Olympus reveals SZ15, SZ16 superzoom cameras with upgraded sensors

It almost wouldn't be a camera introduction without a couple of superzooms, would it? Appropriately, Olympus is updating its lower-cost SZ models at CES with new sensors and a handful of extras to match the long-distance optics. The 24X zoom SZ-16 iHS makes the undeniably larger leap: its 14-megapixel sensor now relies on low light-friendly CMOS (instead of the SZ-12's CCD) and introduces a quicker TruePic VI processor. The added power leads to a multi-shot Hand-Held Starlight mode for would-be astrophotographers as well as 1080p video. Not that the very entry level isn't getting some love, however. The SZ-15 is a meaningful upgrade in its own right, extending to the same 24X zoom as the SZ-16 while replacing the SZ-10's 14-megapixel CCD with a 16-megapixel CMOS imager. Olympus includes a handful of options that the SZ-15's older TruePic III engine can handle, such as a Beauty Mode and SR Zoom (read: digital zoom). Both models ship in March, although the narrow pricing spread between the $200 SZ-15 and $230 SZ-16 leaves us leaning heavily toward the higher-end camera.

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Olympus SZ-15 and SZ-16

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OLYMPUS EXTENDS LONG ZOOM CAMERA LINE WITH NEW STYLUS SZ-16 iHS® AND STYLUS SZ-15

24x Optical Zoom Power and Incredible Performance Packed into Two Compact, Stylish and Affordable Models

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 7, 2013 – Olympus today unveils two powerful, yet incredibly compact long zoom cameras, the STYLUS SZ-16 iHS and STYLUS SZ-15, both equipped with a 24x optical wide-angle zoom lens (25-600mm equivalent*), for adventurers looking for a lightweight, easy-to-carry companion ready to capture stunning panoramas or brilliant close-ups of their travels. The STYLUS SZ-16 iHS provides a level of imaging performance that feels like a DSLR, while the STYLUS SZ-15 has many of the same traits at an even more affordable price.

Both long zooms have similar features, but the STYLUS SZ-16 iHS is optimized for moviemaking with 1080p Full HD video and Multi-Motion Movie Image Stabilization to record virtually blur-free videos even when the camera is moving. Its 16-megapixel CMOS sensor combined with the TruePic™ VI image processor, first developed for the Olympus PEN®, captures beautiful, sharp images of subjects even in challenging low-light situations and backlit scenes.

Olympus' iHS (Intelligent, High-Sensitivity and High-Speed) Technology powers a number of features on the STYLUS SZ-16 iHS including Hand-Held Starlight mode which helps users at night, where image blur is more likely to occur, by capturing multiple images and stitching them together into a single, crisp, breathtaking photo without the use of a tripod. The STYLUS SZ-16 iHS's blazing fast autofocus and HDR Backlight Adjustment combine to take a collage of images at various exposure levels and blend them into one perfectly exposed photo regardless of difficult lighting.

Built-in Dual Image Stabilization on both models, combined with ergonomically designed grips, allow for firm and comfortable support to help cut out blur caused by camera shake. These features are particularly useful for getting up close with a Super-Resolution Zoom of up to 48x zoom magnification at full resolution, capturing a series of images of a fast-moving subject with high-speed sequential shooting, or in Telephoto Macro mode when users are shooting the rich detail of small subjects like insects from inches away. Beyond their zoom power, the cameras' impressive 25mm wide-angle lens takes in sweeping vistas, group shots and up-close macro images.

Both cameras are also equipped with eleven Magic Filters that add a range of spectacular effects to all of life's adventures, both with stills and in video mode. Additional features include Beauty Make-up mode, which allows users to easily apply everything from eyeliner to eye shadow and blush to subjects as well as Smart Panorama which lets users take a dynamic panorama of up to 360-degrees, simply by moving the camera from side to side or up and down.

Users can easily share their images on a big-screen HDTV in high definition using an optional HDMI cable or on their social networks using the Olympus Image Share smartphone application (via optional Toshiba FlashAir™ SDHC card or optional Eye-Fi Card).

* 35mm camera equivalent

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Olympus SZ-16 iHS and SZ-15 will both be available in March

SZ-16 iHS Estimated Street Price: $229.99 (Available in silver, white)
SZ-15 Estimated Street Price: $199.99 (Available in silver, black and red)

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Olympus reveals SZ-15, SZ-16 superzoom cameras with upgraded sensors