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Olympus SP-620UZ review

Budget priced 21x superzoom suitable for beginners and the broke

Our Verdict

For

  • Broader than average zoom range
  • 16MP sensor
  • Modest ISO range
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive

Against

  • Can't record sound and use optical zoom together
  • Feels plasticky
  • Over-sensitive scroll wheel
  • Lacks key features of pricier models

Olympus sp-620uz review

A half-press of the shutter release button on the forward slope of the handgrip, encircled by a lever for operating the zoom, and the Olympus SP-620UZ determines focus and exposure after the briefest of pauses.

It's not quite the lightning-quick response of an Olympus PEN such as the PEN E-P3 or an OM-D such as the OM-D E-M5, which cost three times as much, but it's swift enough to not miss the shot seen in your mind's eye.

Olympus sp-620uz review

Slightly more sluggish is the 3-4 seconds required for committing a Fine quality JPEG to memory - there's no raw option here. But given the mass-market target audience, neither is a deal breaker.

In regular stills framing mode the optical zoom is impressively zippy, powering through the entire focal range from extreme wide-angle to maximum telephoto setting in just under three seconds.

Olympus sp-620uz review

If you do deploy it for silent movies, its motion is noticeably more lethargic, doubtless to spare inexperienced video makers from creating motion sickness-inducing lurches.

The test of any superzoom camera is most importantly how well it performs at both extremes of the focal range. Happily, at the maximum 25mm equivalent wide-angle setting we didn't notice any dramatic barrel distortion or fish eye effect. Edge to edge detail is also well maintained, which often isn't the case.

Olympus sp-620uz review

At the maximum 525mm equivalent zoom setting, meanwhile, the report is also a happy one. Shooting handheld and with available daylight, we were able to achieve a good level of sharpness when zoomed right in.

Of course images benefit from a tweak of brightness and contrast levels in Photoshop to give them a bit more punch and depth, but the same is true of just about any consumer camera.

Olympus sp-620uz

This being an Olympus camera, colours remain naturalistic - unless using one of the built-in effects filters such as the saturation-boosting Pop Art, of course.

At the top sensitivity setting (ISO 1600), the Olympus SP-620UZ also makes a reasonable fist of it. Yes, texture is present at ISO 800 and above, but even at this top setting it's not present at ruinous levels, and detail is held reasonably well.

Olympus sp-620uz review

The feeling is that Olympus could perhaps have gone higher still. The white tiled background to our test shots revealed that Olympus' grasp of white balance does remain variable, however, from shot to shot.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedAA
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution16 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilySP
Image StabilizationOptical, Electronic
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom21x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesLive View, Self-timer, Pet Detection, Face Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)435 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
Flash Memory Capacity59 MB
Minimum Focus Distance10 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported4
Battery Built-inNo
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCCD
Total Camera Resolution16.6 Megapixel
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedCR-V3
Memory Card SupportedEye-Fi Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height74.3 mm
Width109.7 mm
Depth73.7 mm
Product SeriesSP
Focal Length4.50 mm to 94.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Audio FormatsAAC
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Red-eye Reduction
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelSP-620UZ
Product NameSP-620UZ Compact Camera
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV103040BE000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

More than ten years ago, with its first SP Ultra Zoom (UZ) camera, Olympus laid down a marker for first-class specifications, versatility and sheer telephoto performance. On the evidence of the latest editions to the Traveller family, in this specialist segment they remain the cameras to beat. The powerful optics are all the more impressive given the modest dimensions. In fact, they take up most of the camera, especially on the SP-620UZ, which is incredibly slender and light for a camera of this zoom potential. It comes equipped with a 21x wide-angle optical zoom lens (25-525mm). In addition to close-quarter wide angles, expansive panoramas and nose-to-nose close-ups, this lens gives you the flexibility to experiment with intermediate zoom settings - from portraits to still lifes and holiday movies in 720p HD. Image quality is excellent on this camera, thanks in part to the 16-Megapixel CCD and Dual Image Stabilisation. You can look forward to radiant colours, low noise and razor-sharp edges. Blur is conspicuous only by its absence.

Package Contents
  • SP-620UZ Compact Camera
  • 4 x AA Batteries
  • Lens Cap
  • Hand Strap
  • CB-USB6 USB Cable
  • CB-AVC3 Audio/Video Cable
  • Instruction Manual
  • World Wide Warranty Card
  • Software Media
Display Resolution230000 Pixel
Limited Warranty2 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker