Olympus SP-550 UZ

Olympus SP-550 UZ

Think 7.1 megapixels isn't enough? The 18x zoom eliminates the need for the extra megapixels.


The UZ in the SP-550 UZ’s name stands for “ultra zoom,” and in this camera’s case, we’re talking 18x - that’s an amazing amount of zoom for a point-and-shoot. It’s handy for taking pictures at sports events, at your kid’s holiday concert, or anytime you want to get up close without actually “getting up close” (or even getting up).


When you’re zoomed in real close, you need to keep a steady hand. Zoom doesn’t just magnify your subject, it magnifies the shakes you have while holding the camera. If you use the maximum zoom, the slightest bit of movement can look like a 8.0 earthquake through the camera. Luckily, the SP-550 UZ comes with Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization, which helps counteract camera shake. The camera can sense shake and adjust the CCD appropriately so the image you shoot appears stable. This feature is a lifesaver when you’re using the higher range of the zoom, and it also means we don’t have to cut down on our morning cups of coffee.


The 7.1-megapixel camera shoots photos that are quite pleasing with great clarity and color. We couldn’t find any obnoxious aberrations with the lens set to the widest available angle or the longest telephoto setting. One cautionary note: Avoid setting the ISO above 200. At ISO 400, pictures start looking grainy from the image noise. At ISO 800, 1600, and 3200, the image noise reminded us of a heavy snowfall.


The SP-550 UZ unfortunately lacks a control wheel to change the shutter speed or aperture. You have to press the icon at the 12 o’clock position on the arrow pad on the back of the camera. The first hit will activate the Change mode, and then the up and down arrows will change the shutter speed or aperture. A wheel would have made these adjustments a lot easier.


The bottom line. Olympus did a great job of packing a long zoom range into the SP-550 UZ. The zoom will open up opportunities in your photography that you’ve never had before.


COMPANY: Olympus
CONTACT: www.olympusamerica.com
PRICE: $399.99

One of the longest zoom lenses you can find in a point-and-shoot camera.

Clumsy method to alter aperture and shutter speed.





+ Add a Comment


Really informative. thanks!
scat girls


Admirable Perry

When I sought a replacement for my Camedia 3040Z recently, my first choice was another Olympus. Specifically, the newer model cited in another comment, the SP-560 UZ. But the camera store saleswoman advised that another make priced slightly lower was more popular, in part because its electronics allowed faster processing.

Much as I wanted to improve to modern pixel count and far greater zoom than my eight-year old Olympus with another, I had to leave Olympus behind this time. I hope to return an Olympus to my camera bag in a year or two, but right now they have some catching up to do.


Jack M

I just purchased the 550 UZ about a month ago - I love it! Only complaint would be the price of rechargeable batteries. (A rechargeable 'battery pack' like my previous cameras - Fuji, Kodak - would be nice).

But the zoom is awesome! (Most 'digital' zooms are worthless anyway - only optical matters)

The menus (SCN - Scene; and GUIDE) are very helpful when I don't know exactly what settings to use - it does it for you -- and kind a' explains why.

Very nice camera!



Your "review" of the 550 is late. That model was superceded
by the Olympus 560 months ago.

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