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Old Mar 30, 2007, 8:31 PM   #11
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The bottomline is that the Olympus SP-550 has not fared well with the reviewers. Yes, as a user who loves my E-300, I have high hopes for the E-510. However, unless Olympus can close the gap with much better equipment, they will be out of the UZ market and the DSLR market.

That will be sad, as I have always beeen a big Olympus fan for many years. However, the sword of fate is now hovering over the head of Olympus. The SP-550 seems to be sort of a so-so camera. If the E-410 and E-510 are not clear cut winners, Olympus will most probably loose in a very big way.

Yep, that is the company who wowed the world with the C-2100, but is today hardly breathing.

MT/Sarah
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Old Apr 4, 2007, 4:52 PM   #12
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Not all reviews are bad... the specs are so high on the SP 550 that most people expect miracles, but the user posted images I have seen are very acceptible to me:roll:. If you know of a better ulta zoom for less than $500, tell me about it, please.... I am in the market to buy.
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Old Apr 4, 2007, 6:09 PM   #13
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Horn-

Perhaps the Sony H-9 would come close to the specs of the SP-550.

MT/Sarah
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Old Apr 4, 2007, 7:48 PM   #14
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mtclimber wrote:
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However, the sword of fate is now hovering over the head of Olympus.
MT/Sarah
Oh, professor of doom....

Don't kill them off quite yet. They're still #4 in delivered cameras world-wide, above even Nikon.

Nothing like looking at things waaaay out of perspective....oh well, I'll just putter on with this camera trashed by so many "reviewers"....

Darnit, I'm STILL trying to find...

all those "washed out" reds...





inability to focus at 504mm:

(from 19 floors up)..







and just general inability to produce sharp images at any focal length...











Yeah, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this little gem....


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Old Apr 5, 2007, 3:54 AM   #15
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From what I've seen so far the reviews on the SP-550 have been pretty good. Dpreview didn't give it as high a grade as the others I've seen, but the review itself sounds good on a number of important points.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olym...50uz/page2.asp


Handling:

"Of all the 'super zoom' compacts I've tried in the last couple of years (which is just about all of them) the SP-550UZ has perhaps the best handling, thanks to the physical shape (including a sizeable thumb grip) and the 'soft touch' finish, which make it comfortable and stable in the hand."

Features:

"Olympus obviously decided that the best approach to its return to the stabilized super zoom market was to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the SP-550UZ, and so as well as that huge zoom there's a real wealth of photographic features on offer here, and it's a challenge to find anything that's been left out."

They also say the IS is good for 2 stops on average, battery life is good and the viewfinder is good, as is the bright LCD.

As for image quality, it looks like it's pretty comparable to the Sony H-5.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olym...0uz/page13.asp
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olym...0uz/page14.asp

One complaint is that (like most every Olympus SP model so far), performance is average at best. It seems it's especially slow for RAW shooting, but RAW isn't even offered by some compettors. The other major niggle seems to be slow autofocus in long light and at the long end of the zoom. Poor custom white balance is another issue raised.

And this is the one "bad" review.

But most of the details are the same as this review:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ol...ew/index.shtml

which concludes:
"While it's not the best ultra zoom on the market, the SP-550 is still a very good one, and certainly worth a look...."

"Though not without its share of flaws, the Olympus SP-550UZ is a very good (though not best-in-class) ultra zoom camera. It offers virtually every feature known to man, though some of them aren't implemented terribly well. Still, if you want a camera with a lot of zoom, and you won't be using custom white balance very often, then it's definitely worth a look."

And the chief negatives listed are virtually the same:

"Poor color accuracy using custom white balance
Slow shot-to-shot times when shooting in RAW format
LCD/EVF tend to "blow out" (bloom) when shooting brightly lit subjects
Sluggish focusing at telephoto end of lens and in low light"

And the details are very much the same on this review with a very high score:
http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/oly...50-results.php

"Positives

Very good to excellent image quality.
18X optical zoom.
Effective CCD stabilization.
Excellent metering.
RAW format.
Complete range of capture modes.
Good viewfinder and monitor.
Compact and light. "

"Negatives
Slight distortion at both ends of the focal length range.
Slight chromatic aberration.
Some hesitancy in the autofocus under low light. "

Honestly this probably isn't a camera I'd buy. I personally would probably prefer something like the Fuji S6000fd for about $175 less. But, there are obviously some tradeoffs there as well, with a zoom only to 300mm rather than 504mm, and with no IS. Those tradoffs are worth it to me, but I don't think I'd shoot much at the long end of that zoom. For someone who wants that reach, the SP-550 might be well worth it.

But, I can't say I'm dissapointed with the reviews, as it sounds as though it's about what I would have expected. Realistically, we're talking about an 18x zoom lens, and 7MP on a 1/2.5" sensor. Image quality seems about as good as you can reasonably expect given those specs.

In short, this is the only zoom of this range on the market. Other than that, aside from the custom white balance issue, which might hopefully be fixable in a firmware update, it sounds like you're getting a typical Olympus camera. Very good ergonomics, handling, and build, and loaded with features. Typical Olympus colors (some like the reds, some don't). Very accurate metering, but not a fast performer and not the quickest to focus in low light either. Is there anything new there?

I think that normally Olympus focus is also very accurate (if a bit slow), so the occaisonal focus issues mentioned by dpreview are a concern, though I'm not sure if anyone else has had that problem yet.

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Old Apr 5, 2007, 9:00 AM   #16
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HarjTT wrote:
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Hi Greg

Looks as if Oly have got the IS working very well. I could never understand why some people (not at Steve's) could never see the benfits of having IS whether in lens or in cam - I sure did when i got my FZ10. Its good to have fast glass but even better when you can have IS with it as well and I wonder how well say the 50-200 or even the 35-100F2 will perform with IS.
People by natureare normally resistant to change so it doesn't surprize me.
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Old Apr 6, 2007, 3:44 PM   #17
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The SP550 suits me very well for a grab-and-go camera when I don't want to drag around the E-500 camera bag.

My early experience with it is that there really are only two negatives about it. The reviews are correct that an EVF really isn't as good as an optical viewfinder. What the reviews do NOT mention is that the front of the lens is not threaded for filters, so no, you can't protect the lens. You can get a black barrel that mounts around the lens and will hold a filter (it is actually designed to mount the accessory telephoto) but that barrel vignettes the image at low focal lengths.

One major positive that also is never mentioned in reviews is that Oly DSLRs allow you to default the camera to a lower contrast. This is almost always a good idea especially in bright sun, so you can capture as much of the luminance range as possible and then dial in the contrast you want in PShop. As far as I can tell the other big name DSLR manufacturers don't allow you to do that. That's just about a show-stopper for me.

I'd buy the SP550 again for what it's intended for - I often don'tneed the back-breaker of my full-system camera bag <grin>.

Ted K.
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Old Apr 6, 2007, 4:57 PM   #18
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Actually....

the front barrel IS threaded, but for a small, almost usless size. Fortuntely for those wanting it, someone has come out with an adapter you can screw into the front threads and mount 52mm filters...

http://www.nextphoto.net/SP550.htm

While this does look to work great, I'm waiting for this tube that will telescope in and out with the lens for protectionthroughout the zoom range. It's supposed to be ready soon and will work as an adaptor for the Olympus Teleconversion lens.

http://www.pemaraal.com/Galileopreview.html


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Old Apr 6, 2007, 6:12 PM   #19
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Greg Chappell wrote:
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Actually....

the front barrel IS threaded, but for a small, almost usless size. Fortuntely for those wanting it, someone has come out with an adapter you can screw into the front threads and mount 52mm filters...
Thanks for that information. Do you know what that thread size is?

Ted K.


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Old Apr 14, 2007, 7:03 AM   #20
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Greg Chappell wrote:
Quote:
Actually....

the front barrel IS threaded, but for a small, almost usless size. Fortuntely for those wanting it, someone has come out with an adapter you can screw into the front threads and mount 52mm filters...

http://www.nextphoto.net/SP550.htm

While this does look to work great, I'm waiting for this tube that will telescope in and out with the lens for protectionthroughout the zoom range. It's supposed to be ready soon and will work as an adaptor for the Olympus Teleconversion lens.

http://www.pemaraal.com/Galileopreview.html

The NextPhoto adapter works exactly as advertised. And as advertised, you can't use the original Olympus lens cap with it. But B&W thin filters come with dust caps which isan OK solution (the B&W filter cap doesn't have a ring to allow attaching it to the neck strap but I can live with that).

Ted K.







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