Olympus SP-810UZ Review

4.5
January 23, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6.5Mb.

All sample images in this review were taken in the highest resolution and compression with the exception of the quality test. At the highest 14 megapixel resolution, the Olympus SP-810UZ pictures are around 6.5Mb. Knocking the compression down from high to normal, image output is around 3.5Mb. Detail is a little tighter on the highest setting but if you need memory card space and don't want to compromise on the pixel count, try it at normal compression instead of high.

Noise

The ISO range of the Olympus SP-810UZ starts at ISO 64 and goes up to an arguably mediocre ISO 1600. Pictures at the lowest setting are very sharp, smooth and have sublime edge definition. We zoomed into 100% magnification and could just about make out some faint colour noise in the dark areas but it's certainly nothing to worry about. This continues through to ISO 100.

Disappointingly, salt and pepper noise starts to creep in at ISO 200 which affects edge definition. Colour noise can also be seen in some areas of mid tone colour. The white flecks become more common as the camera rises through the settings. At ISO 800, the images take on a slight purple cast and areas that were sharp are more blurry. The final ISO 1600 setting explains why the settings stop there. Definition can be seen but mid tone greys turn purple giving the pictures a garish quality.

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Olympus SP-810UZ's 36x lens has an extremely versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.

24mm

864mm

Sharpening

One area of the Olympus that we're impressed with is how sharp the pictures are. Sure, they can enjoy a boost in sharpening from Adobe Photoshop but the pictures are suitably sharp on their own.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Olympus SP-810UZ has two file quality settings, Fine and Normal. Here are a couple of 100% crops which show the quality of the two options.

14M Fine (100% Crop) 14M Normal (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

Sadly, despite the sharp qualities of the lens on the Olympus SP-810UZ, we did find evidence of chromatic aberration. It sprouted up more prominently on hard edged high contrast images as purple fringing.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

There are two macro features on the Olympus SP-810UZ. Normal macro has a close focusing of around 30cm which is a bit poor in both getting close and showing detail. The Super Macro mode has a close focusing of 5cm which might make you wonder why they put the normal macro mode in at all? Well, in super macro, you can't use the zoom.

Macro isn't just about getting the lens as near to the subject as possible. We found that we could incorporate the zoom function for some macro shots. However, the camera will also focus on distant shots in normal focus mode. In fact, normal focusing has the same range as macro which – once again – opens up the question; Why bother? It's probably just put in there so consumers feel comfortable. After all, whoever heard of a digital camera that didn't have a macro mode? Even if it didn't need it?

Aside from these queries, the macro mode works well enough, just don't expect to marvel. We've seen much better results from other compacts in terms of getting in close.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash on the Olympus SP-810UZ is a flip up type. It sits over the lens barrel and is designed like modern DSLRs where the flash faces down when not in use. This ensures that as much height as possible is given to eradicate red-eye.

Light spread is even and no vignetting occurs with or without flash. Aside from the auto setting, there's also a red-eye reduction option, flash on and flash off.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

We discovered that when shooting at night with the SP-810UZ, it's best to use the night scene mode, simply because the program mode doesn't allow long enough exposures to create a decent image. However, we think that the white-balance could be more balanced. Even with a yellow glow from the street lights, the orange cast produced was deeper than in real life. With a 2 second exposure, we had to use a tripod and the camera will be programmed to know this so knocking the ISO down to 100 instead of ISO 250 and using a longer shutter speed would be better for getting rid of the intrusive noise. It's a good result though and in night mode, the only thing you're allowed to change is the self timer meaning that we didn't have to touch the camera before it started exposing.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, wide-angle, 720p, 14 megapixel, super-zoom, olympus, 24mm, super zoom, ultra-zoom, 3D, 36x zoom, sp810uz, sp-810 uz, sp-810uz, Olympus SP-810UZ Review, sp 810 uz, sp 810uz

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