Olympus SZ-10


A slim new digital camera

Easy to take on a travel, the Olympus SZ-10 is a slim camera that allows you to take beautiful photos, having a 18x wide optical zoom lens and a 14 megapixel sensor. The SZ-10 is part of Olympus’ Super Zoom range of cameras and it is more efficient than you would think, at the first sight. It is not though designed for professional photographers and you will see below why, but for the average users it is perfect. We tested this camera and here is our review.

18x optical zoom

When the camera is turned off and the zoom lenses are retracted, you have a very slim, pocketable zoom camera that will be very easy to be carried around, even inside one of your pockets. It has a very good hand grip, very well designed and textured. When you turn it on, well, the lens extends in 2-3 seconds, going from 5mm to 90mm which is the equivalent to 28-504mm in 35mm terms.

On top of the camera you have the shutter release which is in the same place as usual. The power button is right next to it and comes with a little LED that shows you if the camera is on or off. In the middle there is the flash housing and next to it, on the left side is the switch that enables the onboard flash that’s work fine in almost any test. The rear of the camera is mostly occupied by the 3inch TFT screen which is not as good as it seems. It failed in displaying bright colors, as we expected. On the right side of the screen there are a few buttons, including a wheel controller which is also a navigation pad, with the OK button in the middle. Olympus-SZ-10

3D Photo available

There are also a one-touch movie shutter release, a playback button, Menu and Help. As there are no physical buttons for ISO settings and other necessary adjustments, they will be possible from the Function Menu. This Function Menu will let you choose the shooting mode, from Program Auto, iAuto, Panorama, 3D Photo, Magic Filter and Scene, flash mode, macro mode, self-timer, exposure compensation, white balance, drive mode and the ISO sensitivity setting which we already mentioned. There are also seventeen scene modes you can choose from, including separate modes for taking shots of cats and dogs. When these two modes are enabled, based on the face detection technology, the Olympus SZ-10 camera will automatically take shots of the detected animal in the frame.

Image in MPO format

The Magic Filter will allow you to play a bit with the pictures, having the possibility of choosing from Watercolour, Sparkle, Punk, Fish-Eye, Soft Focus, Pop Art, Drawing and Pinhole.

As we said at the beginning of that review, the camera features 3D Photo Mode, which captures two pictures from two different angles making a 3D image in MPO format. Another interesting mode is the Panoramic mode. The camera will allow you to take three images that will be stitched together, resulting the panoramic view. You only have to press the shutter button and pan across the scene, as the camera will take the following two pictures automatically.

720p HD video

The SZ-10 is also capable of shooting 720p HD video, which can be later displayed on a HDTV using a HDMI Control. The bad part is that you cannot record video and shoot pictures in the same time, and you also cannot zoom while sound is on. So if you want your video to have sound, you have to give up the optical zoom during the recording. We found this the most disappointing feature on the SZ 10 and we think it’s not only us who think this way. A good thing is that the SZ-10 has support for Eye-Fi media, which will allow you to share your pictures on the internet or transfer them directly on your computer.

Olympus SZ-10 comes with a adapter/transformer and a USB cable and the lithium-ion battery has to be charged in-camera, which means you’ll also need a spare one for a longer life. The USB port and the HDMI socket are behind a plastic cover on the bottom of the camera.

Review conclusion

We liked the Olympus SZ-10 slim design and zoom capabilities, but we would preferred to have easier access to certain settings, like exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity.

Technical specifications

Camera TypeExtended Zoom
Maximum optical zoom18x
MemoryCardsSD / SDHC / SDXC
File FormatsJPEG
Image format4:03
LCD Screen3 inch
Shutter Speed4 to 1/2000 seconds
Focal Length Equivalent28 – 504mm
SensitivityISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Aperturef/3.1 – 4.4
ExposureCompensation-2EV to +2EV (in 1/3EV steps)
White Balance SettingsAuto, Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Flourescent 1
Flash Range2.3m
Flash ModesAUTO, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off
Maximum Movie Resolution1280 x 720 pixels
Maximum Movie Duration29 minutes (HD)
Shooting ModesPortrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Pet (cat), Pet (dog)
MeteringESP, Spot, Centre weighted
Maximum Movie Frames Per SecondUnknown
Image StabilisationYes
Macro Focus1cms
Self Timer2 or 12 seconds
Video Out (TV Playback)Yes
Lens ConvertersNo
Computer ConnectionYes
Dimensions105.9 x 67.3 x 37.9mm
BatteriesLithium-ion Rechargeable