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Olympus SH 25-MR Review
When one is looking to buy an Olympus camera, an advantage they often have is that they get a variety of other features that can entertain, please and enthrall them, besides having the usual features a camera has to offer. With the recent launch of the SH 25-MR, the case is no different. Marketed as a travel compact, this option boasts of a 12.5x zoom, a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor and loads of other features that set it apart from the competition.
GPS hump located at the top
Design and Build Quality
The design of compact cameras have virtually remained the same and there have been only slight physical modifications here and there. The Olympus SH 25-MR also follows the traditional compact camera design, but the brand has built up on it by adding a fair amount of style. Finished in an all metal body, this camera oozes professionalism, though the features within may point towards the contrary.
The addition of a rubberized hand grip at the front is great as you can easily hold the camera without the fear of it accidentally slipping from your hand. As for the size, it is a bit chunkier than most others available in the market. However, the size only adds to the class and does not diminish it. The large, 3-inch resistive touchscreen at the back is flush along the body and though it is a resistive screen, the build quality of the display is a lot better than those found on other cameras using this sort of display technology. The buttons located alongside are few, with a nice design as it is featured on a silver strip at the back. The buttons located here include a four way navigational pad, an OK button, a dedicated video recording control, a playback button and a menu key. The build quality of these buttons is good. The buttons at the top include a mode dial that allows one to access the different modes, the shutter release button, a zoom rocker and a power button.
Battery bay housed at the bottom
The camera features a hump on the top, which houses the GPS module and alongside lies the pop up flash. The build quality of the flash is good and it operates through the interface. There is no physical button on the camera that allows one to deploy it. This can be a good feature as it lets you have complete control over it from the menu itself. Connectivity options are housed in a bay at the side and they include a proprietary HDMI port and a proprietary USB port. As is the case with most cameras, the SD card slot is located in the battery bay. The flap for this bay is spring loaded and it has a locking mechanism, which prevents the battery from popping out, accidentally.
The overall build quality of the camera is really good and this is primarily due to its metal casing. Rounding up this part of the review, the Olympus SH 25-MR is a well designed camera that feels expensive.
Olympus categorizes this camera as part of their traveler series, but for the price that it is being offered at, we feel that they have used a less than adequate zoom lens. The optical zoom featured here is 12.5x, though Olympus have not added a large enough zoom on this camera, in comparison to travel compact cameras from rival manufacturers with the same pricing. This model is fitted with other features that can definitely vie for the top slot as the chief headlining feature.
Small form factor
The Olympus SH 25-MR comes equipped with a 16MP CMOS sensor that can capture images at a maximum resolution of 4608 x 3456. Having a CMOS sensor has its advantages over a CCD sensor as they offer better low light performance. Another interesting feature found here is the high ISO range, with the maximum ISO sensitivity available here being ISO 6400. This is great for capturing images in low lit areas. The touchscreen capabilities of this camera are yet another highlighted feature. The screen is not of the highest resolution we have seen, but the 430k dot display is more than sufficient in providing the detail in images previewed or reviewed on the camera itself. The display also has the option for allowing one to touch to focus and touch to capture. This is a neat feature and it is a great inclusion, especially when you consider the price of the camera.
Being a travel compact camera, the Olympus SH 25-MR comes with GPS capabilities. Most compact cameras have a lot of difficulty in capturing the signal, but this happened in a cinch on this model. The first time, during the set-up process it took time to refine the location, however, all succeeding times it found the location instantly. A neat aspect of this camera is that if the camera is powered on and one is travelling, it keeps on updating the location without losing its signal.
Large hand grip featured here
Olympus have added a Multi Recording function to the camera, which allows you to capture a Full HD movie and an image, simultaneously without the loss of any pixel count. There is a dedicated mode on the camera for accessing this function and in this mode, there are three sub modes, such as frame, size and magic. In the size mode, the camera saves two different sized photos or movie files, simultaneously; in the frame mode, two images or videos from different angles are saved simultaneously and in Magic mode, a picture with a filter is saved at the same time as the original. This is a mode that can grab someone's attention for a sizeable amount of time and it allows one to get creative by trying out the different capabilities.
Apart from this mode, there is a photo with video mode allowing one to record a movie before and after an image, a panorama mode, scene modes with a range of presets, a magic mode that has a ton of filters and a 3D shooting mode that records images that can be viewed on a compatible 3D TV or monitor.
Olympus has not held back any punches and just like adding a ton of features to this camera, they have not compromised on the video recording capabilities as well. The Olympus SH 25-MR can record Full HD 1080p videos keeping it at par with the other high end cameras available in the market. Videos are recorded in the MOV container using the H.264 video codec.
3-inch touchscreen at the back
Rounding up this section of the review, this camera is feature packed and comes with loads of functions that will allow one’s curiosity in photography to expand beyond the conventional.
- 16 Megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
- 12.5x super-wide optical zoom (24-300mm)
- Multi Recording functions
- 3.0-inch 460,000 dot touch panel LCD
- GPS & Electronic Compass
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- Aperture ranges from f/3 (wide), f/5.9 (telephoto)
- ISO Range is 80 to 6400
- 43MB internal memory
- 925mAh battery
The Olympus SH 25-MR is a camera that is loaded with features and reviewing it was a nice experience. To start off with the performance bit of the review, handling is easy as it is chunky enough to grip and the hand grip assists in shooting images with a single hand. Considering all the features thrown in, the camera is not heavy and weighs 208g, allowing one to easily snap photos or shoot videos without any difficulty.
Capturing images outdoors with this camera was great. There were no anomalies present on the screen, even when shooting directly at the bright sky. Usually in the case of point and shoot cameras, there are purple hues that appear across the screen when the camera is pointed at the sky. This issue was not noticed here and there was a lot of detail present across the display, while previewing it and while reviewing it. While checking the images on a PC, we observed that the camera renders colours really well. In the past, we have seen some cameras from Olympus, which rendered colours a lot vibrant, than they should be. Thankfully, this was not the case with this model. Another thing that is really great about this camera is that there is hardly any colour fringing seen.
Flash fires well
While shooting images indoors, we observed that there was a lot of detail present. Colours and skin tones appear natural and the overall indoor performance of the camera is really good with there being negligible image grain. Images shot in low lit environments, however appear a bit brighter on the camera's display than on a PC monitor. This was the only misgiving we faced with the performance of the camera in low light shots.
ISO Sensitivity Test
The ISO on this camera ranges from 80 to 6400. To check the noise at different levels, we shot the same image using different sensitivities and from the image we can see that up to ISO 200, the image is virtually without any image noise. At ISO 1600, the noise levels rise and at ISO 6400, besides the image noise, there is a loss in detail also present.
ISO sensitivity test
Since the Olympus SH 25-MR is categorized as a travel compact, the highlighted feature of the camera is its zoom capabilities. When we shot images with the zoom set to maximum, we observed that there was no blurring and there was a lot of detail present. The camera does well while capturing images in a bright environment. While using the camera in a low lit environment, we noticed that there were some image stabilization issues and there was a slight amount of blurring even though the auto focus was active.
Videos on the Olympus SH 25-MR can be recorded in 1080p. The image quality of the video is really good and there were no issues faced at all.The colours appeared accurately and there were no issues faced here as well. The flash of the camera is good and it can easily light up an area of around 12 feet. The camera is powered using a 925mAh lithium ion battery and after using it for a considerable amount of time with video recording, we got approximately 200 shots.
Rounding up this section of the review, we can safely say that the colour reproduction of the camera is really good and it does a good job. However, the only downside is that the indoor performances do not match up to the high outdoor capabilities.
The front of this travel compact
The Olympus SH 25-MR is available in India at a price of Rs. 21,990. If you are in the market looking for a camera and require an above average zoom capability, then this model is an ideal option. The camera is stylishly designed and has features that can leave a user more than satisfied. As far as the performance is concerned, the outdoor image quality is really good, which can be especially useful during day trips. The slight issue we faced was with the low light performance of the camera, as it appears a bit brighter on the camera’s screen than it actually is. If one does not mind this slight issue, then this model will be a good option that cannot miss.