Olympus SZ-20 Review

3.5
May 19, 2011 | Gavin Stoker |

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#1 Adrian

The images at full resolution looks washed of details. Who needs 16 Mp completely washed of details ?

My SP-550 UZ with only 7 Mp performs much better : images with good details.

They completely miss-understood market needs.
There is no need for more Mp.
There is a need for quality.

Olympus does not have DSLR with more than 12 Mp, but it has compacts with 16 Mp. :)

7:38 am - Thursday, May 26, 2011

#2 Paul Maglione

What a waste of time and effort from Olympus.

What we really want from them is a big brother for the ZX-1; same lens / spec but with a 10x optical zoom. I’d buy that in a heartbeat at almost any price.

3:12 pm - Thursday, May 26, 2011

#3 Warren Lyons

Good point, Adrian, but try SELLING a digital camera for more than $100.00 with less than 10MP. Some stores even have unsold Nikon D40 6MP DSLRs languishing on their shelves for years.  Olympus is in the business of selling cameras and for the intended market of this model, pixels sell

4:06 pm - Thursday, May 26, 2011

#4 Arthur

Warren, at this point it seems vital that big companies show that less MPs provide better pictures….......

9:06 pm - Saturday, May 28, 2011

#5 brian roebuck

poor image quality
on/off switch not recessed can be accidentally switched on if a soft case is used
battery life a joke
build quality poor
sorry i wasted my money taking offers

7:04 pm - Sunday, May 29, 2011

#6 B@F

I’ve bought this camera a few days ago. Before, I was using borrowed two-megapixel Olympus C-2100 Ultrazoom, so that’s my reference standard.

Image quality: pretty much the same, which means good. SZ-20 shows slightly more noise and smearing than the old C-2100 (with resolution set to 1600x1200), but when there is enough light and the ISO is 400 or less, it’s all right.

Hardware: I don’t like the glossy surface (Silver model), it might get slippery in summer when hands are sweating. Will have to glue something rough over it :-). But the thumb rest and fingergrip work perfectly and the design is quite nice.

Zoom range: great - from telescope to microscope. Even the bulky C-2100 is not that good. I especially love the 1 cm supermacro.

Controls: I’m not a big fan of menus, so I quite miss the specialized buttons for macro, flash etc. But that’s a matter of personal preference, and fortunately the SZ-20’s menus are quite well-designed.
I was very suspicious about the wheel controller. Bad news is that sometimes it doesn’t respond to small single step turns. Good news is that in most cases one can just press left/right instead of turning the wheel. Accidental turns when pressing the direction buttons are not a problem. What I love is the possibility to jump from one image to another when zoomed in (playback mode) - that I was missing on the other cameras with only the four arrows.

I like the built-in help: icon guide (description of menu items after a pause) and help button for context-sensitive help or a complete manual. Great aid for beginners!

Speed: good. The only perceptible delays occur after taking a shot, which is usually not a problem. If you want to speed things up, you can disable the two-second review image. Intro sound and animation can be disabled too.

Battery: I would prefer standard interchangeable AA accumulators, these proprietary Li-ions are quite expensive and I’m not sure about replaceability when they eventually die (or when I need a spare one). Well, at least this one is smaller and there are no strong springs that would eject the batteries or damage the door if it’s not locked properly.
Battery life looks sufficient - after first charging, several hours of playing with the camera and taking test shots drained it by one mark. The old hungry C-2100 would be down on 1/4 by this time.

Extra functions: white balance has several predefined modes or can be automatic, no detailed manual settings. I don’t mind, postprocessing in PC can do everything. Panorama function is nice. 3D seems useless since I don’t have a 3D TV, but maybe there are separate JPGs that could make a stereogram - I need to investigate this further, as well as the shadow adjustment and image stabilizer. Scenic modes might be handy. It seems that the “handheld starlight” really works, the rest I haven’t yet tried. Those funky “magic” filters may be fun, but nothing I couldn’t live without. Smart autofocus may be useful, but the best for everyday use is the normal “spot” mode. Video recording with stereo microphones looks promising, I still have to test all its possibilities. There is a full-auto shooting mode for total noobs, advanced amateurs have P mode with a lot of manual settings (shutter speed and F number is always auto).

Price: surprisingly low - about 1/10 of the old C-2100, and it beats it in everything. God bless technical progress :-).

Conclusion: I’m very happy.

12:13 pm - Thursday, September 8, 2011

#7 mi

I’ve been using the camera for 2month. so far i am not happy with the battery life and the image quality; have to snap for 2 or 3 time before can get the best pic. Previously i am using Fujifilm F40fd and I think it perform better than sz20 in term of image quality and longer battery life.
Anyway, I have to learn more to use the sz20.

4:01 pm - Friday, September 16, 2011

#8 Xyron

One month from time of purchased of Olympus SZ20 camera, The optical zoom is not functioning (zoom error). I understand Olympus is taking care of its name but somehow the quality of their products makes them bad. Much better Olympus would give assurance for the quality of products by replacing any defect even from 1-6 month from time of purchased.

6:38 am - Thursday, October 13, 2011

#9 Ug

16 megapixel in such tiny sensor (6.16X4.62 mm): a big mistake… Image quality is low

5:53 pm - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#10 dharmamunis

i have that camera at my home
its an superb camera

9:03 am - Monday, July 2, 2012

#11 Phil

I have had this camera for several months and have produced great photos with it. I shoot primarily real estate photos, indoors and out, and some people, landscapes, buildings and action shots.

The negatives I’m reading in other comments are greatly exaggerated, in my opinion. Color and sharpness are well above average, zoom range is awesome, features are more than adequate and flash range exceeds most if not all cameras in this class. Control features are well placed and user friendly. Yes, it is not a tank and the battery life is a bit short, but I carry a couple of extras and have never come up short. For the quality and features offered in this class and at this price, it is hard to beat. I would give it a solid 4 out of 5, and I certainly recommend it.

2:09 am - Sunday, September 30, 2012

#12 Phil

I have had this camera for several months and have produced great photos with it. I shoot primarily real estate photos, indoors and out, and some people, landscapes, buildings and action shots. The negatives I’m reading in other comments are greatly exagerated, in my opinion. Color and sharpness are well above average, zoom range is awesome, features are more than adequate and flash range exceeds most if not all cameras in this class. Control features are well placed and user friendly. Yes, it is not a tank and the battery life is a bit short, but I carry a couple of extras and have never come up short. For the quality and features offered in this class and at this price, it is hard to beat. I would give it a solid 4 out of 5, and I certainly recommend it.

2:21 am - Sunday, September 30, 2012

#13 harry manian

Just purchased it. Haven’t even set it up yet. I am very disappointed in some of the “image quality and battery life” comments. However, price was my main consideration, and for the deal I got I don’t think you can beat it. Still 4 out of 5 stars ain’t bad. Are there better cameras in its class?  I’m sure there are.

Harry

3:23 pm - Thursday, October 11, 2012

#14 John

After one year of receiving the SZ-20 as a Christmas gift from my wife I’ve started getting a zoom error & not wanting to start . I’ve never had it in a camera bag making sure to keep in in a dust free zip lock baggie instead when not i use .

I’ve cleaned around the lens after fully zooming both with a lint free pad & blowing lightly with mouth but not finding anything around it & still had it happen once again , It takes a slight jar while turning on to get it to operate again .

7:18 pm - Monday, December 30, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, review, 1080p, 16 megapixel, full hd, olympus, travel-zoom, travel, 24mm, movies, 3 inch, 12.5x, 12.5x lens, sz-20, Olympus SZ-20 Review, olympus sz-20

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