byJeannie Choe||March 2nd 2007 at 7:09pmMarch 2nd 2007 7:09 pm
If you had high hopes for Olympus' new feature-packed 7.1 megapixel SP-550UZ digicam, PopPhoto's review is sure going to dent -- but not burst -- your bubble. Olympus made sure to hype the SP-550UZ as having the first wide 18x optical zoom on a compact digital camera, shooting from a wide 28mm to an impressive 504mm supertelephoto focal length. Other pluses include RAW capture, and bright 2.5-inch LCD with EVF, good color accuracy, a solid, comfortable body, and user-friendly guide mode. The downsides mostly revolve around a bundle of features that sound great, but only work by sacrificing image quality and resolution. First we have the shockingly fast 15 fps Burst Rate capturing at a relatively low 1.2 megapixels, then slowed way down to 3 frames in a bit two seconds if you want full resolution. Olympus also stresses ISOs up to 5000, however shots taken at ISO 5000 and 3200 suffer a resolution of only 3.2 megapixels. ISO speeds overall were iffy, where certain settings, with or without blur filtering, would yield high-noise shots with unacceptable resolution. To break it down, at about $500, the SP-550UZ is a pretty decent choice if you're looking to go compact digital -- it's just too bad Olympus put a few too many compromises in the fine print.