Olympus has had a very successful 2011, wherein they introduced some really 'head turning' cameras. The PEN range of Micro Four Thirds and a one-of-its-kind, the SZ-30MR, a travel compact in an extremely slim frame camera, from their camera line-up, last year were among the those, which stood out in the crowd. The brand also introduced the SP-810UZ, which is a follow-up to the SP-800UZ. The present generation model features some improvements over its predecessor and the most notable of these is the 36x optical zoom found here.
The lens is predominant here
Last year, we reviewed the Nikon P500, which performed really well and had the same zoom capabilities as the SP-810UZ. Let’s take a look and see if this Olympus camera can match up to them and other super zoom cameras available in the market, these days.
On video: Olympus SP-810UZ
Design and Build Quality
At first glance, one may mistake the Olympus SP-810UZ for a DSLR, mainly due to the large lens found on it. But this can only last up to the first look, as upon closer inspection, one will notice how slim the body of the camera actually is, barring the large lens and hand grip, of course. When we say slim, we do not refer to those attractively slim handsets, like the ones from Sony’s T range of cameras, but to standard travel compacts found in the market, such as the Panasonic TZ series of cameras. This camera is available in two colour options - silver and black. The one, which we received in our labs was of the black variant and apart from the hand grip and lens, the rest of the body was finished in gloss. Though the body has an overall black finish, it has hints of silver on it mainly featured as a strip at the side, the rim of the lens and the buttons.
The rear of the SP-810UZ features the 3-inch display that is flushed against the body. The rear features a few buttons and though there are no options for the regular camera features, such as flash, macro, timer, etc., there is a scroll wheel, which can toggle through all the options that are found on the screen. The other buttons located here, include a designated video recording button, a playback option and a menu control. The top of the camera features two buttons - one power button and a shutter release button that is located next to the zoom rocker. The upper portion also features up a pop-up flash. But this is unlike the pop-up flashes found on most cameras on the market, these days. The flash on this camera needs to be physically opened and there is no button to deploy it.
The large hand grip assists in the handling
Connectivity options found at the side, include proprietary USB and HDMI connectors. The flap for this connectivity bay, flushes neatly against the body of the camera. There are eyelet on either sides, to which one can attach the bundled-up strap. The battery bay for the camera is located under the hand grip and one can add the memory card, too to this. The flap for the bay is sturdy and due to the push/ slide unlock mechanism, it remains secure, negating the fear of the battery accidentally popping out.
Overall, this is a stylish looking camera, which suitable for most occasions. Though it is on the compact side, it cannot fit into a pocket. It is also a bit heavy, weighing in at around 413g. As for the build quality, it looks and feels sturdy and appears that it could sustain a few accidental drops.
The Olympus SP-810UZ is not one of those cameras that have a ton of features loaded. The features that it does posses, however, helps it excel in those departments. Looking at this camera, one does not need to guess too hard, as to what its primary characteristic will be. The large 36x optical zoom lens speaks for itself. This lens features a focal length of 4.3 - 154.8 mm and on a 35mm lens translates to 24 - 864 mm. With this, one can get up close to objects that are significantly far off and it will be ideal for those who are looking at capturing landscape or wildlife photos. The brand has added a 14 Megapixel CCD sensor on this camera with a sensor size of 1/2.3 inches. This sensor size is standard for most compact cameras. The brand has opted against shifting to using a CMOS sensor for this model, as they have done on the SZ-30MR camera. A CMOS sensor is usually considered for producing better quality images, as compared to CCD sensors. The aperture value on this camera ranges from F/2.9 - 5.7, so one can expect more light to reach the sensor.
The large 3-inch screen at the back
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