However, considering the price difference (the FZ8 is over 100 dollar cheaper than the SP-550), the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 wins by a nose.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 – CNET

While the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 has problems with noise, in many other ways it is a very nice camera. Its controls make it easy to use, and it packs a very impressive feature set. If you’re not persnickety about noise or image quality, it makes a nice camera for beginner and intermediate photographers to learn on. Advanced shooters who want pristine image quality should look elsewhere.

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3,866 views - Filed under: Equipment,Panasonic
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