Olympus SP-800UZ Review

4.0
April 12, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

Your Comments

217 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Frank Stanton

I don’t get your selection of Sample Images. Not a single Cityscape picture of the Thames, London skyline or crowds of people. Your choice of 28 mm wide pictures really aren’t that helpful unless you live on a farm. I assume this camera is aimed at amateur tourists. If so your so-called vistas will be cold comfort. Come on guys, you can at least walk down to the corner and shoot the skyline, right?

4:04 pm - Monday, April 12, 2010

#2 Thomas

It seems that the Fuji FinePix HS10 offers more (RAW format included).
http://www.pbase.com/middlehill/fujifilm_finepix_hs10_review

7:53 pm - Monday, April 12, 2010

#3 Mark

Agree about the sample images comment. For a mega zoom camera you should at least show a set of two photo’s showing wide angle and full zoom from the same position.

6:02 pm - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#4 ht

That set of two photos is there, under the heading Focal Range.

7:01 pm - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#5 Frank Stanton

ht,
Yeah they’re there; no you can’t expand them; no you can’t tell anything about picture quality; no they’re not helpful. Thanks any way.

11:24 pm - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#6 rob

Just when I thought that the stupid pixel-count-rat-race is over, they came up with another idiotic idea: zoom-range-race. When they will get to the 1000:1 ratio, they will find some other equally moronic way to convince clueless customers to buy their cameras…

12:00 am - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

#7 Jill

Hi all, I bought one of these today and set to sequential shots (several settings) but I CANT get it to take sequential shots. I found the users manual online, but is there a forum or instructions for dummies anywhere??

Aaargh :(

12:29 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#8 Kevin

Jill. There is a simple setting for taking sequence shots. The key thing to be aware of is that you only push the shutter button once while you pan the camrea around. The camera will automatically release the shutter for the second two shots. It is actually a terrible feature because it’s impossible to steady the camera before the next shot fires. In their effort to make it simple they also made it worthless. My Mother bought this contraption and we took it back because it’s garbage. She now has a Canon S90, that is a seriously great pocket cam. No camera with a 30x zoom range will take great photo’s because it REQUIRES two things to happen. One is that the sensor must be very small to develop such incredible reach. That makes for noisy images. The other problem is camera balance, this thing is all lens and little body. A VERY BAD idea when you’re looking at a 840mm focal length. Can you say “steady stream of blurry images. Good luck with it. For outdoor daylight shooting, it should be fine…

6:40 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#9 PeterK

Irritated I was to going make a comment about the ridiculous zoomrange [28 - 840 mm], when I read your comment, Rob; I firmly agree with you. I was even going to make the same comparison: first there was the pixel race, now the latest thing is the zoom race.
OK, 28mm is useful. But 840mm? Whoever can possibly spot interesting things to take photo’s of from a 840mm perspective? Absurd. One would have to keep one’s eyes at the viewfinder constantly - trying to look for interesting things to capture, in stead of going around with an ‘open mind’; it’s the human mind that zooms, so to say.
Peter

7:28 pm - Friday, April 16, 2010

#10 Peter

NOISE, NOISE, NOISE

6:30 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#11 Jill

Thanks Kevin,I managed to find the sequential shots (several settings to choose from) - so many settings! Anyway, I have to say, as a COMPLETE NOVICE this is a great camera. Fair enough, to you guys that are into high end gear/shots it might be crap, but I’m really happy with it. My first outing was a motorsport event and the sequential shots were just brilliant (to my standards!). Since then Ive realised how to improve the quality of the shots, both stills and sequential, and plan to take a photography course so I can understand more about the fundamentals.

11:49 pm - Monday, April 19, 2010

#12 Steve

For an average person like me who is looking to just point and shoot , and maybe on occasion try some macro I really like this camera. Do agree though that the zoom is a bit much.

8:28 am - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#13 MichaelK.

“OK, 28mm is useful. But 840mm? Whoever can possibly spot interesting things to take photo’s of from a 840mm perspective? Absurd.”

What about airplanes in the air? I’d like to have 1000 and more mm, to get good photos.

9:22 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#14 rob

@MichaelK. - Good luck trying to aim your 1000mm (or even 840mm) lens at an airplane!  ;)

10:39 pm - Thursday, April 22, 2010

#15 Rich

I really was looking forward to the new SP800 coming out,but Olympus threw me a curve. They have gone backwards with this camera other than the zoom increase.No aperture or shutter priority and no view finder. It is strictly a point and shoot with a huge zoom. Sorry, Olympus you lost me. I’ll check out Nikon and Fuji hs10.

2:08 am - Saturday, April 24, 2010

#16 hello bob

@16,

but this camera is not even in the same price league as the Fuji that’s like 50% more expensive.

11:06 pm - Saturday, April 24, 2010

#17 Dean

Zoom a bit much? Absurd? I don’t think so, personally I’m a fan of ultrazooms, in fact this is my 5th Olympus UZ camera, I keep upgrading for the longer zoom (One was stolen, one I sold, I still own 3).  It’s a great camera for wildlife photography.  I use a $10 monopod to help stabilize the camera when shooting and I’ve gotten great results.  Does this camera have shortcomings?  Are there tradeoffs?  Yes, if you haven’t yet, read the whole review, I found very little to disagree with.

1:52 am - Sunday, April 25, 2010

#18 Michelle

“Whoever can possibly spot interesting things to take photo’s of from a 840mm perspective?”

ME!!! I am interested in this camera to take pics of my DH surfing-but I don’t want to get wet. My Kodak Z740 isn’t cutting it anymore. Not sure if this is the camera for me, though.

7:44 pm - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

#19 chas

I tested the 800UZ along with the P90, P100 and Pentax x90 and my previous camera was Sony DSC-H7.
I did not include the DSC-HX1 as it was too expensive.
My need is high zoom (birds and animals at a distance) and i was hoping the Olympus x30 would be the best.

I am also against DSLRs as they require additional ens and are too bulky.

The Pentax X90 won the zoom test I performed.

The Olympus is dropping in price, in my opinion, because their stabilization isn’t comparable to the others I tested.

The Sony’s do have good stabilization and the Pentax X90 (26x zoom) came closest in my test.

Here is a link to a dpreview site with the high zoom digital cameras I set up -> http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?method=sidebyside&cameras=fujifilm_hs10,nikon_cpp90,nikon_cpp100,oly_sp800uz,pentax_x90,sony_dsch7,sony_dschx1&show=all

If anyone can find a better high zoom digital camera for less than $475 (taxes and 3 yr warranty included), let me know.

1:03 am - Tuesday, May 4, 2010

#20 Benjamin van Soldt

Just ordered mine yesterday, it seemed to give me the most for the lowest price. All I want is a camera that enabled me to photograph animals and airplanes from some distance. I was in Scotland two weeks ago and in the highlands we saw some deer on the opposite slope of a mountain, alas, I didn’t have enough zoom so I have some rather crappy images of these deer. Same goes for the magnificent C130 Hercules planes that flew over…

2:11 pm - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#21 sulivan

All images from Fujifilm HS10, Olympic SP800 and Nikon P100 are a joke. The pixels could reveal by the annoying pixels, particularly the Olympic SP800 winch came with visible pigmentation.

11:51 pm - Monday, June 7, 2010

#22 Benjamin van Soldt

I took mine with me on vacation last week to New York, and I have a hard time understanding the majority of the comments here. I think the camera is quite good - it does exactly what I want it to do, s how cna I complain. Sure, my previous camera was a first generation digital camera with 1X optical zoom, so I am by no means an expert of photography in any way. That said, I do know what I want and I see this camera is perfectly able to deliver photographs that I can live with and be happy about. Finally I have a camera with some extensive zoom, meaning I can make great pictures of birds, which is probably what I’m going to use this camera most for: birds (and other animals, too, of course) and planes. And, if there is anything else interesting, sure, I’ll use it for that too. Point is, it does a lot for me and it delivers what I want.

I can understand pros might think this camera is a complete “joke”, but for me it’s great.

4:03 pm - Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#23 paul

can an extra zoom lense be attached?

10:57 pm - Friday, June 11, 2010

#24 Junaira

i a just a hobbiest,used before Panasonic DMC-FX10 ,a simple point and shoot camera. So i always fantasized DSLR and cameras with more manual controls and imagining that i should go for it.I bought this OLympus SP-800 , took few shots and then when online reading expert’s view . Ended up with, i should go for Canon S90, But after getting Canon S90, i just compared pictures from moth cameras. Sadly, i found Olypmus result more sharper and clearer than the other , all macros and zoom.The reason, might be, i cant patient for more complex manual settings ezch time . So for siple users who want quality macros and far objects, i think its best camera.

2:12 am - Sunday, June 13, 2010

#25 Marshall

I owned this camera for a few weeks and am having trouble with indoor photos.  The faces are mottled and unclear. Any advice on what I am doing wrong?

5:14 am - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#26 Julia

I get got the new SP-800 UZ yesterday and it is already driving me up the wall.

I’ve been taking photos for over 50 years (since I was 13 or 14)got my own film camera in the 1980’s I transitioned to digital sometime in the late 1980’s.

I have used Olympus digital since 2001 (3000c), followed by the 500,and 590uz. I had no trouble with any of my other up grade but this SP 800UZ is driving me crazy. I truly hate the menu. Did it really save them anything by taking away the knob on the top of the camera to make your choice of macro etc.

I am going to have to get a good tripod for the ultra zoom (hands aren’t as study as they used to be).

I’ll kept trying to get used to it through the weekend at least before I make a final decision on whether to keep it take it past.

10:16 pm - Friday, June 18, 2010

#27 Jill

Hang in there Julia.
Ive now had mine for a couple of months. Yes the menu is a bit of a drain, hardly a “point n click” *just give me 2 minutes while I boot the thing up, choose the right settings for the shot* as the sunset fades to dusk and no longer do we have a shot ... but :) I’m really happy with it. The tripod is the way to go, I had the same problem. I doubt anyone has a steady enough hand to hold it still on full zoom on a small target, but the results are, I think, excellent for the money/size/portability.

2:57 am - Saturday, June 19, 2010

#28 Julia

I woke this morning thinking about this camara and realized that something else is missing that is “My Setting” which was a great thing because in the prime picture taking time (spring and summer) I use the micro setting more then anything else. With this camera as far as I can tell I’ll have the reset everytime I turn off the camera or it turns itself off because I haven’t take a picture for several minutes.

5:25 pm - Saturday, June 19, 2010

#29 Meghan

hi, i’m looking for a good camera for a very, very amateur photographer. i can’t decide between the 800uz or the canon powershot sx20 IS. (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=19208#ModelFeaturesAct)any suggestions between these or other cameras? i’m also looking for a good point and shoot for just random times with friends and things like that, 12mp or higher, good zoom, nice features, really good image quality…..any suggestions? thanks so much!

7:29 pm - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#30 Alexandru Vladescu

Do you know how is the battery life? (how many pictures can you shoot with him fully charged).
I’m asking that because here says 200 shots and is very little : http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1499&page=specs

11:02 am - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#31 Jill

I took over 1300 images over about 6 hours one day on one charge. The battery was one of the reasons I bought this camera as it uses a similar battery to a mobile phone. I can even charge it in my car with my Nokia 2mm phone charger. Its battery doesnt have a memory apparently, and you can recharge via USB, or top-up whenever you want.

11:56 am - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#32 wow

This camera suck big time.
Lag time is so severe when you try the zoom focus.
Slow responsive time could be very irritated when in for a quick capture a certain images you want in the sport events. I am extremely surprise the image quality is equally as bad as fujifilm finepix HS10.
Though, this camera is good for children 12 or under due to the price so the parent wouldn’t get a pain in the heart when he/she drop it.

11:07 pm - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#33 Julia

wow is right the 800uz does suck big time. I returned mine on the 26th. and I wouldn’t even give it to a 12 year old must less someone under 12. When olmypus gets off their kick that everything has to be menus driven and making changes just for change sakes maybe I’ll try again.  In the mean time I’ll stick with my 590UZ or my old 500. I went to a Day Lilly garden show this last weekend and took about 80 plus pictures mostly micros but a few long shots. I never once had to access a menu.  I moved to dial on the top of the camera from “My Setting” to Auto when I wanted to take a long shot other to My Settings which I have setting with my marco settings. No stress no missing a stop because I had to completely manually reset the setting.  I was a much happier camper at the end of the visit than I was there 3 weeks ago. As far as I’m concerned the 590 is a much better camera.

2:21 am - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#34 Harry Mandeville

I have an Olympus 1.7 x telephoto lens.  can I add it to my SP800uz to get roughly 1400 mm out of it?
What adapters do I need.  It’s all about whose is bigger :)

10:17 pm - Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#35 Benji boy

I agry w/ all the comments bout the menus but if you go to Wal-mart, Best buy, or just about any place that sells camras if you just randomly pick a camra the menu will most likely be like the 800uz because most companies are going in that direction now days

4:33 pm - Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#36 Jacob

I am not understanding why anyone is complaining about this camera. If you’re a “pro” you wouldn’t be using this in the first place. I know quite a few professional photographers, and their cameras and equipment are well higher than the price range we’re looking at here. This is not a pro camera, and it never states that it is. People just like to complain about things or are just mad that they want to be “pros” and this is what they can afford. I myself and not a pro, nor will I ever be. I just like to take pictures, and this camera does more than just take pictures and is well better than the disposables and the Kodak Z915 I used to use.

7:04 pm - Thursday, July 15, 2010

#37 Brandon

I just picked this camera up.  For a certain type of user, I think this is a fabulous camera.  I looked at many cameras before purchase and found this to be by far the best for what I want it for, high zoom photos of wildlife miles from the vehicle.  It is perfect for an outdoorsman like me. If you ever leave the sidewalk or pavement it is great. It is lightest, smallest camera with anywhere near the zoom range.  Pictures are perfectly fine, handheld at maximum zoom. I was very surprised at how good the quality of the pictures are handheld at max zoom.  I could not find any camera more suitable for someone that wants to take pictures of wildlife in remote area accessed by foot.  Sure, that is a special use, but there are plenty of us out there.  If you hunt or just enjoy viewing wildlife and want some good quality pictures of the animals you have seen to show your family and friends, this is a perfect camera. Especially if you walk long distances in rough terrain.

Clearly if you need super quality photos at high zoom and don’t mind lugging a brick, this is not the camera for you.  If you want to record a perfectly acceptable image of amazing wildlife with an amazingly small and light weight camera for the zoom range, it is perfect.  It is the only camera I have found that I actually might carry 10 or 15 miles in my pack. 

All this for $229 at Costco, I am very pleased.  Super value.
Thanks for all the great reviews.

1:47 pm - Friday, July 16, 2010

#38 Nikki

I purchased the Olympus SP-800UZ through either QVS or the other shopping network.  I haven’t had “buyer’s remorse” with the camera…It is a pain though for an amateur photographer (like me) to read the “instruction manual” that I printed.  With that…I just recently purchased a new computer since the my husband’s computer started running flaky.  I downloaded the camera to the other computer but haven’t downloaded this camera to the new computer.  The reason for my ? is that I have both video & picures saved to the camera since I didn’t have a card in the camera @ the time of the picture taking.  How do I download the pictures now with the new computer without deleting the pictures?  Also…I tend to like to take pictures/videos holding the camera vertical.  Now when looking @ the videos, the video is vertical on the computer which isn’t good for watching unless I turn the computer screen sideways.  Any help with that one too?


Thanks for any ones input.

Nikki

12:36 am - Monday, July 19, 2010

#39 Rick

I am considering buying this camera. At my Costco, San Diego, the price is 249, after instant $50 rebate. Which Costco has it for 229 ?
It still seems like a great price for this. I still have my C750, but it loses its settings everytime I change batteries. So I have to set the date, sounds, and all. I did change the internal battery, dod not help.
Thanks for all the reviews. If I do get it, I know the cons before I pick it up.
Thanks,
Rick

5:53 am - Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#40 Jim

The problems with this camera are quite simply threefold:
1. No viewfinder
2. No remote available even as an accessory
3. No threads on the lens to allow for a protective lens filter.

Anyone who has taken many pictures outdoors will discover that eventually a viewfinder is absolutely essential. It would seem logical that a 30X Zoom would really be used outdoors.

My previous Sony DSC H7 (15X zoom) came with both a viewfinder and a remote. Try zooming out to 30x and take a picture with more than one cup of coffee and good luck without a remote even on a tripod. When I checked the Olympus Website I could not find a remote listed antwhere for this camera.
Why am I replacing my Sony? I was dumb enough not to add a uv filter protector to Sony even though it came with the threads on the lens and the ability to add one. Guess what? Last week I was in the mountains set my camera down, accidently knocked it over and put a small chip in the lens.
There are three good reasons the Olympus is $229 at Costco.

5:08 am - Thursday, July 22, 2010

#41 ALAN

You guys rip into anything, this is a great cam for the price and easy to use.

8:13 pm - Saturday, July 24, 2010

#42 Lisa

I purchased this camera at my local Costco as well. I do have a question maybe someone out here can help me with….I can not figure out how to get a “full” screen. I have space on each side of the monitor. Is this the way it is or am I just not finding how to change that. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

12:09 am - Sunday, July 25, 2010

#43 Rick

I wouldn’t call it ripping into it. I had the first 10X optical zoom and it was a great camera. The main problem with this is the lack of dial controls. I went and looked at it, but going into the menu for everything would be a pain.
The local Costco here in San Diego had it for 229.
I chose the Nikon P100 instead and am real happy with it. The zoom is 26X, but only 10 MP. I read that they downsized the pixels from the P90.
I paid 359 for it at Costco.

Cheers,
Rick

12:55 am - Sunday, July 25, 2010

#44 Ed Tret

I bought this camera a few days ago. It was supposed to be my replacement for the older one I have had for 4 years. I was looking for the camera that has a lot of zoom and very good picture quality. I immediately bought it because 30x zoom doesn’t need explanation and the Olympus brand should tell a lot of about the quality. To my surprise, although I really like the zoom power, I am TOTALLY disappointed with the quality of pictures and videos. No matter which mode or settings I tried, the pictures came out either so-so or poor (under my expectation as a non-professional photographer - in fact, I’m not really one at all in a strict sense). Only few shots look good. They all look either grainy or smudgy. The color also looks very dull and sad. And when it was sunny, the pictures came out kind of dark in color and again smudgy. I thought I was me who didn’t know much how to use so I spend the whole night reading its manual page by page. Setting all options I could possibly think of to improve the picture quality, no improvement.

Now comes the video. I shot many of them, some under normal light, sunny, and low light. They all look pretty bad, again smudgy. In the low light one, you can see that faces appear like they were in low-resolution video but somehow went though a smudging process to make it “supposedly” look better. The videos look dull even under normal and sunny light, which surprises me a lot.

I’m returning this camera. And I recommend anyone who is still deciding to do the same. I STRONGLY recommend Samsung WB600/HZ30W.I was one of those who don’t believe in products from non-photo company like Sumsung. However, that camera simply proves me wrong. I put my comments on it as well. Go read it if you are interested.

8:17 am - Sunday, July 25, 2010

#45 Paul

Gotta say, Cannot get my head around all the pixel or Zoom fuss.Got a Samsung NV5 which will cost you $40 second hand.Buy and old NV5 or NV7; for point and click shooting and mind blowing super macro the aforementioned still blows the pants of the new boys.

3:45 pm - Sunday, July 25, 2010

#46 George Zimmerman

It all depends on the type and brand of camera you were using before purchasing the SP-800UZ. At first right out of the box, I was highly disappointed with the camea. (1) No view finder, (2)No mass (weight) (3) LCD image quality bordering on poor.

Going from a weighty Olympus E-300 DSLR with up to a 50-150mm telephoto lens attached, using the SP800-UZ was “culture shock” With super light weight, it was like controlling a piece of paper in a high wind.

I prefer an optical viewfinder, not only do you get a better idea of how to compose the picture, holding it up to the eye helps steady the camera.

The 30X zoom was what I was going for when I bought the unit because I take a lot of in-flight aircraft photos. I guess I didn’t think about the sacrifices to made in stability and picture quality at that range of zoom. I should have tossed in another $200 and purchased a 300MM telephoto for the E-300.

The HDMI video (MPEG-4) is great as long as you can control the “Shake” sensitivity of a ultra-zoom unit. A tripod helps but is not practical when tracking an aircraft on take-off and gains altitude at a fast rate.

This camera takes its best photos in daylight at 28mm to about 100mm zoom, in normal or macro mode.

The software driven menus were not a problem for mme since I am a devoted Olympus user and am used tto them.

At $249.00 its really not a bad a camera, it does take getting used to, but its like I said….. it’s whatever “floats your boat” that makes you happy.

11:39 pm - Sunday, July 25, 2010

#47 Annie

For somebody is not a professional photographer and just wants a simple point and shoot camera with a really great zoom, is this camera worth it? I don’t want to spend my money on something and be unsatisfied, but every time I read reviews on cameras I get confused and overwhelmed by all the tech talk that I don’t understand. All I want is a camera with good zoom and sharp focus for concerts and everyday photography. Help?

And the Canon SX20IS is not really an option, I played around with it and found it far too complicated, plus it was really awkward to hold, very bulky and heavy.

12:39 am - Friday, July 30, 2010

#48 Cindy

I’m just looking for a camera that will blur the background really well. I have a Canon G9 which I love for most things. However, apparently due to the sensor that Canon put in the G series (according to my local camera store), the G series does NOT like to blur the background. Any suggestions?

4:35 am - Monday, August 2, 2010

#49 George Zimmerman

I have continued to use this camera in a secondary role to the E300. I’ll see if I can clear-up some questions I have see posted about its use.

VIDEOS: (Without sound) you can zoom-in and out at will. (with sound) You have 2 options. Set you optical zoom level at a point that you determine is be compatible with all possible distances to be covered, then turn on the sound. -OR- Turn the sound and 5X Digital Zoom and you will have minimal zoom with sound.

Several of you have complained about the menu system, which I agree can be tricky sometimes. -BUT - Do you remember when you first got the camera, each time you scanned up and down in the menu choices that an ICON appeared telling you what each choice was for? Its not hard, read a little. The camera was set for iPhoto totally automatic mode. If your pushed the menu button to the right or left it gave you scene modes to chose from that set the automatic settings for the intended purpose. Once the set the camera for either totally automatic or one of the scene modes you some choice below (4 or 5). Push the menu button down and highlight each one and press “OK”, doing so will give options that can be set by pushing “OK” again. Once reach the bottom and highlight set-up, press “OK” again and you can page through all the set-up otions one-by-one as you did above. IF you chose a set-up option that conflicts with the iphoto or scene mode you chose in the beginning the camera will tell you that choice is in conflict and cannot be used.

MULI-FRAME shooting. (Holding down the shutter button and letting the camera fire away until you release it). It can be done (leave you help ICON mode turned on and page through the set-up menu until you find it).

TYPES OF FOCUS:
Go to set-up menu page 1 (in the left vertical column you will see a small camera ICON with a “1” beside it). The one I use is “AREA” because it will focus on the area that in front of the lens at that time. It’s also the fastest! The absolute slowest “AF Tracking”... it tracks a given object after focus on it the first time. IT IS THE ABSOLUTE SLOWEST and will agrivate you to no end!

FLASH & LCD BRIGHTNESS: There are set-up menu options for those functions as well…. take time to sit down and familiarize youself as to whats available you will be surprised how easy it becones.

I know that I have not touched on all the many questions you have… so replay to this message and ask them..

George

5:48 am - Monday, August 2, 2010

#50 nida

If you know composition and light issues you can take photos with any camera, if you are crap, no camera will solve the problem. thats that

6:10 am - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#51 Jim

After having spent some time with this camera it like any camera has strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:
1. Very solid build quality compared to other cameras in this class like the Samsung HZ50W
2. Amazing Zoom
3. Panoramic View
4. Good Flash
5. Crisp colors

Weakness:
1. Strange Menu System
2. No Viewfinder (LCD is ok but not great)
3. No remote (A necessity if you really want to use the 30x Zoom effectively)
4. No threads on the (large lens)to place a protective filter.
5. No charger except in camera.
6. Very limted manual control

3:56 pm - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#52 George Zimmerman

A battery charger for this camera can be found on the internet for as little as $19.95 and batteries for less than $10. The charger will charge the battery in less than half the time it takes using the USB adapter and camera.

5:32 pm - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#53 tim

Thanks everyone for advise and comments. I bought this camera specifically for a safari i am shortly going on. I have found, reducing the ISO makes a big difference to the shots, much sharper and less noise. Very pleased with pistures, I am not a professional just point and shooter, and is great for me. Found opening pics in Windows photo gallery, then going to FIX, then COLOUR, and altering the SATURATION by one or two clicks, brings the pics to life. I am in a desert environment at moment, so pics will be a bit lifeless and dull. Macro and super macro are awesome
Ref the video, very pleased with it, shame you cant optically zoom, with sound switched on, but zoom to where i am filming and leave it there, footage is great. I played with this camera and the Nikon P100 in the shop comparing shots and would say they were virtually on par with each other, but this camera was better than the P90, for what its worth. People critisize its lack of weight, but i thinks its brilliant, the image stabilizing system works a charm, most of my shots have been X30 and very little or no blur, in windy conditions and no tripod.  Paid 255 pounds from Dixons in duty free in london. All in all very pleased, cheers tim

3:03 pm - Saturday, August 14, 2010

#54 Robbie

Hey I am 16 years old and am currently the owner of the older model the sp-500 uz. My camera features 7.1mp and 12x optical zoom. The key with any camera is getting used to it. you cant just expect it to be great. It took me about 3 months to get used to mine and now im taking great shots. I am a swimmer so I need a camera that can take a good moving picture and ill tell you once I got used to it every photo I take is amazing. and the stabilization on my camera SUCKS!
But I can take a picture of a humming bird in mid flight and the wings arnt blurry. You just have to get to know your camera. Unless you are an amature photographer you should already know this. I am planning on buying the 800uz to greatin my photos. Idk maybe I am just a good photographer who can work with sucky cameras. :)

7:18 pm - Saturday, August 14, 2010

#55 Credit Card Guru

I was happy with my sp-800uz it took great shots and all of my friends were impressed with the quality of the images that came out. I am not a pro but after a couple of weeks I worked out how to use the functions and I was staring to look like a pro…Until my son dropped it out of the case and now the display screen is grey. Now I am not happy.

6:27 pm - Sunday, August 15, 2010

#56 tim

Hi Robbie, havnt seen the 500, but on the 800, there are scene modes, with a sports mode for moving pictures. What settings do you use for your hummingbird pictures, i will try to shoot some moving birds tomorrow.

I had a polorising filter on an old camera of mine and the enhancement of the pictures was brilliant. The 800 dosnt have a screw thread on the lens which is disappointing, and i searched for filters that push on, or into the lens, but no joy. I am in Saudi and not many shops around. I tried to find a polorizing filter with a thread diameter close to the lens size, to try it out. Couldnt find a polorizer, but found a UV filter, which was 48mm thread. This is slightly too small for the inside of the lense, so packed it out slightly with some tape and pushed it on. Fits quite well. I will take some pics tomorrow in the same location and time as I did the other day and see if any differnce. I have found on the web, polorizer filters with threads at 48mm and 49mm, the 49mm might just push into the lens, i dont know, but worth a try when i get back to UK. Has anyone else fitted a filter and what improvemnts have there been. cheers tim

9:38 pm - Sunday, August 15, 2010

#57 tim

Hi everyone, well i took some pictures with and without the UV filter and couldnt really see any difference in the pictures. I am working abroad at present, temps are 47 degrees c and it was pretty bright today, just for info, cheers tim

10:36 pm - Monday, August 16, 2010

#58 Lucia

I only ran across this article while trying to find if an underwater housing is available - I hope one does become available.

I gotta say though - I’m surprised by all the negative comments.  We bought the camera (including 2 GB card and case) at Costco a couple of days before a trip to South Africa.  Well, I was thrilled with the results and I’ve gotten lots of compliments on some of our pictures - were able to get amazingly clear close-ups of animals.  At that point we had not even completely figured out all the options but pictures still turned out great.  Others on our trip had larger more expensive camera and were impressed with our results.

Some comments on things mentioned by others…

1 camera size - I love the fact that it’s small and don’t know understand some saying it should be bigger/heavier

2 menu based controls - doesn’t bother me at all

3 multiple shot options - these are very handy and very clear - took shots of car driving by just to see how it worked - very impressed with the clarity - good to use with moving animals

4 video - a bit disappointed that you can’t use zoom while recording - didn’t know until I read here that if you turn off sound you can zoom - I zoomed first then used video which was ok but not great - no complaints about video quality

5 lack of viewfinder - I was worried about this but now I don’t even miss it

If anyone wants to view some of the photos from trip to South Africa, here’s a link.  Not all of these are great - like I said earlier, we were still learning how to use the camera.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=76176&id=1281756709&l=ab566a9264

7:39 pm - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#59 George Zimmerman

Nice going on the photos Lucia. You did a lot better the first time out with this camera than I.

But to reiterate, I have used the larger & heaver DSLR for so long I cannot get used to the light weight of this one. If I could conquer the “shake’ and instability of its compactness things would surely be better. A tripod helps immensly taking shots of non-moving objects, but it is impractical when tracking a fast moving aircraft.


To see all my photos taken with the E-300 SLR and the SP800UZ go to my website and look around.


http://www.gzncphotohobbyist.us

11:48 pm - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#60 John Herron

I bought the camera after reviewing Nikon P100 / Panasonic 500 SX (?), Fuji 2500HD.  When three of the cameras were sitting on the counter the minimum of buttons drew my attention - as well as the wide 16:9 ratio - slim feel. It balanced up ok in the hands except that lens is a bit heavy with all of the glass.  The wider profile of the camera was great because all men have problems with the narrower but higher profile of other cameras. I was leaning to the Nikon P100 but the simplicity of use of the SP800 brought me back to it. As for menu’s - hang on a minute why are yue using menu’s. One button to fire video - one button to latch onto mode - and all of the other features. I’m 62 years old and even I know to use the north/east/south/west push buttons on the dial wheel. It’s quick and easy - you only need the menu’s when you want some esoteric feature. As for quality of images - they are very good -what do you expect from 14Mp. AS for 30x optical zoom - well I’ll find a use for it.  THe other good thing is not having to buy a memory card - 2Gbytes built in - and Li-Ion batteries. Great camera to use with good features.  Cons - no eye viewfinder and at AU$511 - now that hurt a bit.  Great camera - I like using it.

4:56 am - Thursday, August 26, 2010

#61 Recordo

Very expensive for a sexy point-and-shoot. Resolution is mediocre for all that memory but my real gripe is lack of a viewfinder. This is critical and unless you’re using this indoors or for very, very casual photography, you’re wasting your money on this device. The functions are buried deep inside a menu system instead of being available from outside where they should be. The optics are impressive and the zoom is hard to find fault with, but this is NOT a practical camera.

6:59 pm - Sunday, September 5, 2010

#62 jason

To all who do not like this camera,please spend some time getting to know it. keep the iso to no more than 200,set AF mode to spot and esp to center,turn off fine zoom , digital zoom and power save.If you want good pictures get the olympus sp 800uz and use a tripod ps do not be afraid to us the flash.I hope you like it as much as me

1:49 pm - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#63 George Zimmerman

Jason,

After using the SP800UZ for awhile, there are some features that work rather well for me. (and then there are others that don’t). I believe the feature that I like the best is the HDMI video. In some situations the auto focus is somewhat slow to lock-in, but otherwise the video has exellent color, good clarity and depth of field. I have experimented with setting the optical zoom prior to recording and using sound and have been able to achieve settings which are compatible for the subject matter being recorded. As a grab quick point and shoot device, the only hang-up that I have with it is not having an optical viewfinder, the LCD monitor just doesn’t cut it.

2:57 pm - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#64 jason

Not having an optical viewfinder is a pain but if you lower the brightness in menu it helps in bright light,but i would like a optical viewfinder

5:18 pm - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#65 Dean

Jason wrote:
“To all who do not like this camera,please spend some time getting to know it. keep the iso to no more than 200,set AF mode to spot and esp to center,turn off fine zoom , digital zoom and power save.If you want good pictures get the olympus sp 800uz and use a tripod ps do not be afraid to us the flash.I hope you like it as much as me”

+1

12:57 am - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#66 tim77jet

Ok, my feelings after using the camera for a month. Ref the viewfinder, glad it doesnt have one, love the screen, no probs seeing it in direct sunlight. I have been using it in 46 degree C temps in middle east.
I find the focus brillinat in bright sunlight, not so good in dark conditions. It is strange, even in pitch black, pressing the shutter button half way, reveals nightvision, its incredable how much this camera can see in very very low light, but as it winds through its auto focus range the picture becomes crystal clear but 8 out 10 times the camera cant see it. I find trying to focus on a non descript part in the frame with no real definition helps the camera focus,really strange but it does work.
I have found in very dark situations when not using the flash, it appears the Portrait mode seem to give best results, less grainy. I have had good results like this.
The camera is best at lower ISO settings as stated, I try to use no more than 200, usually 100 and 50. I think that at 14 mega pixels, i was expecting crystal clear images from this camera, they may be not be professional quality, i do get excellent results most of the time. I am very pleased with my shots. I find the anti shake stabilizing system is brilliant in bright conditions. In the dark it struggles and if you use a tripod, the results are excellent, it really is a must at night, but not during the day, in fact i just hold it at 30X zoom and crystal clear images.
I love the light feel of this camera and its compactness, its brilliant, cant understand others who like a bulky heavy item, but it is personal choice.
Now I was originaly disapointed with noise at high ISO levels at night, so went on a hunt for this cameras competition for comparison. The Fugi HS10 (30X)is reported to be very good with slightly better quality pics. It also has manual focus, which i was dying to try out, especially for night shots, when i can see the image come clear but the camera cant and so cant autofocus sometimes. Well went to Jessops and took the olympus with me. we installed my SD card and took pics in the highstreet at full 30X and wide angle. I took shots in the shop and asked the guy to take into the stock room and take a pic in nearly pitch darkness.  I then took the same shots with the Olypmus within about 10 mins and the guy went to the stock room and did the same shot there.
well the Olympus was far better in the Dark room by far. Both camers were set to auto and full image quality. The olympus recorded at 1600 ISO and was pretty good, a little grainy but good colour and definition. The HS10 was wishy washy, colours poor and not clear. The guy took 2 shots with the HS10 and 1 with the Olympus.
In the store shots, again the Olympus was best, good exposure and colour and clear, the HS10 was a bit dark.
Out side the long and short shots were both very good, but again the Olympus has the edge.
The HS10 is 10 MP compared to our 14 so good results, but have to say I prefer the Olympus. The HS10 did take a beautiful shot of a chimney at 30 X, the olympus focused on a branch in front of the chimney so couldnt compare.
after using the HS10 for around 20 mins, i felt it heavy. The Olympus feels so much better and is so light, its just brilliant.
The Olympus loves light, at night use the flash and you get really good results. If you cant use flash, you must use a tripod, and try the portrait mode, i get really good results. also, little tip, use the timmer in low light conditions if you have to hold the camera, but as the focus takes a little longer at night you get away without using the timmer, instead of pressing half way and allowing the camera to focus first, just push the button all the way, then concentrate on holding still. The camera will take its shot after @ 1.5 secs, without any shake from you pushing the button.
I also, dropped my Olympus on a concrete floor today. It was in a thin camera bag, no real padding, it is fine, so pretty robust.
I would love to have had a manual focus on this camera, instead of some the options that are included in the camera, which will probably never use. I took some great shots of an old style chateau and stables, in the sketch mode, for a friend, who just loves them, very clever.
I did not have time to get to grips with the HS10 and sure people who know what they are doing can manipulate it to improve things, but then again both cameras were in auto mode, so should be comparable. I wanted to try the Panasonic FZ100 or FZ45, but was told they are now obsolete, I thought they had just come out, but they too are reported to have noise issues at Higher ISO’s than 400, so seems even playing field across all these bridge cameras.
So am I happy with my SP800UZ, you bet I am, and people who have slagged off these super zoom cameras with 30X, saying who needs that and it will never work because you cant hold it steady enough, want to go and pick one up and take a picture with one. I am going on a Safari very soon and I will be using 30 X probably most of the time. I want something really light, compact ( and yes I can fit this in my pocket, I have done, at work), and want close up pictures of animals not a foreground with a speck to look at. I am a novice, but i am getting good pics of tiny birds, pidgeons ducks, swallows, cats horses etc, so lets hope the lions are just as good. Hope this helps others make up their own mind about the camera. Its not a profesional DSLR but takes good pics and thats what i need, cheeers tim

2:15 am - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#67 George Zimmerman

I am happy that so many owners of this camera are taking the time to investigate its possibilities and are haveing good results. I am negligent in the experimention department and have not spent nearly as much time as I should learning the “inside scoop” on what works with a tweak here and a tweak there. As I said a few messages back, my most successful and satisfying experiences have been with the HDMI video. A few recent shots of outdoor scenes have been fairly pleasing, but will take some refinement to get it down to a science.

The whole shaking thing that I complained about in my first posts comes from (1) Bad rotator cuffs on both shoulders (2) Pinched nerves in the back and extreme arthritis. (3) I’m not a spring chicken. (67 years old).

The automatic internal 3-shot Panorama function works very well and combined with the lens at full wide angle you can really cover some territory!

Each time I go out for a “shoot”, I carry the SP800UZ with me as a backup unit. I just ordered a 70-300mm telephoto for my Olympus DSLR because with the physical problems I have the extra weight (although tiresome) is better for stablizing my poor muscle conditions.

Enjoy your SP800UZ and I will be looking forward to hearing about your experiences and probably learn something in the process.

Good photo memories to all.

George

3:44 am - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#68 John Herron

Glad to see some positive comments coming through on the SP800UZ.  I posted a couple of weeks ago and have just been on a trip and have dome some experimenting. I’m still attached to the beautiful feel of this camera and its slim profile.  The macro feature is superb. I tried experimenting with zoom on the binding of a book which was used in dpreview and they said it was not good with “noise”. And yes it was - but try it with macro and voila! So the turkey who uses that as a detraction for the camera needs to get a brain. A macro shot on a ladybeetle is going to give me a superb wall poster. From a distance of about 75 metres I shot about 40,000 mandarins that had been dumped in a big heap. At full zoom (30x - see I found a use for it) I can see the dimples on the skins.  Agree that the lower ISO figures give great resolution and I did not use a tripod. This is the first Olympus that I have owned - previously using Canon/Sony. If anything I would normally have leaned towards Canon.  THerefore it is my opinion that all these naysayers re the SP800UZ have a bias towards one of the other brands and cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that this is something of a best-in-class camera.  Go for it as you will not be disappointed.

4:29 am - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#69 Recordo

Sorry, it is not a practical camera. If you can’t frame your shots, you should be using a much cheaper camera. If you have to spend more time digging through cryptic menus than shooting, you should be using a Canon. You can isolate one feature or another and get good results, but this is a boutique camera, not a picture-taker. Very disappointed with the picture quality and disgusted with the menu mystique.

10:35 pm - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#70 George Zimmerman

Every manufacturer and their individual models both past and present have their own quirks and special procedures to achieve desired results.

Those who poo-poo the SP800UZ as a toy or fashion diva camera must realize for what purpose it was manufactured. The intended market for this unit was for individuals who just want a compact camera that is totally automatic, point and shoot.

This camera has a lot of built-in bonuses for those who are willing to investigate its possibilities. It seems that its menu system confuses those who believe their taste in cameras is superior.

Stop crabbing about it, open the eyes, click on the menu button and just page down through all the menu pages. Take note of what you see and where the feature you are looking for is located. It takes about 1 minute to go through the menu pages start to finish. You will soon realize that the features you want to turn on and off can be changed as you desire. Only when you chose full automatic or scene modes will some features be locked-out from change because they are automatically set by that mode.

My best advice is to go to Olympus Website and download the full manual in .pdf format. It will clear-up a lot of mysteries and questions.

As I said before, I have used a DSLR for years (that had function buttons) and when I first purchased this camera it amounted to {“culture shock”). I kept an open mind and made no snap judgements. The more I use the SP800UZ, the better I like it. I keep in mind its intended market segment and do not try to make it do what it was NOT designed to do.

Happy Photoging Everyone

11:12 pm - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#71 tim77jet

I am a point and shooter, like i said i would have liked a manual focus, so i could tweek things in low light shots. I found the manual focus on the HS10 a little hard to desifer when the picture was fully in focus. There is a magnified portion that pops up in the center of the screen, but i found it hard to tell when it was exactly in focus, but i hadnt read instructions etc, so prob more to it than just that, there was scale that popped up as well. In daylight and Flash, the camera focus is fine, just when it is really dark, sometimes it struggles.
While in Jessops, the guy showed me the different results you get from different sensors in the cameras. Our sesor is a CCD and some other competion cameras have back lit CMOS sensors, which are supposed to be better in low lite conditions. I didnt find the HS10 as good as the Olympus, but that was only in Two photos so not an exact test. He showed me results from a different sensor something like XLR sensor, and the results at low light are staggering. He had a few cameras with these sensors in them, but they were not high zoom cameras, so no good for me.
The Macro on the Olympus is staggeringly good, and for a single lens to go from Macro, noraml range and super zoom, is just amazing. I have leant, if in low light conditions and not using a flash, use a tripod, all other times, handheld is fine.keep the hints and tips coming please. I wonder what the next model UZ Olympus will include, will be interesting to see where their market research leads them, cheers tim

11:55 pm - Thursday, September 9, 2010

#72 John Herron

Ok, Recordo likes his canon and fair enough too. I cannot afford an DSLR even though I would like one. And I would like a viewfinder too on the SP800UZ - but I have to live without one. I have to now step out of my comfort zone and learn to use the lcd screen after 46 years of using viewfinders (from my Practica when I was 16yo - that’s 1965)- by preference. And you know what - it is not as hard as I thought but I still have to perfect it. And I agree with the above write - the macro is very “staggeringly good”.  THis is not a DSLR but by jesus it comes close! Just by way of - you needn’t touch the “menu” button at all. Just push the North/East/South/West segment of the dial wheel and you are there. To each his own and I’m very happy that I stepped away from the Canon this time and was able to see things in a diffent perspective. That’s not a slight on Canon in any way as I’ve used several over the past 20+ years (film type and first two digital cameras) and will probably do so again but viz-a-viz the SP800UZ and Canon SX1 (equivalent camera’s in my opinion on specs and price) the Olympus was a better proposition. The SX1 received some poor comment on it’s images but I discounted it early as it did not use Li-ion batts only 4xAA or NiMh (very old technology). ANd about confused menu’s - I found it complex and some reviews also made the same remark.

3:08 am - Friday, September 10, 2010

#73 George Zimmerman

I did some more experimenting with the HDMI video this afternoon. When using sound with the video, the “zoom” of the lens is not locked until the video record button is pushed. I found by trying several zoom settings and panning from close objects to those desired to be seen at a distance, that I could arrive at a optimum zoom level for all objects and not have anything too small to see or too close where a part of the object is lost. Sorta like taking your wife out to buy furniture.. she likes blue and you like red .. so a compromise of burgundy is the ticket.

I video recorded my granddaughter getting off her school bus this afternoon and I heard one of the other students on the bus wish her “have a good afternoon”...... the bus was a good 150 feet from my vanage point. When I played back the video, I was surprised to hear that the students well wishes were picked-up by the tiny microphone on the camera… Impressive (especially since the bus has a loud clanking diesel engine).


Now if I could only react fast enough to catch those F-15’s when they pop above the trees as they depart from the local Air Force Base. ( I don’t think Geritol will help though).

George

3:35 am - Friday, September 10, 2010

#74 Benjamin

I wish to comment on the video function as a response to George: I have shot, together with a friend a rather lengthy documentary about our home town with that thing and the image quality still is rather surprising. Very sharp, good resolution, it is the best for shooting videos of all our cameras combined. I dislike the fact that you can’t zoom in or out, but for the rest it’s a great little gadget.

9:12 am - Friday, September 10, 2010

#75 Jason

This is what you can take with the olympus sp 800z http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=39646&id=100000463526623

7:32 pm - Friday, September 10, 2010

#76 ALAN

Jason,

great photos, at last somone has demonstrated the good points for the SP800uz camera, i have loads of excerlent fotos.

try the night mode, outstanding !!!

for the hd vidio you can zoom if you have the sound off i am not happy with that.

i still think this is a great camera and it deilvers results.

Alan

12:37 pm - Saturday, September 11, 2010

#77 Jason

I am sorry but i do not use video so can not comment or help with any problems.I have just put a set of pictures together to show all the people that mock the olympus, it is a good all round camera.If all you want is a point and shoot get the fujifilm s1730 12mp, it has a 15xzoom for £150 its a good camera, but eats AA batterys so bye good rechargables.

1:53 pm - Saturday, September 11, 2010

#79 Vera

I bought mine today.
I’m not an expert in photografy (neither in english, sorry) but I don´t undertand why you say so bad things about this machine.
I saw many pictures taken by more expensive Canon and Nikon in the internet, and from this OlYmpus, and I think that the images are better than better ranked cameras from nikon and canon.
the images with this cam. are very very detailled.
I see detaills with this pic that I didn’t see with my eyes.
I highly recomende it.

2:14 am - Monday, September 13, 2010

#80 George Zimmerman

To all SP800UZ bloggers:

I am glad to see some positive comments emerging from the blog populous. I too have softened my former dismay about the camera’s short-comings and am trying to remember to look in a mirror when I feel the urge to gripe about something. I guess this is the time for admitting the source of my real problems… IT’s ME! No one likes to admit things like this, but the source of my “SHAKE” problems come’s from deteriorating joints, pinched nerves and frustration when I cannot get myself to do what I used-to be able to do. My gripe should be with the effects of age, not the camera…. but I can’t control the age problem either, so I’ll leave it at that.

To potential buyers of this camera or any camera, be alert to selling practices used by camera dealers on the internet. There are a lot of reputable ones out there, but will not always be the ones offering the lowest price. If you see a lowest price and especially one that is too good to be true… beware, it probably is. Read the fine print of the add and if in doubt call the seller and ask questions. Often these dealers are selling the camera (or camera body only), or a Japanese version. The item you buy should be one that was designed for the American market and comes with the full compliment of accessories.
In he case DSLR’s, it should come with at least one standard lens in the kit, some reputable dealers will offer two lenses for just a little bit more. Buying on the internet is a great convenience, but WATCH OUT, you may be letting yourself in to be screwed financially and wind-up with a bitter tasted in your mouth.

Just a fair warning from someone that GOT BIT “once”.... and I learned my lesson. Let’s hope you don’t have to learn the lesson the hard way like I did.

3:27 am - Monday, September 13, 2010

#81 George Zimmerman

To JILL

Many comments back in this blog (JILL) asked about sequential shooting of still images. I was going to answer HER question then, but I got distracted and didn’t get it done. I imagine she has had his question answered buy now, but I will post a reply to it anyway just in case.

To Set for Sequential Shots:
(1) In record mode, press MENU and you will see a vertical menu bar on the right side of the LCD.
(2) At the top of this bar you can scan left or right to change the camera mode. SET IT FOR “P” and press “OK to set it.
(3) Scan down the bar verically and you will see a rectangle just below the ISO setting. Scan right at this icon and you will see several sequential modes and even one that will pre-focus each shot. Select the one you like and press the “OK” button to set it.
(4) Press the “MENU” button again to turn off the menu bar.

I use H3 which is “high speed” so the camera recovers from each shot faster. (NOTE) Be sure you have your Help Icons turned-on and it will tell you what each setting does.

I hope this helps,

George

3:55 am - Monday, September 13, 2010

#82 Bex

I have always been interested in photograpghy and am undertaking a course with the intention of perchasing a DSLR camera, this is a starter camera for me (as a beginer)and I think it is fantastic for the price - I have taken some amazing pictures with this camera and have had many compliments about the pictures from this camera, my main interset is wildlife and pets and this camera is easy to use for what I want, if I want a higer specification of camera with a view finder then I will upgrade - My friend whom I do the photograpghy course with has a Nikon DSLR with extenndable lenses and there was little difference between our pictures. We both use photoshop and both had great images, that were similar.

I think fr the money and as a beginer camera it is fine - for intermeidate and advance photograpghy you would naturally want to upgrade.

Im very happy with this camera and will keep it as a spare once I have my DSLR (when I can afford one with all the extra lenses!!!!)

1:01 pm - Friday, September 17, 2010

#83 Amy

I jave had this camera for a few weeks now and am on the fence about it. I have had the Sony DSC for a few years and the zoom quit working so we upgraded to this just recently. I have two boys that play football and I am having issues with the sports settings on this camera. During the day the settings seem to be ok, however once desk seems to get here, the pictures seem to be grainy and onyl the main object seems to be in color (meaning my sons uniform) and everything is blacked out or blurred. I have called tech support anf they had me try the program setting and changing the ISO setting and I did that and I am having no such luck getting any better quality…..Someone please help me, my boys play baseball too and I hate to return this camera.

2:40 am - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#84 George Zimmerman

AMY….

I am reposting in-total a comment made by tim77jet
in comment #66 above in this blog. From what He posted it agrees with other comments about noise in the SP800UZ photos in dark or low-light situations. If lowering the ISO settings below 200 don’t solve the problem, then I don’t believe tthere will be a satisfying solution for you.

#“66 tim77jet .

Ok, my feelings after using the camera for a month. Ref the viewfinder, glad it doesnt have one, love the screen, no probs seeing it in direct sunlight. I have been using it in 46 degree C temps in middle east.
I find the focus brillinat in bright sunlight, not so good in dark conditions. It is strange, even in pitch black, pressing the shutter button half way, reveals nightvision, its incredable how much this camera can see in very very low light, but as it winds through its auto focus range the picture becomes crystal clear but 8 out 10 times the camera cant see it. I find trying to focus on a non descript part in the frame with no real definition helps the camera focus,really strange but it does work.
I have found in very dark situations when not using the flash, it appears the Portrait mode seem to give best results, less grainy. I have had good results like this.
The camera is best at lower ISO settings as stated, I try to use no more than 200, usually 100 and 50. I think that at 14 mega pixels, i was expecting crystal clear images from this camera, they may be not be professional quality, i do get excellent results most of the time. I am very pleased with my shots. I find the anti shake stabilizing system is brilliant in bright conditions. In the dark it struggles and if you use a tripod, the results are excellent, it really is a must at night, but not during the day, in fact i just hold it at 30X zoom and crystal clear images.
I love the light feel of this camera and its compactness, its brilliant, cant understand others who like a bulky heavy item, but it is personal choice.
Now I was originaly disapointed with noise at high ISO levels at night, so went on a hunt for this cameras competition for comparison. The Fugi HS10 (30X)is reported to be very good with slightly better quality pics. It also has manual focus, which i was dying to try out, especially for night shots, when i can see the image come clear but the camera cant and so cant autofocus sometimes. Well went to Jessops and took the olympus with me. we installed my SD card and took pics in the highstreet at full 30X and wide angle. I took shots in the shop and asked the guy to take into the stock room and take a pic in nearly pitch darkness.  I then took the same shots with the Olypmus within about 10 mins and the guy went to the stock room and did the same shot there.
well the Olympus was far better in the Dark room by far. Both camers were set to auto and full image quality. The olympus recorded at 1600 ISO and was pretty good, a little grainy but good colour and definition. The HS10 was wishy washy, colours poor and not clear. The guy took 2 shots with the HS10 and 1 with the Olympus.
In the store shots, again the Olympus was best, good exposure and colour and clear, the HS10 was a bit dark.
Out side the long and short shots were both very good, but again the Olympus has the edge.
The HS10 is 10 MP compared to our 14 so good results, but have to say I prefer the Olympus. The HS10 did take a beautiful shot of a chimney at 30 X, the olympus focused on a branch in front of the chimney so couldnt compare.
after using the HS10 for around 20 mins, i felt it heavy. The Olympus feels so much better and is so light, its just brilliant.
The Olympus loves light, at night use the flash and you get really good results. If you cant use flash, you must use a tripod, and try the portrait mode, i get really good results. also, little tip, use the timmer in low light conditions if you have to hold the camera, but as the focus takes a little longer at night you get away without using the timmer, instead of pressing half way and allowing the camera to focus first, just push the button all the way, then concentrate on holding still. The camera will take its shot after @ 1.5 secs, without any shake from you pushing the button.
I also, dropped my Olympus on a concrete floor today. It was in a thin camera bag, no real padding, it is fine, so pretty robust.
I would love to have had a manual focus on this camera, instead of some the options that are included in the camera, which will probably never use. I took some great shots of an old style chateau and stables, in the sketch mode, for a friend, who just loves them, very clever.
I did not have time to get to grips with the HS10 and sure people who know what they are doing can manipulate it to improve things, but then again both cameras were in auto mode, so should be comparable. I wanted to try the Panasonic FZ100 or FZ45, but was told they are now obsolete, I thought they had just come out, but they too are reported to have noise issues at Higher ISO’s than 400, so seems even playing field across all these bridge cameras.
So am I happy with my SP800UZ, you bet I am, and people who have slagged off these super zoom cameras with 30X, saying who needs that and it will never work because you cant hold it steady enough, want to go and pick one up and take a picture with one. I am going on a Safari very soon and I will be using 30 X probably most of the time. I want something really light, compact ( and yes I can fit this in my pocket, I have done, at work), and want close up pictures of animals not a foreground with a speck to look at. I am a novice, but i am getting good pics of tiny birds, pidgeons ducks, swallows, cats horses etc, so lets hope the lions are just as good. Hope this helps others make up their own mind about the camera. Its not a profesional DSLR but takes good pics and thats what i need, cheeers tim “


I hope that tim77jet doesn’t mind me reposting his comment.


George

3:38 am - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

#85 colleen

hi can anyone tell me if you can get a remote shutter release for this camera or a remote timer? thanks.

12:28 pm - Thursday, September 23, 2010

#86 George Zimmerman

COLLEEN

A remote control shutter release is not listed as an accessory for the SP Series of Cameras at the Olympus Website. The camera itself is not equipped to accept one by design. There is no mention of that option in the downloadable owners manual. I wish I could give you a positive answer, but its not available.

George

3:07 pm - Thursday, September 23, 2010

#87 colleen harris

Hi, I have bought this camera as it said their was a remote timer available but am going to send it back as this is essential for what i want it for.  i want to be able to take photographs of myself with fish that i catch and so would want a remote timer or preferably shutter release.  can anyone recommend a good camera a good zoom and mega pixels are also important. thanks.

12:56 pm - Friday, September 24, 2010

#88 tim77jet

Hi Everyone, just uploaded some photos from our safari in Zambia. I used the full zoom X30 on most bird pictures, I just could not get near them and all were hand held, also most animal shots, except the lions. The buffalo pic, was in near darkness on a tripod awsome sight, hundreds of Bufflo, all in a single line, after 20 mins, you couldnt see anything for dust. I bought 2 spare batteries off ebay, 2 for £6, and a charger which was 12volt and 240 around £12, as the bush camps do not have electric most of the day, only powered by a few solar cells. I didnt really need the additional bats, just piece of mind.
The flying bird shots are all at 30X hand held and some shots are whilst boucing around in a boat.pleased with the stabilizing system. The camera is great in good light, does struggle a bit at night if you cant use the flash. cheers tim  
http://www.flickr.com/photos/54318196@N08/

9:48 pm - Friday, September 24, 2010

#89 tim77jet

Hi Everyone, I tried printing some of my photos on my new Kodak ESP5250, with premium quality paper. The printing is lightening fast. I was very unhappy with the results. Pictures looked like they were lacking something and colours just weak and uninteresting. I am going to get one picture blown up to around A3 size and framed, i read in one photo mag about a company called Whitewall in germany. For my picture to be printed on museum quality paperwith float glass (anti reflective) and mounted on a mount board and fully framed and with delivery, is around 85 pounds, which i think is amazing.
I also tried EPICTUREFRAMES, good website, but you have to print your own picture, they supply the frame, that was aroung £48. I went to Jessops today and printed some pics at 7X5 and one at 12X10 they have all come out really great, what a difference, really pleased.
Now while in Jessops, they have the new Canon SX30SI, which is the Olmp competion now at 35X opt zoom. I had my SD card on me and so had a play. I tested the HS10 (30X zoom) a few weeks ago and still have the pictures. I took pictures of the same scenery and the lighting today was excellent, beautifull blue skys and sunny, slightly better than the pics taken a few weeks ago. Well i have to say, our camera beats it hands down. The colours from the Oly are rich and i would say real life. The Cannon were duller. I zoomed in on the same parts of the photos at the same zoom level and the Oly was clearer, even being able to read almost all of the writting on a bill board, easier than the Canon. The leaves on trees are more defined and look more real. So in my humble opinion, the Olympus is better than the HS10 and Canon, which supprised me. I did not test the low light capability on the Canon but the Oly is better than the HS10. Will try to up load the three images from each camera so everyone can see. cheers tim

3:11 pm - Saturday, September 25, 2010

#90 tim77jet

Ok guys, I went and bought some proper Kodak Ultra Premium photo paper and printed 2 pics that I had just got from Jessops. The pictures printed at home on the Kodak ESP 5250 are really great now. I think kodak have programed the printer, so if it dosnt see Kodak paper, it prints dull and greeny pictures, or it could be the make up of the different papers interacting with the inks that gives bad results.At the end of day i suppose you should use the manufactures paper as it is optimized for their printer. The Kodak ink cartridges are i think, the cheapest on the market, around £19 for a black and colour combo, which is half the price of just one black one for my Lex Mark. Printing is really fast. The detail on the Kodak prints is far superior to the Jessops prints. The Jessops prints have a more glossy look to them and are slightly darker. Both are great pics, it depends which you prefer. I will be printing more at home.
Picture frames can be expensive, I was in Wilkonsons the company that replaced Woolworths and picked up some 7X5 frames and a double 7X5 frame, prices were £3.50 and £4.50 and match my house perfectly, they do have several coloured frames, well chuffered.  cheers tim

8:51 pm - Saturday, September 25, 2010

#91 tim77jet

Another test.
I thought i would try out a Polorizer filter to see what results i would get. The camera dose not have a thread on the end of the lens shround and the internal diameter of the lens shroud is between a 48mm and 49mm thread size. A 48mm thread will push in, if the thread is packed out (wrapped) with some PTFE (plumbers tape). I bought a 49mm screw thread Hoya HRT CIR-PL UV filter (£40). The thread is approx .020 thou too big, so machined it down to push fit into the lense shroud. This fiter is a combined UV and Polorizer and is HRT (high resoloution and High Transparancey) and supposed to allow more light into the lens, with a thinner film on the filter. I found at full zoom, it is slightly harder to take a pic, without showing signs of hand wobble, seems to be more sensitive, but could have been me, need to exp more. I also found the filter, when turned, varies the amount of polorizing effect, which is strange, as it is circular, not linear and should not do this. At lower and mid range zoom ranges, like landscape shots, the results are superior. I am still experimenting, but especially around sky backgrounds, the objects are a lot sharper, as the camera can see more definition and the shaded areas are far more detailed and colour definition is brilliant. The sky has far more detail and clouds are abundant compared to the shots without the filter, which appear slightly washed out in comparison. I am pleased with the results, but have been too busy to experiment properly, here is a link to comparison, with and without filter. The lower pic number of each of the two shots, is without filter, the higher of the two shots is with filter.The camera was set to auto, and set on a tripod for fair comparison and timmer set to 2 seconds to prevent any shitter induced wobble.
compare 940 - 942
      943 - 944
      946 - 947
      948 - 949  
http://www.flickr.com/photos/54318196@N08/?saved=1
Cheers tim

12:12 am - Friday, October 1, 2010

#92 zebarnabe

@tim77jet,

About you comparison set,
When comparing the cameras you should have used identical focal lengths for each comparison and a few focal lengths from wide to tele… cameras like these bridges have quite some differences depending on focal length… well.. it’s a time consuming process… :/

Anyway, nice comparison ... at the very least of dynamic range (but is a bit hard to define since they expose for different amounts) and exposure metering of auto modes…

If SX30 looks brighter ... it’s not because sensor is doing a better job, but because it exposed more… sky detail was completely blown, but tree detais at contrast level are better rendered.

HS10 suffers from a certain mushiness on the leaves, while SX30 has a certain soft focus on it, also when checking the edges/corners SX30 is the one that suffers most…
SP800UZ photo has the tree in a lot closer composition, so detail assessment is hard to tell, i would say it is marginally better than HS10 on detail level… and in exposure is perhaps the best compromise on that particular scene ...


From what i’ve seen, at full tele, SX30 beats everything, while SP800UZ, from those 3, is the worst… at wide angle, both SX30 and HS10 suffers from lots of blurriness on edges, and SX30 has lots of chromatic aberration… SP800UZ seems to handle wide angle shots better (but i don’t know if the other do better or worse at SP800UZ wide angle focal length)

Also, remember RAW, and manual modes, those cameras can do a lot better…

So ... from that nothing can be really concluded… except perhaps that exposure metering on SP800UZ might be smarter…

If it was me ... i would go for SX30 if i was expecting shooting mostly at near full tele… or HS10 if manual controls take priority and less illuminated scenes are expected ... ‘even’ the older FZ35/38 or SX20 would be better choices than SP800UZ…

colleen harris,
A camera with all those features…. hmmm… well… aparently… remote shutter cable is absent from most modern bridges… :/

I know that HS10 lacks that… SP800UZ goes the same way… i tryed to find info about SX20 or SX30 and nil i found ... :/

P100 ... hmmm ...nop ... doesn’t have it…

The old SX1 has it i believe…

You can use something like this if the camera has a tripod mount (DIY or buy it):
http://www.srb-griturn.com/cable-release-bracket-for-slr-cameras-860-p.asp

or like this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-Cable-Release-Digital-Cameras/dp/B000CDGWDE/

On a bit of research (i read the manual a few days ago), FZ100 is compatible with a optional remote shutter (DMW-RSL1) ... or at least is what i read in the manual :/

You could also go DSLR, most of them have remote shutter accessories… but the price will raise quite fast (and the image quality)

Well ... good luck!

1:41 am - Saturday, October 23, 2010

#93 zebarnabe

Hmmm ... i found this:
http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Shutter-Release-Olympus-Replacement/dp/B001MJX4MO

I don’t know if it works as advertised :/

Well .. it’s quite a pain to find one camera with remote shutter control .. Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1, Olympus S9600, Canon SX1 and Panasonic FZ20 had it (i think) ... but they are quite old… FZ100 seems to be the only modern one with it ... that is without using mechanical ways ...

Well ... again ... good luck…

1:52 am - Saturday, October 23, 2010

#94 George Zimmerman

Well Folks,

Its’ happened….. I have all but stopped using my SP800UZ. Why…. well it goes back to my original complaint about not being able to control “shake” at full zoom. True, it is harder to focus a lens with that much magnification and even worst keep it still. Also I’ll go back to my original argument that a heavier camera gives better feedback to your muscles and nervous system which aids in controlling physical shake.

What was my solution?...... I bought a 300mm (600mm 35mm equivalent) telephoto lens for my DSLR (which is what I should have done in the first place. The combined package of almost 3lb. lens and the 1lb. DSLR makes a rock-solid setup which yields “CLEAR” and “WELL-FOCUSED” shots of moving targets no-matter on the ground or in the air. With this setup Iam totally satisfied and have no issues or complaints.

THe little SP800UZ is a fine little gadge-filled unit which may be suitable for some, but is incompatible with me or my style of photography.

Anybody want to buy a very slightly used SP800UZ? I’ll even through in a carrying case, 2 extra batteries and a charging unit…....... “SIGH”

3:58 am - Saturday, October 23, 2010

#95 Bill

I’m still debating whether or not to get this camera.  I like the spot metering ability, but wish there were more manual controls.  However, the real draw is the long zoom for 1/2 the price of a 35mm lens with less range.  Is there a rule you can’t have multiple cameras for different purposes?  For the pompous-sounding detractors that do not understand the need for such a long lens, I say try looking past the nose on your face some time.  You may see a whole new world.

5:50 am - Saturday, October 23, 2010

#96 George Zimmerman

Hey Bill,

YEP…. if anyone needs to take a variety of photos that involves items up-close and sometimes too far away then either mulitple lenses for one camera is a must or for the economy minded, a point and shoot with a wide angle to a high value ZOOM single lens would be needed.

In defense of the SP800UZ, it was designed to satisfy as many multiple needs as possible for the largest segent of the picture taking public… (point & shooters).... thus the abscense of manual controls & view finder and the presence of pre-programed functions that can be altered only slightly using the digital menu.

The camera has a terrific amount of features, but still falls short for someone who wants total control of function. I’ve read posts both pro & con on this camera (some of which were mine)... but when it comes right down to it, the DSLR camera with multiple quick change lenses is the only way to go for those who are serious about photography.

I still use an 8mp E300 Olympus DSLR that came with a 14-45mm lens. I purchased two additional lenses over 3+ years to give me the addition capability I desired. (50-150mm and 70-300mm) The old 8mp camera is still rock solid and dependable.. By selecting the proper lens for the shooting situation I pretty-much cover all my needs. Even with the 300mm telephoto zoom lens, I can hold-down the shutter button and fire-off perfectly focused multiple frams until I finally kill the battery.

You will decide for yourself of course. I will not try to sway your decision, but weigh all the photo shoot scenarios that you think you will encounter and make your best decision.

I have made many camera choice decisions that I regret making. All anyone can do is to learn from their mistakes and revel in the glory of decisions that prove to right.

Good luck ... hope your decision turns out to be the RIGHT one!

George

6:45 am - Saturday, October 23, 2010

#97 Jey

I bought my Olympus and it arrives tomorrow, so I’ll try to explain you all my impressions, because I liked to read yours.
In fact, there is something about recording and the sound that repeats in some comments, and perphaps this could help. I read in somewhere that the key is to decrease a bit the resolution. I mean, with the full resolution, recording video and the sound on, it’s not possible to zoom in. So…just try to set the previous resolution up to keep the sound. In anyway, I’ll try this tomorrow and be able to confirm this point.
Good luck with your ‘babies’...I’ll use mine to take photos to ours, the real one. :-)

12:57 am - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#98 tim777jet

Great post George, hit the nail on the head. The SP800 does a very good all round job. Its functionality is spectacular really when you think of ability to take macro to 30x zoom pics in an instant. For me, it worked fine for my safari trip, I would never have taken a large amount of my pictures, as I was instantly going from close up to full zoom from shot to shot and picture oportunities occured at a moments notice, sometimes the few seconds it took to start the camera up and zoom in were too long and missed a few shots, which would you even wouldnt have tried to take if you had to think about changing a lens first. The other point, is the camera is very light, something that was important to me and the holding the camera in my hand ( with a wrist strap attached for added security) was a pleaseure. I sometimes held the camera for hour long periods, tramping through undergrowth, which was no problem at all. I have picked up DSLR camera and the competions Bridge cameras and I hate them, bulky and heavy. Remember as well the dusty conditions i was in, this camera was covered by the end of the day and not a spec of dust in any pics. I saw a report from someone, regarding the poor lens cap design. It is brilliant, it covers not only the lens but the whole telscoping mechanism, brilliant wise design. It will also pop off without damaging the camera, should you forget to remove it first, full marks.
Many people i met on my Safari had a mulitude of lenses and tripods carried all the time, heavy and bulky, they couldnt believe all my gear was on my hip in a small belt bag. One evening whilst having dinner, some guys were taking pics across the Zambizi, of some monkeys. I joined them and zoomed right in, I showed them my close up pics and they were amazed. Just then a large moth landed on my wifes hand, i immediatly zoomed in in macro and took the shots. That is the versitity of this type of camera, they didnt get any.
There have been Mega Pixel wars and now everyone has realized that 10 to 14 mp is enough for us and now I think 30X zoom is sufficient, we are up to 35X now, but can manufacturers now consentrate on improving the size of the sensor and its sensitivity without incurring Noise at high ISO’s. For the SP800 with say a Sony NEX5 grade image sensor (which is supposed to have awsome image quality), or the new EXR (Ithink thats what its called) sensor that gives fantastic low light capability, the companies would convert a lot more people to bridge cameras. Maybe thats the problem, manufacturers need to sell a £400 body, plus £150 standard lens, plus a macro lens plus a zoom lens. Now look at that price, plus lens bags etc and maybe they only want a resonable image quality, not outstanding qualiy, from there all in one Bridge, that cost £180.
I would willingly pay, double or trebble the price of this camera just to have better low light and all round better Sensor, you dont need anything else.
The new race may be the 3D market now, so it will be interesting to see what the SP900 will bring, If Olympus monitor these forums, please think about upgrading to include,
1- A manual focus ( or even an AF lock)
2- Improved larger sensor, for better low light and high speed shooting
3- Remove the inability to zoom in Video mode if the sound is on.
Then put it in the post and name your price, i will have one.
Took a little bit of Video footage of my nephew running his Steam engine last week, we had some issues, steam leaks etc, and it was getting dark but not bad at all.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-psnTSvf1oo
Cheers tim

10:30 am - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#99 George Zimmerman

TIM

Your post telling of your experience with the SP800UZ on Safari was great. It proves that when they designed this camera that they hit the nail on the head when it came to satisfying your needs.
I am glad that your are happy with its’ size weight and performance.

In my case…. not so much, (But that goes to show that you can’t please everybody). If I keep my SP800UZ, it will see very limited use. I cannot decide if I should try to sell it at a loss or give it to a relative or fledgling photographer that needs a camera and cannot afford it.

Happy Photos

George

1:25 pm - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

#100 zebarnabe

“There have been Mega Pixel wars and now everyone has realized that 10 to 14 mp is enough for us and now I think 30X zoom is sufficient, we are up to 35X now, but can manufacturers now consentrate on improving the size of the sensor and its sensitivity without incurring Noise at high ISO’s. For the SP800 with say a Sony NEX5 grade image sensor (which is supposed to have awsome image quality), or the new EXR (Ithink thats what its called) sensor that gives fantastic low light capability, the companies would convert a lot more people to bridge cameras.” ~~~~tim777jet

It is not physically possible to make a ‘small’ 30x zoom lens with a ... let’s say, four thirds sensor (it’s smaller than the NEX5 one), because the image circle required to the lens, would simply require lens to be bigger proportionally to sensor size…

But you are right, putting a better sensor in a less greedy lens (to keep it compact) in a bridge form factor would make a lot of people quite happy… That’s what the ‘pro’ compacts - like LX3/5, S90/95, G11/12 - try to do, but they try to be as small as possible, while bridges are something a bit bigger.

Trivia:
SP800UZ sensor it’s around 2.58 times smaller than NEX5…
For SP800UZ to have a sensor with identical photo sites that NEX5 has, but keeping the size, it had to have around 5.5MP’s

If it was a 1/1,7” sensor (like LX3/5, S90/95, G11/12 have) it would have 7.5MP ... i could totally live with that and some bridge form-factor with lens equivalent to 24-288mm (12x zoom) and f/2.8-4.5 with O.I.S. (i’m asking too much - too big - perhaps), i would need to have:
- manual zoom
- focus ring
- fast and silent AF
- articulated screen with a good resolution (perhaps touch controls like lumix G2)
- a good EVF
- a good 720p video mode with manual controls (with continuous AF and zoom)
- stereo sound recording on top of camera (and not in front of it)
- microphone line-in
- HDMI live output (that would be awesome :])
- PASM modes
- RAW format
- a small flash unit
- flash shoe
- metal tripod mount (make it metal body)
- 400$-500$ launch price tag

Yeah… right… we can always dream ;]

If you disregard the ‘super’ macro ability (well close up filters exist for something), something like panasonic lumix G2 with the 14-140mm lens (28-280mm equiv.) almost does it… except for the price :[

The new lumix GH2 promises great things, let’s see if it doesn’t fail to deliver it… it has the highest pixel density on a interchangeable lens camera…

By EXR I think you’re either refering to EXMOR sony sensors for their ability in low light, or the EXR from fujifilm for the half resolution mode with extended dynamic range - any of them looks good :]


+Kudos for your opinion :]

I hope any camera maker it’s listening… it would be a game changer for sure… but i don’t hope too much ...

11:26 pm - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, wide-angle, 14 megapixel, olympus, 28mm, 30x zoom, sp-800 uz, sp-800uz, Olympus SP-800UZ Review, sp 800 uz, sp 800uz, sp800uz

Tracker Pixel for Entry