Olympus SP-800UZ Review

April 12, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

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 6Mb.

The Olympus SP-800UZ's main drawback in terms of image quality is noise. Even at base ISO, the effect of noise reduction is evident in the form of detail smearing, while noise itself takes over in the images at the higher settings. This means that despite the high resolution, the images do not really stand up to being printed at large sizes. The Olympus SP-800UZ dealt with chromatic aberrations a little better, with purple fringing effects appearing only in high-contrast situations. The po-up flash worked well indoors, with a little red-eye that was effectively removed through the use of the proper flash setting, and good overall exposure. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to fill the frame with a subject that is significantly smaller than a standard Compact Flash card. The camera is not particularly well suited to night photography as you cannot dial in the necessary slow shutter speed yourself, but the Night Scene mode does its job all right in an urban setting. The Magic Filters are fun, though of limited actual use.


The Olympus SP-800UZ offers 6 sensitivity settings at full resolution, ranging from ISO 50 to ISO 1600, and there is also an ISO 3200 setting available at reduced resolution. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The 30x lens has an extremely versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little bit soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Olympus SP-800UZ 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

The 30x zoom lens of the SP-800UZ handled chromatic aberrations pretty well for such a long zoom, but in some cases, coloured fringes were in evidence along contrasty edges.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Olympus SP-800UZ has both a Macro and a Supermacro mode, albeit the zoom can only be used in the former. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The camera has a pop-up flash that has to be raised manually. The available flash settings include auto, redeye reduction, fill in, redeye + fill in and slow. In our test, the redeye effect was quite successfully removed through the use of the redeye removal function.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Olympus SP-800UZ is not very well suited to night photography, as you cannot use very slow shutter speeds. The photo below was taken in the Night Scene mode at a shutter speed of 3.2 seconds, aperture of f3 at ISO 100, with all parameters chosen by the camera at its own discretion.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Magic Filters

The Olympus SP-800UZ has four Magic Filters, including Pop Art, Pinhole, Fish-eye and Drawing. These examples demonstrate what each filter does.



Fisheye Drawing