- Browse Reviews:
Olympus SP-500 UZ 6 to 7 Megapixel
A powerful 10x optical zoom and a ton of advanced manual and impressive automatic features. Extend your options via additional lenses and shoot with speed. From simple one-touch buttons for printing and deleting images to an intuitive menu providing the means towards full creative control.
Submitted by tooljunkie a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: June 13, 2007
Strengths: AA batteries easy to find and cheap to buy. 10X zoom with great optics. Fits hand well. Something like 26 different settings including going to totally manual. Olympus quality. Large capacity card. Good battery life. Large view screen that is switchable to the view finder. Nice black body. I have an optional USB card holder that makes photo transferring very quick and easy. Size of camera makes it easy to hold steady (it is large, but not real heavy).
This is a good camera for someone needing or wanting more than a Point and Shoot, but less than a full on digital SLR.
Weaknesses: Could use a wider angle lens. Needs image stabilization. Can be slow for action settings (may be me not setting it correctly). So many options can be confusing. Setting adjustment knob on top of camera is easy to bump and change setting, it needs more tension. Camera is large.
I like the black body. Reminds me of the nice black body SLR's that cost extra 30 years ago. I love the textured grip, very easy to hold on to the camera. One nice feature is being able to switch the view screen to the view finder. All of the menu is then viewable through the view finder, very useful in bright light conditions.
The camera uses 4 AA batteries, easy to find. I use rechargeable and keep an extra set with the camera. I bought a 1GB xd card that will hold 256 photos at the large size.
10X zoom is very useful in some conditions.
The camera body is large, although not as big as a digital SLR. Not a camera that can be put in your shirt pocket.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $350.00
Purchased At: local caamera store
Similar Products Used: Olympus D550
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by flifishun a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2006
Strengths: Best lens I found in its price range.
Camera seems well put together, with a well thought out, simple design.
High resolution images, natural colors.
Weaknesses: 2 that aren't weaknesses of the camera itself.
1. Would like a wider angle as part of the zoom.
2. Does not include a lens hood/adapter tube for filters. It must be purchased seperately.
This is the fisrt digital camera I've purchased. I've mainly used Pentax SLR gear prior to this, which I plan to continue using. I had also used other peoples digitals on occation.
Lately I had noticed these larger DSLR style digitals, which I much prefer to the deck of cards size cameras which were around so long. I narrowed my search to the Olympus and a Fuji S series which was priced the same.
I'm glad I went with the Olympus, because I now feel after reading other reviews and my own experience, this is the better camera.
I'll start with the lens, which is often strangely ignored in reviews of digitals. For me the long zoom was just an extra. I went for this style of camera because I feel the larger diameter lens elements simply produce better images. Megapixels seem to do only so much in a small CCD with a lens the diameter of a dime.
I don't know the exact composition of the lens, but it has 2 aspherical elements and at least 1 ED element. I could not find a lens of its quality, in the same price range, on any other digital. Looking into the barrel at the elements, they appear to have excellent multi-coating. The pictures from it have very high resolution to my eyes. I would prefer a wider angle at the short end of the zoom range.
The finish and style of the camera are nice. I have heard some people berate it as spartan, plain looking, very few controls, etc... which I found kind of funny. This simplicity is something I've always appreciated about my old SLR's and rangefinders, and I like it about this camera as well.
How many folks have you witnessed "fiddling" with their digital controls?
If you get this style of camera, go for the zoom lever type, operated by the index finger. Not the 2 button type, operated by the thumb. I feel this is a basic design flaw on digital zooms because it is impossible to maintain a steady grip while working buttons on the back of a camera with your thumb. The thumb was made to grip.
The LCD is large and bright, no better or worse than any similar one I've seen.
The menus seem about the same as other cameras I've looked at. They all take a little time to learn. If you are interested in taking good pictures, this should be no problem.
I'm not a big fan of flash photography, but others have reviewed the flash as good. Much better than similar cameras.
The CCD seems fine to me. I can't detect any noise unless the image is greatly enlarged, which serves no purpose for me. In macro mode on HQ, SHQ1or RAW setting and 80iso, I can detect no noise and the images are incredibly well rendered.
I got the camera to learn digital while still being able to create good pictures.
I highly recommend this camera.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $350.00
Purchased At: Best Buy
Similar Products Used: None
Type of photography: Outdoor
Check out our holiday gift suggestions for these categories!
See All Holiday Gift Guide coverage - Click Here »