Olympus Introduces Fast Camera with 18X Optical Zoom

Olympus Introduces Fast Camera with 18X Optical Zoom

And if even its impressive zoom capability isn't enough for you, the Olympus SP-550's lens has a threaded barrel so that you can add screw-on lens attachments to broaden its range even further.


Olympus today announced the SP-550 UZ (ultra zoom), a compact point-and-shoot camera that includes an 18X optical zoom that slips smoothly from 28mm to 504mm with an f-stop range of 2.8 to 4.5, depending upon zoom setting. The SP-550 is scheduled to ship in March 2007, and will have an estimated street price of $499.99.


In addition to its marquee feature - it's exceptionally broad zoom range - the SP-55 has a number of other attributes worth noting:


> A 7.1 megapixel image sensor that allows you to shoot relatively high-resolution images, and which captures those images in either RAW or JPEG format.


> Both LCD and electronic viewfinder framing, which allows you to choose between framing your images on a 2.5-inch, 230,000-pixel display or through an electronic viewfinder (with diopter correction, of course).


> Dual image stabilization, which adjusts both for camera shaking and low-light conditions.


> High-speed shooting, which can capture 15 full frames per second. Olympus claims that this is "the highest burst rate of any compact digital camera," and we have no reason to doubt them.


> Pre-capture technology, which works along with the high-speed shooting by capturing five frames and storing them in the SP-550's buffer as soon as focus is locked and before the shutter is fully depressed.


> Both automatic and manual control, which allows either the SP-550 to make aperture and shutter decisions, or lets you take full control of them.


> Thirty automatic shooting modes, which provide you with presets for "portraits, landscapes, night scenes, fast-action, macro and more."


> High-quality video and audio, which shoots in full 30-frame per second, 640 by 480 resolution.


> High-ISO capability and in-the-dark framing, which allows you to shoot at up to ISO 5000, and frame your shots using what Olympus calls Bright Capture Technology "Even when it's too dark to see clearly."


> In-camera editing, which lets you perform simple image-manipulation processes such as red-eye reduction, shadow-detail enhancement, and cropping inside the camera.


Although we haven't had a chance yet to play with the SP-550 ourselves - as we mentioned above, it's not available until March 2007 - on paper it appears to be a quite well-equipped unit for a penny under five-hundred bucks. Keep your eye on Mac|Life the magazine for a full review soon after it ships.




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SP-550 UZ from Olympus
Why is this a headline on your page on 3/13/08.

Apparently you are not aware that the 550 was superseded by the 560 and then the 570.

It's not that hard to learn about these things.



I am an owner of previous generation superzoom cameras from Olympus. This new, even higher power zoom camera seems a very impressive step. I plan on buying a new camera soon and was looking into the DSLR market. This camera, however, intrigues me. The high speed frame capture looks very interesting. I wonder how it compares to a Base price DSLR? I can't wait to try this camera. I would still be very apprehensive about buying one, because it runs on 4 AA batteries. I've always found them cumbersome and unreliable.

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