Olympus SP-100EE Review

August 18, 2014 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |

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#1 Joe Prete

Nice review Zoltan, and good selection of images. I don’t know if that “Sight Dot” is a good enough excuse for Olympus to be so late with this bracket of camera, but better late than never. I do know that Serious Olympus users will surely be surprised. They are use to Precision, and Serious cameras. This is a bit “Toy Like” for them. Good job, nonetheless.
… Joe Prete

6:49 pm - Monday, August 18, 2014

#2 Artur

where are the RAW image samples!

7:06 pm - Monday, August 18, 2014

#3 Joe Prete

OLYMPUS has Free Shipping, I believe today is the last Day. It is their “Back to School Sale”, and I checked, this Camera is $399 at http://www.getolympus.com  2nd Day Shipping is Free!
Btw, Several other Olympus Cameras, Lenses and accessories are on sale, but the Free Shipping was extend to cover TODAY!
… Joe Prete

7:28 pm - Monday, August 18, 2014

#4 vauve

No RAW, can’t beat the Canon SX50 HS.

7:39 pm - Monday, August 18, 2014

#5 Joe Prete

Hey Vauve,
Where’ve you been? I think you’re right, but we are very close to the Canon SX60 HS, but I believe that the SX50 HS will remain available for quite a while yet. Maybe the price will come down a bit!
Good hearing from you Vauve, I was wondering where you went!
… Joe

8:06 pm - Monday, August 18, 2014

#6 ilovephotography

Hello photographers!

I would love to introduce to you this great free tool!!

http://www.spiralpic.com

1:02 am - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#7 Jawad

This is a great review, thanks. I’ve been considering buying the sp-100EE, as I want something with an ultra zoom that is a reasonable price, thank you!

12:56 pm - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#8 Patrick

Olympus has been making superzooms for many years, so I don’t understand Joe Prete’s comment about them being “so late with this bracket of camera”.

They used to make very good superzooms that even shot raw, but the last few years they dumbed them down to simple P&S cameras in DSLR clothing, like SP-820UZ, that didn’t even have an EVF or PASM modes. The SP-100EE seems to be a step in the right direction, though, and the Stylus 1 is an excellent bridge camera, even if it’s not quite a ‘superzoom’.

7:14 pm - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#9 Joe Prete

Patrick,
SuperZoom cameras are considered 50X ZOOM, or with a lens of at least 1200mm Since I’ve had my SX50 HS (2 yrs.)  others followed-
Canon SX50 HS 24-1200mm *(1st 50X Zoom)
Fujifilm SL1000,
Fujifilm S1,
Fujifilm S9400,
Fujifilm S9200,
Sony DSC-HX 400V, and the
Sony DSC-HX300, Are all 24-1200mm (50X) Super Zoom cameras
Panasonic DMC-FZ70 is 20-1200mm (60X) Wide-Super Zoom
Samsung WB220F 20-1200 (60X) Wide-Superzoom, and the model
Pentax XG-1 is 24-1248mm.
The Nikon P600 is 24-1440mm and
The Sony DSC-H400 is King Super Zoom at 24.5-1550mm
This is just from memory, but they are all currently available. As far as I know, this is the first Olympus to enter this range, but I have seen Canon’s Patent for a Much longer SUPER ZOOM CAMERA!!
If you like Olympus,  by all means go for it. The Dot Sight is a very good idea, but other than that, and it’s good looks, it will be very comparable to several others. The SX60 HS will soon be out, but that is not the patent I was referring to. I do believe 1200mm may be the longest practical Zoom, but technology continues to surprise me (us) Olympus had free shipping, I posted that yesterday. So you have like a Dozen cameras in this range, I don’t think we can count cameras of 1000mm and less as Super Zoom cameras any more, since there is nothing Super about them. Cameras have advanced.
… Joe Prete

9:48 pm - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#10 Patrick

Joe, of course you are right that what is considered to be “superzoom” is constantly being redefined, as longer and longer zoom lenses are being put into cameras. My point was that this category of camera, DSLR-shaped superzooms or bridge cameras, is nothing new to Olympus. I didn’t know that you were referring specifically to cameras with at least a 50x zoom.

11:50 pm - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#11 Joe Prete

Patrick,
Aside from the SX50 HS, I have a Fujifilm HS50EXR, HS30EXR, a Panasonic DMC-FZ200, FZ100 and a Canon S5 IS.  We have to draw the line somewhere. I’m sure you could include a 1000mm in the Super Zoom category, but we’re within 1 month of Photokina 2014, so I am sure we will be surprised again. I’ve come to expect it. It’s a matter of opinion, no big deal. Btw, I am thinking about selling some cameras. I feel they could be used, and they could become someone else’s favorite camera, like they once were to me. If I could only keep 3 cameras, they’d be the Nikon D700, D7100 and the Panasonic DMC-LX7 (But I could never part with the DMC-FZ200) 
If Olympus DSLR’s (& their lenses) weren’t so expensive I would be shooting their cameras now, because they are such High Quality builds. I am glad they are still able to keep up. It is a very difficult business, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another merger!
What camera do you use? (others are welcome to reply too)
… Joe Prete

12:17 am - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#12 Zari

Terrible, Terrible image quality…. Brrrrrrr…..

2:45 pm - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#13 Artur

vauve, camera supports RAW, is just reviewer got careless and didn’t post any.

7:55 pm - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#14 Anonymous

Artur, this camera does not support RAW. Just check the specs on Olympus’ website. The only Olympus compacts supporting RAW are the Stylus 1 and the XZ series.

12:35 pm - Thursday, August 28, 2014

#15 Artur

My mistake… I must apologize.  I miss-read it then… sorry again…

12:39 pm - Thursday, August 28, 2014

#16 Anonymous

That’s ok, Artur, we all make mistakes.  :)
I also think Olympus made a mistake by not including RAW. A camera of this type really should have it.

7:19 pm - Thursday, August 28, 2014

#17 Mr Lynn

Doggone it, I keep reading these reviews looking for comparisons of the electronic viewfinders on these ‘bridge’ cameras, and I can’t find them.  Most ‘superzooms’ (say 40x or more) seem to sport only 201k-dot EVFs.  Two that have 920k-dot EVFs, and so are presumably better, are the Fujifilm S1, and the Olympus SP100 (reviewed here).  But both have been downgraded on this site for image quality at even modest ISOs.

Are the 920k EVFs significantly better than the 201ks?  If it weren’t for the Canon SX50’s terrible EVF, I’d have bought one of those long ago—every review I’ve read says their IQ is tops in the ‘superzoom’ class.  I’ve actually tried one at Best Buy, and the EVF was simply awful.  And I hate shooting with the screen on back.

So what to do?  Trade IQ for EVF?  The odd thing is that a Sony HX300 in Best Buy had a nice, bright EVF, even though it’s also listed at 201k.  What to make of that?

Advice welcome.  Have any of your reviewers actually a side-by-side comparison of EVFs in the superzoom class?  For folks like me, it would be critically important.

/Mr Lynn

2:41 pm - Monday, September 1, 2014

#18 Joe Prete

Mr Lynn,
Not many people are swayed by “Higher Resolution” EVF’s. This has nothing to do with the final image, it is only needed to Frame and Compose your Picture. More expensive cameras usually do have a higher resolution EVF’s, but it does not translate into better images on your Computer Screen, or in your Final Prints. For a few years the EVF, and the OVF were being left out completely! The manufacturers were almost swayed by the ‘Point & Shooters”, but they have started including them again. The longer the lens, the more you need some type of Viewfinder, EVF or OVF (DSLR’s & Compacts). You wouldn’t believe how many Zoom cameras out there have no viewfinder at all

I’ve used and I own many of these cameras, and in my opinion, the SX50 HS (the first 50X Digital Camera, and still one of the best) may be a bit much for the average user. It is common to lose your image at that length, the Site was added to the SP-100EE to assist in the task of getting your image back into the frame, and the site is just an optical finder with a simple design. A good idea, nonetheless!

You might want to look at the Fujifilm HS50EXR, it has a 1/4” 920,000 Color Dot LCD EVF, and a 3” 920,000 Color Dot TFT LCD Panel. I would think that is easier for them to match the resolution in each, but not every brand does. 1000mm’s is quite enough for most users, and it utilizes a 1/2” Sensor, one of the most relevant specifications, when it comes to Resolution. You should consider the specifications that will impact your own use, and get the camera that works best for you. Location and availability may also effect your choice. Be sure the brand is sold (and serviced) in your area.

A whole new group of cameras will be announced in the coming weeks, both before and during Photokina, and you will no doubt find another camera that seems better. It happens with every new generation, but you have start shooting your photos at some point. Try not to shop AFTER you buy, that is a bad habit with technology products. Consider your intended Subjects, and what you are willing to carry. The best camera maybe the one you can easily bring along.
… Joe

11:46 pm - Monday, September 1, 2014

#19 Mr Lynn

Thanks, Joe, for the quick and interesting response.

I do know that the viewfinder has nothing to do with the image the camera takes.  I’m just an amateur, but I started out with old screw-mount Leicas (which I still have), with their two tiny windows (one for focus, the other a viewfinder).  For any lens not the normal (50mm) one, you had to buy a separate viewfinder that mounted on the ‘cold’ shoe (no electricity), and in addition to focusing, you had to adjust the external VF for parallax.

At some point in the ‘90s I stopped using the Leicas and went to inexpensive P&S film cameras, since I was just taking family snapshots.  Then for a trip to Spain in 2006 I finally made the jump to digital cameras with a little Canon A540 P&S.  Over the next few years I used that all over, and actually go some quite pleasing pictures.

A couple of years ago I decided to upgrade to a more capable camera, one that I could use for a variety of purposes, including shooting from the canoe.  I looked at the Canon SX40, whose results I’d seen, and my first reaction was, “What a horrible viewfinder!”  That’s still my impression (of the current SX50).

So I bought a Rebel T2i instead. I use it with the kit lens (18-55) for snapshots.  I love the SLR approach, seeing what the lens sees, through the (optical) viewfinder; I thoroughly dislike using the screen for framing, and only use one on my iPhone, because there’s no option.

Then I added a Tamron 17-270 for outdoors, even for birds.  Unhappily, I find the T2i/Tamron combination awfully awkward to use in the canoe, or traveling on trains, and just walking around playing tourist.  And the lens is not really long enough to capture that heron at 50 yards, either.  I do not have the time these days for much post-processing.

So I’ve been looking at superzooms again.  I decided to put up with an EVF, and that’s where I’m running into the dilemma: the best superzoom for image quality (SX50) has one of the worst EVFs.

I’ve been reading reviews of the Fujifilm HX50EXR, and they are not flattering when it comes to IQ.  No, I’m not going to be making huge prints, but I do like to look at photos on good computer monitors and TVs.  And why settle for fuzzy?

I was hoping to decide before a trip a month from now, but maybe I should follow your suggestion and wait to see what the fall brings.  Maybe Canon will improve their EVF!  I suspect there really are a lot of people like me who spend most of their camera time with the instrument up to their eye, looking through a viewfinder, and hate holding the camera out to use the back screen.

One note: Brick-and-morter stores carrying decent cameras are increasingly rare around here (Framingham, MA).  It’s hard to actually find a Fuji or Panasonic (for example) to pick up and look through.  That’s why I was asking for a comparative review of EVFs.  Why, for instance, is the Sony HX300’s brighter and larger than the Canon SX50’s, even though they have the same nominal resolution?

/Mr Lynn

3:00 pm - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#20 Joe Prete

Mr Lynn,
You can’t believe every review you read, reviewers tend to be very critical, and you will be left with only a couple of cameras to choose from. You might want to see what actual users have to say. If you go to http://www.flickr.com and type the camera model into the search box you will find only images taken with that type of camera, then you can inquire about the quality and features of the camera from the person that shot the image with each camera. You can see how long they’ve been using each camera, by the date on each image, and they seem to be very willing to share their experience. There are no perfect cameras, but you can see which suits you the best.  I think you may have to compromise, but todays cameras are easy to adapt to. If you want make a comparison, write to me and I’ll help you out with that… .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  I shoot with Nikon DSLR’s, Panasonic & Canon Compacts, Panasonic & Fujifilm Bridge/Super Zoom cameras. It is not very hard to learn each menu system, and with the Compact LX7, I use the LCD, not a Viewfinder. That even surprised me, I expected to get one of their (2) auxiliary Viewfinders, but it is actually very nice to use with just the LCD.

Those Leica cameras are still worth quite a bit on the used market, and many people are still using film. You might want to look into that if you are not using them. I expect some of the new cameras to increase the zoom but I really think 1200mm’s is quite a bit to hand hold. I find that the 24-600mm is usually enough. Some systems, like Panasonic’s, have Digital Zoom that really works quite well. If I’m shooting small subjects, like Birds, I use the 24-1000mm Fuji HS50EXR for the longer reach, and larger sensor. This Fall will most likely see cameras like a Canon SX60 HS, but you may find better prices, if you can choose from the existing models, a tradeoff! 
… Joe

9:04 pm - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#21 Mr Lynn

Thanks, Joe, for the advice.  Certainly reading reviews can be discouraging: you look at their resolution charts and 100% enlargements, and read the comments about noise and other failings, and almost nothing looks good.  The side-by-side sample comparisons I’ve seen between the Canon SX50 and the superzoom competition certainly make the Canon seem sharper, especially at long range.

But it is relative, as you say.  My daughter has been scanning some of the slides I took 30 or so years ago with my antique Leicas, and some of them look pretty sharp.  Of course those were darned good lenses.  On the other hand, I enjoy looking at screen-saver shots I took with my little Canon A540, even through dirty train windows: not sharp, but neat images.  In the end, it’s content that counts.

I’m thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t think of replacing my T2i/Canon 18-55/Tamron 18-270 kit with a ‘bridge’ camera, but maybe *supplementing* it, for traveling, canoeing, and such.  I’ve been looking at reviews of the Fuji HS50EXR you suggested, also the Fuji SL1000.  The HS50 has a slightly bigger sensor, but a shorter zoom (42x from the 24mm low end both have); and the image-quality reviews of the SL1000 seem as good or better.  What do you think of the SL1000?  Both have the 920k viewfinder, which for me is potentially a *huge* plus (though I haven’t actually seen either of these cameras).  And the SL1000 is somewhat lighter and smaller, which might be good for travel.  The lack of threads for a lens filter (for protection) bothers me a little, though.

I probably *should* sell my III-series Leicas (two bodies, four lenses).  Haven’t wanted to bother with the uncertainties of eBay, and don’t know of a local outlet (no desire to entrust items like these to Craigslist). Nor do I have a clue what they might be worth.

/Mr Lynn

7:47 pm - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#22 Joe Prete

Mr Lynn,
You really should find out the value of the Leica cameras, just so you know what you’re dealing with. They are probably worth quite a bit more than you will spend on your next camera! As for the two Fuji cameras, the difference is slight in both areas, but on the long end it’s just a few degrees. You can make that up with Digital zoom or in post. Think of the SL1000 as a more electronically advanced Digital camera, and the HS50EXR as a more conventional camera. The first thing you will notice is the Manual Zoom, but that is more of an advantage to most of us. The EXR is better for HDR, and the sensor is their CMOS II with Phase Detection and a faster Processor.
Wow, the choices, you could have worse problems!
… Joe

2:58 am - Thursday, September 4, 2014

#23 Mr Lynn

Sounds like you’re partial to the HS50 over the SL1000.  Of course, both are said to have IQ inferior to the Canon SX50 at ISOs from 800 up, but that’s also said of others.  I don’t really know the import of the technical features you mention.

What do you think of the Fujifilm S1?  The ‘all-weather’ build is appealing.

And the Olympus that this thread is ostensibly about?

/Mr Lynn

4:05 am - Thursday, September 4, 2014

#24 Mr Lynn

Update: I see that in the Comments thread for the S1, you described it as an SL1000 dressed up in a weather-resistant body; the review was pretty dismissive of the IQ, too.  Oh well.  Sounds like the best Fuji might indeed be the HS50.

I went over to Flickr.  I wasn’t impressed with the Olympus SP-100EE photos; colors seemed over-saturated, or something.  The Fuji pics (all three models) looked better, but the Canon SX50’s survived blowing up on the screen best of all.  Is it Canon’s lens, or processing, or both?

A fellow on another forum (not a camera forum, though there are photographers on it, including pros), points me to an accessory lens that fits on the tripod mount or the hot shoe and turns your back LCD screen into a viewfinder (!):

http://www.clearviewer.com/Products.html

Might work best for the ‘mirrorless’ digital cameras that seem to be proliferating; I can’t really seeing it on a bridge camera that already has a viewfinder, however bad.

/Mr Lynn

12:52 am - Saturday, September 6, 2014

#25 Ritesh Doshi

The view finder, auto focus, 50x zoom & “Eagles eye technology” impressed me a lot. With the existing features at its price tag is very much acceptable.
Awesome camera..!!!

9:24 am - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#26 raj

can any one plz tell me which camera i should use as a beginer. .

3:30 pm - Monday, March 30, 2015

#27 RPD

Hi all,

Hope that experts are still reading this, i am a beginner and looking for a nice, easy to use Bridge cam and the final choice would be between the Olympus SP-100EE and Lumix DMC FZ72. The latter one has a better review, but my gut feels better with olympus.

What to take, the main purpose would be to use it during travels and wildlife pictures, but also the general travel kind of stuff. (think south africa with safaris, nice views and city/ buildings)

9:20 am - Thursday, April 16, 2015

#28 Joe Prete

RPD,
What Brand/Model cameras have you used before? Have you been able to hold the Olympus or the Panasonic yet? This wouldn’t be a First camera for you, would it? If it is, are you only using reviews for your comparison?
… Joe Prete

10:16 am - Thursday, April 16, 2015

#29 Patrick

@RPD

Imaging Resource did a comparison between several superzooms last year, including the SP-100 and the FZ70 (called FZ72 in Europe).
Their final recommendations were Nikon P600 (now replaced by the P610) and Fuji S1, but you might find it worthwhile to read the whole article and look at their pictures.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/best-superzoom-2014/best-superzoom-2014-A.HTM

10:40 am - Thursday, April 16, 2015

#30 RPD

@Joe:

Ive used a small lumix compact in the past some zoom, cant remember which type.

now i regularly use a Canon Ixus 130 compact. I havent held either camera yet since i cant find any shops that have these cams.

Ive based myself on these reviews but also the ones from the Dutch Consumer Authority which rates the Lumix as best tested and best value for money and the Olympus in the top end but slightly lower in the ranking

I am also planning to buy the camera well before my trips to allow for a lot of time to get to know the camera!

@Patrick,

Thanks for sharing that page, the winners are out of my budget to be honest, As i am looking to take the next step and make nice photographs on holiday

11:37 am - Thursday, April 16, 2015

#31 Joe Prete

RPD,
I suggest that you go with the Panasonic DMC-FZ70 since it’s still in production, and you’ve already used their menu system. The current US price is about $245.00 I am sure that if you find the Olympus, it will be much cheaper, since they are old stock and anyone that has them, would be happy to get some return on their stock. Olympus SP-100EE may look like a bargain now, but if you ever need repair or accessories for it, you’ll most likely be out of luck.

The Canon SX50 HS that is listed in “Main Rivals” above, is also still available from Canon, it is geared toward moving targets like Sports and Wildlife shooting, but if that’s a small percentage of your shots you can turn off the “Focus Tracking ~ Zoom Assist System”, and it will work fine as a Travel camera as well, so it will be there if you need it for action shots. In the US, it sells for $329.00

The Nikon P610 is still in production, but it is under MAP, and at a cost of about $469.00 it’s probably well out of your price range. 
The P600 may be available at a lower cost- if the stock hasn’t dried up yet. They are both very nice cameras, and Parts or repair would be very easy to find, due to their long production run. In the UK the schedule is probably months ahead of the US. I hope that helps you.
… Joe Prete

4:06 pm - Thursday, April 16, 2015

#32 RPD

Thanks Joe,

This is really helpful, ive found a shop where i can ‘hold’ both so thats great and i definately take this with me in the decision, which for me comes down to Nikon or Lumix.

In the netherlands the olympus is actually more expensive compared to the Lumix. The lumix is harder to find here, sometimes its (permanently) sold out, whereas the Olympus is still in stock. It should be no problem to find them however.

I will check out the Nikon and the Lumix!

Thanks again for your insights!

Best

7:20 am - Friday, April 17, 2015

#33 Patrick

Just a correction regarding the availability of FZ72 and SP-100. Joe Prete wrote that the former is still in production and that the latter is old stock, and therefore cheaper.

The FZ72 was released in mid-2013, and the SP-100 in early 2014, so the Olympus is in fact a newer model. And as far as I know, it hasn’t been discontinued yet.

I live in Sweden, and here the situation is the same as in the Netherlands. The Olympus is slightly more expensive and easier to find.

9:34 am - Friday, April 17, 2015

#34 RPD

Thanks Patrick!

Is there a general rule of thumb when going for cameras where you can say, a newer camera is probably faster or better quality than older ones. Like it is with PC’s or Smartphones?

When i read this, it doesnt seem to go for Camera’s as much

10:40 am - Friday, April 17, 2015

#35 RPD

Hi All,

Just wanted to check back with you and let you know i have chosen the nikon p610, after holding several cameras and decided that this was the best deal. Nikon has a 60 euro cashback in NL and the local shop had a 100 euro reduction, making it a really nice deal (270 euro)

Took it with me to barcelona and only shot on auto-mode because time was too tight to learn all options and settings but i am very pleased with the results so far.

Thanks for your contributions, really helpful stuff for me!

3:26 pm - Friday, May 1, 2015

#36 Joe Prete

RPD,
Be sure to take advantage of the Free “Learn & Explore” features and the “Nikon image Space” to store and view your images at Nikon.  Go to http://www.nikon.com  ...and Good Luck with your New Camera!
… Joe Prete

6:02 pm - Friday, May 1, 2015

#37 Marcel Smit

It seems that Mr. Prete and Mr. Lyn hijacked this particular thread. The two of you remind me of the James Bond movie “Diamonds are Forever” there are these two homicidal guys (mind you, I don’t mean to say that the two of you are homicdical)  but the way they are talking to each other.
Anyway I realy do think some kind of moderation is needed in the comment section.
And if this sound frustrated to you, that’s because I am. This has nothing to do with the traits of the SP-100

8:32 pm - Thursday, June 2, 2016

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hd video, hd, review, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, test, wide-angle, 16 megapixel, wi-fi, wireless, wifi, olympus, super-zoom, travel, 24mm, super zoom, 50x zoom, 1200mm, sp-100ee, Olympus SP-100EE Review

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