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Old Jan 15, 2009, 5:11 PM   #1
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Olympus sp-590 uz - 26-676 (26x zoom)



Any reviews, opinions?

Is this too wide a range in a small package?

How does it compare to

Canon SX1

Fuji S100

Panasonic FZ28

:idea:


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Old May 8, 2009, 11:10 AM   #2
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Hi Gaul
I, too, would like to see some reviews for the SP-590, especially regarding lens quality.

I have travelled the world with my Nikon 8800 and took several thousand pictures in over 30 countries. For me, the camera is the ideal "travel" camera, but does not have a "wide angle" good enough for some shots. The SP-590 appears to be an ideal replacement for the Nikon 8800. although, I will miss the pivoting LCD monitor on the 8800. Will probably keep it for a backup instead of the current Nikon 8700 backup.

Considering the specs on the SP-590, you would think that everybody would be rushing to review it!
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Old May 27, 2009, 7:42 PM   #3
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Well, there is indeed one review of the Olympus SP-590 that has been published. You will find it at www.photographyblog.com. However, there are very, very few photo samples from the Sp-590, that I have been able to find.

There are three cameras that all use almost the same lens, but with a bit less zoom. They are the Kodak Z-980, the Nikon P-90, and the Penta X-70 cameras.

You would think that there would be more data on the internat about the SP-590. BTW, the SP-590 do not support RAW format, while earlier models did support RAW.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 12:08 AM   #4
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Hello, Gaul-
I have both a question and a couple of comments about the Olympus SP-590UZ.
I just spent a vacation week with my new SP-590UZ hoping for good quality shots under various conditions. I was immediately most frustrated by its arbitrary and unexplained defaulting picture resolution (described as "size" in the menu) from its maximum of 12 mpixels down to 5, 3, 2, and even 1 mpixels under various picture settings. I could not find a set of parameters that would produce 12 mpixels shots reliably. It seemed that each time I turned the camera on or changed the mode and looked down at the LCD, I was looking at reduced resolution. This resulted regardless of recording (S, P, A, "Birdwatching"...) or of zoom mode.
Let me be clear. I wanted to get the clearest long zoom pictures possible with the camera. I set everything as I usually have to get that but was presented with a display indicating the max resolution possible was only 3 mpixels -- or 5 or 2 or even 1. No parameter jiggling would change the defaulted resolution. I have looked in the Users Manual but found only a statement that confirms what I observed; sometimes the resolution is maxed out way below 12 mpixels.
Can you explain or have you experienced the camera's apparently automatic resolution reduction?
I own or have used Panasonic FZ-10 and -50, -17 and -28 and Olympus C-2100UZ ultra-zooms. Some of these have reduced resolution choices (or cropping) to get increased zoom powers; but none does so automatically and with no warning. I had hoped the SP-590 would be a lighter and more versatile upgrade (for long range birding) to my FZ-50 (12x) plus 2.2x tele-extender (yielding also 26x). I will do some side-by-side comparisons soon with these two -- and with my C-2100 UZ (10x) plus the 2.2x tele-extender -- but my first week with the SP-590 was very disappointing.
My main comment about the camera is about the back panel LCD display. Over the years I have found the "free angle" rotating LCD's on the FZ-28 and -50 essential for using these cameras at very long zooms (15 power plus) and on tripods.
The lack of this feature on the SP-590 is a crippling gap; it requires a user to position
his/her eyeballs as if the camera were a spotting scope. The viewer's eyeball must be within, say, 30 degrees of boresighted with the lens (vertically and horizontally) and around 16 inches directly behind the LCD. Some of us need reading glasses for the LCD (but need to pocket them to use the EVF). Of course, one hand must shield the display from the sun, while another steers the camera and lens; a third zooms and fumbles with the mode buttons and menu and a fourth triggers the remote shutter release at just the right moment. Being able to optimize the LCD angle between your body position and the sun angle is a very big help and eliminates one essential hand function. While the EVF allows viewing without sun glare on the display, it even more rigidly constrains the photographer's body position. I have found that a free angle rotating LCD display is essential to using such a camera on a tripod, though this use is rarely mentioned in ultra-zoom literature or advertising. For tripod-mounted high zoom shots, this SP-590 LCD configuration is bad news.
In addition, I found the low resolution and smallish LCD screen not very helpful in determining the quality of shots while both composing and reviewing on the spot. It is adequate to frame the subject of a shot but gives me little idea of quality; thus, I get little idea of what picture details should be emphasized by framing/zooming and adjusting DOF, focus and exposure. It is a shame to couple this specialized ultra-zoom lens through a display that is barely better than the one on their 2001-vintage, 1.2 megapixel C-2100UZ - the camera that pioneered this genre.
The small size, inflexibility and low quality of this display are both obsolete and barely useful. I had expected this camera to represent at least the best of current ultra-zoom technology. While the camera does have the common P&S camera features for shooting faces and sports, etc., it should certainly have had a well-integrated and optimized set of features supporting the big lens. Instead, I think it packages a grab bag of dubiously useful and irrelevant digital tricks with an unsupported and, therefore, almost uselessly high-powered lens. Some of its users complain about trying to hand-hold the camera at full 26x zoom and not getting sharp shots. Apparently, they are led to believe there's nothing more to 500+ power magnification than pressing the shutter. I think we deserved a camera whose design, features and documentation are optimized to support heavy-duty zooming. Instead, I think we have gotten a marketer's cheesy attempt to lure suckers into spending $350.
I'd appreciate any insight you have about the resolution reduction (function?).
Thanks.

Last edited by ghopper; Jul 19, 2009 at 3:16 AM.
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Old Jul 19, 2009, 11:32 PM   #5
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Another Olympus SP-590 review had beeen published over at www.dcresource.com.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 11, 2009, 4:32 AM   #6
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I wonder why you ever purchased the SP-590.
The fixed position LCD you should have known of, since the beginning...
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Old Aug 18, 2009, 10:13 PM   #7
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Default Olympus SP-560 Photo Sample

Perhaps with a little effort we can get a small gallery going of photo from the SP-550, 560, 565, and 590 here. We could also swap hints and ideas for getting better photos with our cameras.

This is a photo I took of my husband this evening, using the SP-560, without flash and using just the existing light. The camera was set to P (Programed Auto) on the Mode Selector. If I remember correctly the ISO was set to ISO 400 and the SP-560 selected F 4.5 at 1/13 of a second. The shot was also done hand held as well.

I will now take a second photo using a tripod to see if there is any discernible difference in image quality.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 18, 2009, 10:32 PM   #8
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Default SP-560 Sample Photo with a Tripod

Now here is the same , or at least similar, photo taken using a tripod. I believe that we can fairly say that the image quality was improved by using the tripod.

The SP-560 was was once again set on Programed Auto, the ISO was 400, and the camera selected F4.2 at 1/13th of a second. Notice that the aperture is a bit great (admitting more light) as the light level in our family room were falling.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 9:07 PM   #9
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Well no camera I've seen yet is perfect. They all have pluses and minuses. I have the 560 and love it. Had it a couple years. I also have the E510 and love that too. Neither is perfect but they both take great pics if you take the time to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Here are a couple shots taken with the 560 as Sarah requested. I love the camera for birding. It's not a great BIF camera but for still shots it does a good job in my opinion.
Eric
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 3:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felice View Post
I wonder why you ever purchased the SP-590.
The fixed position LCD you should have known of, since the beginning...
Quote:
I wonder why you ever purchased the SP-590.
The fixed position LCD you should have known of, since the beginning...
I purchased the SP-590 because I was hoping Olympus had optimized its design -- I had used various Oly and Pana super zooms for a long time -- and wanted to get a smaller and lighter camera, and (supposedly) a more powerful zoom lens with updated and improved sensor and processing. I expected that Oly used the fixed back LCD because it wasn't needed -- or even useful -- maybe because they had improved other things. Instead, I found their failure to incorporate a vary-angle LCD was a decision made in spite of the clear superiority of this arrangement -- especially for this ultra-zoom function. So I just reconfirmed my conclusion from past experience -- and my comments here were intended to pass on this insight to anyone else who might think the SP-590 is a new miracle combination of the best ultra-zoom features. It's not. It's a poor set of design trade-offs intended to capitalize on the allure of a huge lens in a small package.
In fact, the more I try to use it, the worse I think it does in comparison to the other, older ultra-zooms I mentioned, mainly the Panasonic FZ-50 and FZ-28.
Although there are now reviews of the SP-590, I have seen no mention of the weird automatic default of resolution down to 5,3,2 or even 1 mpixels when you employ "fine zoom," a menu choice with an impenetrable explanation. It's, apparently, a kind of behind-the-scenes and uncontrollable image crop. Like many features in the camera, it is poorly done and gets in the way, rather than helping you take better pictures.

Last edited by ghopper; Sep 30, 2009 at 3:34 AM.
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