Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom
Manufacturer: Olympus Part number: 225885
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as of 06/19/2013
CNET editors' review
price range: $239.95
- Reviewed by: Phil Ryan
- Reviewed on: 03/18/2007
The good: Great body design; high-quality, fast, wide, 18x optical zoom lens; sensor-shift image stabilization; manual exposure controls; RAW image capture.
The bad: Very slow; high noise above ISO 400; slightly soft images.
The bottom line: Olympus' SP-550UZ has great ergonomics, but disappointingly slow performance and soft, noisy images drag it down.
Great. Small camera huge range. Good for beginners and experienced
by Alexjhp on March 13, 2007
Pros: long zoom and stabilization. fast burst mode,RAW(for you picky people)
Cons: In M mode(manual) you cant control exposure compensation but thats its only flaw.
Summary: Its a really good camera. It has a huge zoom range of 1cm macro to 18x zoom(100x with digital). The performance is exceptional. At full zoom in dim light ...
Summary: Its a really good camera. It has a huge zoom range of 1cm macro to 18x zoom(100x with digital). The performance is exceptional. At full zoom in dim light performance is still great. The Image Stabilization is great. I had good pictures at 4" shutter lag. It has great burst mode. At 3mp it does 7fps and at 1.2mp it does 15fps. You sacrifice some resolution but its still usable. It also shows you shutter lag before you take the picture and highlights bad settings in red. You should stick to ISO 50 there is no need for higher ISO or using flash(unless pitch black)as long as you turn on stabilization. There are many features ranging from an alarm clock to underwater modes. Overall its a good extremely versatile camera. The EFV is also good for those who were wondering but you should try out yourself, I dont know what your standards on that are.Updated
One thing I forgot was that you sadly need an adapter tube to put on a filter but if you just want to protect the lens the included lens cover will work fine.Updated
The camera is a bit noisy but you shouldnt have to go to a high ISO.Theres no need. The camera shouldnt have 1 second lag. Its usually faster unless its at the extreme Telephoto in very dim light. The camera tops lag at half a second anyway unless you manually change it or are using slow flash. If its slow the IS should take care of it. As posted above Ive used it at speed as slow as 4 seconds without blur(but its hard). 1 or 2 seconds should be easy. As for start up you can make it faster if you take off the start up screen though.
10 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Excellent Camera - super zoom
by YorkyCNET on March 10, 2007
Pros: Amazing zoom, macro, high sensitivity ISO
Cons: Soft image, slow focus lock in low light, no printed manual.
Summary: This was a replacement for a Canon S1IS and I have found the zoom to be exceptionally good. Excellent macro performance. You only have to handle the camera to fall ...
Summary: This was a replacement for a Canon S1IS and I have found the zoom to be exceptionally good. Excellent macro performance. You only have to handle the camera to fall for it. The menu system is very easy to use, fewer buttons than the S1 and the large LCD is very clear. Sadly it does nor swivel. Excellent video performance.
7 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
by librasystem on March 9, 2007
Pros: Camera Has Everything I Need. Pictures are great!
Cons: Included Strap is very cheap. Use your own hands instead!
Summary: This camera is a winner. Much better than Olympus FE series. I am very happy with this camera even with the big price. It is a great value for the ...
Summary: This camera is a winner. Much better than Olympus FE series. I am very happy with this camera even with the big price. It is a great value for the dollar.Updated
Excellent Camera, I had a Olympus FE 200 which I trades back to Olympus. Camera was no where the camera the SP 550 is.Updated
I found out the string and lense cover gets in your way when shooting. Do not follow the instructions that comes with this camera when installing the lens cover. I purchased a ring holder that slips over the included strap, and can be removed easy, and then, the cover can be put in your pocket for safe keeping. Its called a Slip Sleeve Key Ring. You can find them a any of the popular hardware super stores.
7 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Great Camera, well worth the price.
by caberoo on March 21, 2007
Pros: Zoom ratio is amazing. Great to see a camera that 'starts' at 28mm, ...and then all the way to 504mm? Amazing!
Cons: Menu system needs improvement. Sequential shooting, temporary blacks out the screen.
Summary: This camera replaces my old Panasonic which had a 12times zoom lens. Most of these cameras with the long zoom lens, starts off at 35mm or 38 mm lens. Having ...
Summary: This camera replaces my old Panasonic which had a 12times zoom lens. Most of these cameras with the long zoom lens, starts off at 35mm or 38 mm lens. Having a 28mm on THIS camera opens up a 'wider world', providing you with more options.
Make sure you 'opt' for the 'xd memory card', with 'H' on the front of it. This is the only type of card that will let you use every feature on this camera. If you choose the basic card, which sports an 'M', then you'll loose out on Full Video mode, and the card is much slower. It's well worth the extra $20 or so. Also, make sure you opt for the largest card (which is a 2Gig), as it'll give you a total of 492 pics, at the highest setting.
Camera feels solid, flash is great and colors are very accurate. Stabilization feature on this camera works wonders as well, I was very impressed as my former camera had set a very high standard for me.
This camera works on AA batteries. I personally think this is a major benefit. The best rechargeable batteries (2600 mAh) should provide over 600 shots before the need to recharge. Also, AA batteries can be found anywhere if your rechargeables run out.
I do miss a button on the camera body itself, to take multi pics. To do this, you have to go into the menu of the camera. Also, when taking multi pics, the screen goes dark until you're finished. I'm sure this would be corrected in next years upgrade.
All in all, it's a great camera. With such a large lens, and with a 7mp camera, the possibilities are endless.
4 out of 4 users found this user opinion helpful.
Satisfaction almost guaranteed
by shoutj74 on March 26, 2007
Pros: Addresses many shortcoming of similar units
Cons: Some minor chroming at maximum zoom - NO MANUAL
Summary: Having moved from a Olympus C5050 Zoom (which broke!) to the SP550 I was not expecting this much of a leap forward in ability. The zoom is smooth and fast ...
Summary: Having moved from a Olympus C5050 Zoom (which broke!) to the SP550 I was not expecting this much of a leap forward in ability. The zoom is smooth and fast enough considering it's range. If you have the settings correct, which is not a hard task, it will perform admirably in virtually any setting. Advanced features like manual shutter release and RAW push it close to DSLR capabilities and the 7.1MP zoom mean that the digital zoom is more than useful at the extremis of application.
The old C5050 zoom would get upset if you turned it on with the lens cap on. This unit just pushes it off itself. The battery life is amazing with a capability of more than a couple of hundred shots even from 1700mA Nicads. The feel of the unit is sound and the buttons are pleasantly tactile. The LCD is a great size although the digital view finder with Diopter allows me to use it comfortably even though I wear glasses.
Picture quality is seriously good with faultless ability to acurately capture images as diverse as the surface of the moon (yes really) to the fine fur of a Meerkat. I have grinned at the shiny hide captured on a hippo and been impressed at the ability to capture the deep lush pinks of a rose at super macro which are so deep, you cold just sink into them.
Seriously, I cannot imagine what more you might expect from a product in this category. If you want interchangable lenses, buy a DSLR, dont expect a compact pro-sumer model to jump hoops. The only thing really missing, and this really irritates me, is a full manual. Once again you are expected to spend hundreds of dollars only to then have to print the manual off from the PDF file on the accompanying CD rom. As a new user it would be great to take this with me on shoots to find my way about the many features but carrying about a lever arch file with 90+ sheets of instructions is hardly convenient. PLEASE Olympus, stop insulting your customers with this cost saving inconvenience!
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
A very useful camera
by RichardCLandon on March 13, 2007
Pros: Nice control placement, Excellent image stabilization, Long flash working range, F2.8 lens
Cons: A lens hood for filters should be standard to protect the long lens zoom
Summary: The SP-550 is the first camera I can honestly say outperforms my old C-2100UZ. The 18X zoom with Image stablization works flawlessly, The Flash range (43 feet) is more than ...
Summary: The SP-550 is the first camera I can honestly say outperforms my old C-2100UZ. The 18X zoom with Image stablization works flawlessly, The Flash range (43 feet) is more than adequate for night photogaraphy. The controls are well placed for ease of operation, The diopter adjustment on the viewfinder is excellent.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Excellent Zoom and Photo Quality. The closest you can get to a SLR Camera without the high price
by ehab72 on June 5, 2007
Pros: Super Zoom, Beautiful Design, Easy to use, and Spectacular shots
Cons: Battary compartment door. Need to open flash manually to use it when needed
Summary: I love everything about this spectacular camera. My only worry is about the battary compartment door, it's a typical Olympus design which is a bit easy to break, I ...
Summary: I love everything about this spectacular camera. My only worry is about the battary compartment door, it's a typical Olympus design which is a bit easy to break, I had previous bad experience with this kind of door design but I hope I will not experience it again with the SP-550!
I highly recommended the SP-550 Ultra Zoom Camera to any beginner or intermediate user
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
by jakoub555 on April 5, 2007
Pros: Full manual option, Amazing zoom, Great picture quality
Cons: xd cards only go up to 2GB, need type H for long movies
Summary: This camera takes great pictures. It can take wide pics as well as incredible zoom. For those who read about slow focus there is the manual option which makes it ...
Summary: This camera takes great pictures. It can take wide pics as well as incredible zoom. For those who read about slow focus there is the manual option which makes it slr-like. i don't think cnet did this camera justice. i suggest looking at other reviews online that have spent a lot more time with it in real world situations. obviously its not perfect, but if you're someone who cares that it's grainy at ISO800-5000 this camera prob isn't for you. however other cameras will fall short in other departments when compared to the 550.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Fun, wide range of options, pictures are good. Nice stabilizer
by Ron Taube on March 15, 2007
Pros: Light and zoom stabilizer, pictures are very good
Cons: Only 15seconds on 30fps HQ video Unlimited on 15fps
Summary: I've owned several Olympus cameras and this one really stands out in every way. Now that rechargeable AA batteries are back and at 2500mah and higher these batteries really ...
Summary: I've owned several Olympus cameras and this one really stands out in every way. Now that rechargeable AA batteries are back and at 2500mah and higher these batteries really last I don't need the Li-ions anymore. I have a 2x conversion lense that makes the optical 36x but it definitely loses something around the edges. I can get great shots of birds and animals from quite a way out. Would recommend it to anyone as a near slr camera.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
I love it, it does the job for me
by old dog on July 23, 2007
Pros: great lens range, light weight
Cons: price was a ;little high for me
Summary: All in all a good camera. I showed the results to my friend who is senior photographer at Time Magazine, and he loved the head shot of my cat L....
Summary: All in all a good camera. I showed the results to my friend who is senior photographer at Time Magazine, and he loved the head shot of my cat L.C. Cool Cat. He checked it out on a 24 inch monitor.
1 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Olympus
- Part number: 225885
- Description: Far and wide, the world's most powerful ultra zoom. Capture the moment, and capture the action, with the world's most powerful ultra zoom - the 7.1 megapixel SP-550 UZ. Its new 18x wide-angle super-telephoto zoom lens gets you closer to your subject than any other compact digital camera on the market. Dual Image Stabilization eliminates blur. And with high-speed sequential shooting and new Pre-Capture technology, you'll capture anything that moves. Even shoot in low light without a flash, thanks to Bright Capture Technology, and it's easy to preview, shoot and share with the large 2.5" high-resolution LCD.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Digital camera - Compact
- Resolution 7.1 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CCD
- Total Pixels 7,400,000 pixels
- Effective Sensor Resolution 7,100,000 pixels
- Optical Sensor Size 1/2.5"
- Optical Zoom 18 x
- Digital Zoom 5.6 x
- Image Stabilizer Optical (image sensor shift mechanism)
- Auto Focus TTL contrast detection
- Digital Video Format AVI
- Image Recording Format JPEG,
- AV Interfaces Composite video/audio
Exposure & White Balance
- Light Sensitivity ISO 1600,
ISO 3200 (3Mpix),
ISO 5000 (3Mpix),
- Exposure Metering Multi-segment,
- Exposure Modes Program,
- Shooting Programs Candle,
Available light portrait,
Shoot & select 2,
Underwater wide 1,
Underwater wide 2,
Shoot & select 1,
- Special Effects Frames,
Black & White,
- White Balance Automatic,
- White Balance Presets Overcast,
Fluorescent light (daylight),
Fluorescent light (warm white),
Fluorescent light (cool white)
- Max Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec
- Min Shutter Speed 15 sec
- Exposure Compensation ±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps
- Auto Exposure Bracketing 5 steps in 1/3 EV step
- Type 18 x x Zoom lens - 4.68 mm - 84.24 mm - F/2.8-4.5
- Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 28 - 504 mm
- Focus Adjustment Manual,
- Min Focus Range 3.9 in
- Macro Focus Range 10 cm (Wide),
119.8 cm (Telephoto)
- Zoom Adjustment Motorized drive
- Lens Construction 11 groups / 14 elements
- Features Aspherical lens,
- Camera Flash Pop-up flash
- Flash Modes Fill-in mode,
Flash OFF mode,
- Features Flash +/- compensation
- Effective Flash Range 15 ft
- Continuous Shooting Speed 15 frames per second for 20 frames (1.2MPix),
7 frames per second for 15 frames (3Mpix)
- Self Timer Delay 2 sec,
- Additional Features Digital image rotation,
In-camera red-eye fix,
In-camera lighting fix,
PRINT Image Matching,
Resizing an image,
Automatic Pixel Mapping (APM),
Cropping an image,
Auto power save,
Digital noise reduction,
Interval shooting mode,
Dual image stabilization,
Bright Capture Technology,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Viewfinder Type Electronic
- Viewfinder Color Support Color
- Type 2.5 in LCD display
- Resolution 230,000 pixels
- Display Features Built-in
- Connector Type 1 x Composite video/audio output,
1 x USB,
1 x DC power input
- Software Olympus Master,
Drivers & Utilities
System Requirements for PC Connection
- Operating System Support MS Windows 98 SE,
MS Windows XP,
MS Windows 2000,
Apple Mac OS X 10.1 or later,
Apple Mac OS 9.0 - 9.2,
MS Windows ME,
MS Windows Vista
- Peripheral Devices USB port,
- Microsoft Certifications Certified for Windows Vista
- Included Accessories USB cable,
Audio / video cable
- Supported Battery AA
- Supported Battery 4 x AA Alkaline battery ( Included )
Memory / Storage
- RAM Installed 20 MB
- Memory Card Slot xD-Picture Card
- Supported Memory Cards xD-Picture Card Type M,
xD-Picture Card Type H
- Included Memory Card 20 MB Integrated
- Image Storage RAW 3072 x 2304,
JPEG 3072 x 2304,
JPEG 3072 x 2048,
JPEG 2560 x 1920,
JPEG 2304 x 1728,
JPEG 2048 x 1536,
JPEG 1600 x 1200,
JPEG 1280 x 960,
JPEG 1024 x 768,
JPEG 640 x 480
- Video Capture AVI - 640 x 480,
AVI - 640 x 480,
AVI - 320 x 240,
AVI - 320 x 240
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 4.6 in
- Depth 3.1 in
- Height 3.1 in
- Weight 12.9 oz
- Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
- Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
CNET Labs' Benchmarks
- Labs information All values are expressed in seconds. Please visit our <ref type="link" url="http://reviews.cnet.com/Labs/4520-6603 7-1014358-1.html">labs information page</ref> for information on how digital cameras are tested.
- CNET Labs Flash shot to shot time 4.8
- CNET Labs Raw shot to shot time 9.4
- CNET Labs Shot to shot time typical 4.6
- CNET Labs Shutter lag bright 1.0
- CNET Labs Shutter lag dim 1.6
- CNET Labs Typical burst speed 1.5
- CNET Labs Wake up time 2.9