The market for travel compact cameras is expanding, with most manufacturers launching their iteration of the camera that features an incredibly powerful zoom on a compact body. Olympus is a well-known brand, as far as cameras are concerned and to battle this increasingly popular segment, they have launched the SX-30MR. This camera features a 24x zoom, multi-recording capabilities, 3D capabilities and others. Let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.
The handgrip allows one to handle the camera easily
Design and Build Quality
First thing that surprised us was the incredibly slim form factor of the Olympus SZ-30MR. Though travel compacts are relatively slim, this camera has the thinnest depth we have seen thus far. It comes in two colours - silver and black, and the piece we received was in silver. The design of this camera is really stylish and it can definitely appeal to either genders, irrespective of the age group. The front of the camera features the lens along with the AF assist and a switch that deploys the flash. The Olympus branding is embossed on the lid of the pop-up flash. The other noticeable feature on the front of the camera is the large hand grip. This is the only aspect of this camera, which gives it some amount of bulk.
The rear of the camera has a black finish and it features the 3-inch screen, which flushes along the body. Next to it are controls for the camera, which include a 4-way jog dial that doubles up as a scroll wheel, a designated video recording button and other regular controls found on cameras. Olympus has done well to keep the layout of the controls at the back minimum. The top of the camera features the mode dial along with the on/ off button and the shutter release button that is located between the zoom rocker.
24x zoom fitted on compact body
The flash, when deployed feels sturdy and the spring does not feel too loose or rigid, which is a good thing. Connectivity options are found in a slim bay on the side of the camera. Olympus has fitted a proprietary USB port and an HDMI micro connector type D in this bay. The flap of the bay is made of plastic and flushes nicely along the body of the camera. The battery bay located underneath the camera houses the battery along with the memory card. The flap of this bay is made of plastic and has a locking mechanism to ensure that the battery does not pop out accidentally. Overall, the design of the camera is really good and with its slim depth, it certainly has an appealing look. One can easily use the camera with a right hand, because of its lightweight, which is approximately 226g. The little rubberized strip at the back also assists in the handling of the camera.
The Olympus SZ-30MR is loaded with interesting attributes. The headlining feature of this camera is the 24x optical zoom with an equivalent focal length of 25 - 600mm. Travel compacts having high zoom capabilities is normal, but having such a high optical zoom on such a tiny body is a very unique feature. The camera features a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor and shoots images at a resolution of up to 4608 x 3456. This is fairly sufficient for printing images on large format papers.
The interface of this camera is quite plain, it is a lot better than most cameras in the market, but looking at their PEN series of cameras, the interface looks simple in design without the JPEG at the back. The camera is really easy to use and someone who is using a digital camera for the first time can learn to operate it within a matter of minutes. The dial at the top assists to a very large extent and with the scroll wheel, one can easily switch between options. An interesting bit about the interface is that while viewing pictures quickly using the scroll wheel, the images get displayed in a variant of one knows as an image carousel. The images or videos line up as a moving image gallery and the images are placed one above the other. This is a pretty neat animation, which Olympus has used to preview images on screen quickly.
The mode dial allows one to easily switch the different settings
The camera is devoid of manual or semi manual functions such as designated modes for shutter priority, aperture priority or a manual mode. Those wanting to play around with the settings may see this as a shortcoming. The iAuto mode is more than sufficient for capturing images in most light settings, so people, who do not want to play around and just capture images on the fly, can capture images beautifully with this simple setting. A slight amount of tweaking is possible through the camera’s Program Auto mode.
SZ-30MR includes an interesting option, i.e. the ability to save two pictures and two videos simultaneously with its multi-recording capabilities. The camera also has a 3D mode, a Magic mode with 8 filters, a panorama mode and the ability to record videos in full HD 1080p. The feature list of this camera is pretty good and one can certainly have some fun with it.