Olympus SP-600 UZ


A world record optical zoom

In the race between pixels or zoom, the Japanese manufacturer refuses to choose. It covers both with its powerful bridge.

After beginning of the race for the pixels, it’s time for the optical zoom battle, between the best digital camera producers. Olympus has launched its first bridge equipped a wide-angle 30x zoom lens with a focal range of impressive 28-840 mm ( equivalent 24 x 36 mm on the classic film) ! The gadget tested for this review is called SP-600 UZ.

Olympus-SP-600UZLess wide-angle comparing with its great predecessors, it goes much further, in the optical zoom zone ! This digital camera bridge it benefits from a dual system stabilization control. The stabilizer of Olympus SP-600 UZ is mechanical and digital in the same time but is not optical, the best solution until now. The result it’s a digital camera powerful but difficult to use without a tripod at high optical zoom. The shoot in daylight conditions in ideal light, the focal range to operate its maximum but you need the tripod too.

The dual stabilization has indeed seemed light enough to support an ambitious zoom like the 30x present in this camera. In addition to this powerful feature, the Olympus SP-800 UZ bridge chose a 14 megapixel sensor with resolution perilous for a small sensor for its image capture. We tested it for this review (without any memory card included, so no possibility to judge on the x-end), the bridge has appeared to have weak results in low light. The image provided on the SP-600 UZ display appear blurred and noisy. However, this can be just the result of the low screen resolution, with just 230,000 pixels, a low value comparing with the competitors.

Better face recognition

This powerful device also incorporates interesting new technologies to improve the image. Few of them are Advanced face detection (up to 16), Beauty mode (automatic editing the skin for improvements) or Multi-exposure mode (to create a single image after the superimposition of two consecutive pictures). The bridge it also proposes to 720p HD mode video and two softwares. The Surfing Photo [ib] is made for easier viewing and archiving the taken images. The pictures can be automatically sorted by location, date and even face recognition sometimes.Olympus-SP-600UZ-digital-camera

You must know that the SP-800 UZ features includes 2 GB of internal memory plus SD card reader by default. This is a a real comfort of data storage if you compare this bridge with other competitors ! The device is available from March 2010 at a price of about 379 €, depending by store.

A low cost alternative

In the same time, Olympus was launched another model, more modest, with “just” 15x zoom instead of 30x. The sensor is changed too with a 12-megapixel sensor and it seems to be somehow more reassuring than the 14 MP’s of 800 UZ, at least on paper. Its display is in turn only 2.7 inches, and the unit does not recharge via USB, and it is powered by AA batteries. The price of Olympus SP-600 UZ inevitably is smaller comparing with its big brother: just 249 €, depending by store.

Positive points (pros)

* Very powerful optical zoom
* HD Video at 720p
* Photo Burst ability at 15 fps
* 1 GB storage included
* HDMI port

Negative points (c0ns)

* Low display resolution
* Somewhat bulky


Chip TypeCCD
Resolution Width in Pixel3968
Resolution Height in Pixel2976
Viewfinder TypeLCD Monitor
Memory TypeInternal and External
Optical Zoom15
Digital Zoom5
Depth in mm75.1
Height in mm72.2
Lowest Focal Length in mm28
Focal Length in mm420
Interchangeable lensNo
Screen Size2.7
Video CaptureVideo + Sound
Secure DigitalYes
Micro DriveNo
Compact FlashNo
Memory Stick / Memory Stick ProNo
Memory Stick Duo / Duo ProNo
Internal Memory size in MB1024
Continuous shootingYes
Resolution in Pixel230000
Max Resolution Mode Video Width1280
Max Resolution Mode Video Height720
Ability to save files in RAWYes
Maximum Aperture Tele5.4
Maximum Aperture Wide3.5
Shutter Speed Fastest in SecondJan-00
Shutter Speed slowest in Second1
Sensor Size1/2.33 ‘
Battery Type0
Image StabilizerStabilizer Electronic
DebuggingFace Detection
Shutter PriorityNo
Aperture PriorityNo
Number of frames per second in video mode0