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Old Jul 3, 2008, 8:10 PM   #11
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An honest answer Sarah is the canon S5 will give you much better out of the camera shots as will the fz 18. That said what I do with the 560 is adjust the sharpness and contrast in camera and I also set it up in macro to make the camera think it's doing something it isn't. Here is where the difference comes from, I use a tripod, I don't care how great the image stablizer says it is, 18 or 20x is almost impossible to keep from blurring or focusing on without one. The next thing and is big is with the 560 you need to sharpen just a bit with the camedia software or a photoshop program, I have CS2. The 560 is soft at full zoom and there is nothing that changes that even an in camera adjustment, you will need to tweak it. This is why I say if you are willing to take the time you can get good IQ but you don't need to spend as much time with say the canon S5 or others. The 570 has kicked it up a notch and has much sharper shots without having to do in camera or software adjustment. As you know having one the fz 18 is also pretty good in the IQ range. The key is to take a well focused image and learn how to use the camera you have to the best ability it has. I just want a good sharp pic and don't care who the manufacturer is. I like canon, oly, pany, and fuji's but I have the 560 because I'm used to the Oly menus and my last camera was a 765C which was great.
Eric
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Old Jul 3, 2008, 8:59 PM   #12
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That's a great answer, Eric-

Thank you very much.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Jul 4, 2008, 10:06 AM   #13
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You're welcome Sarah. Many people swear by the aperature mode or shutter priority but I use manual. The reason is I set the aperature and I can toggle the shutter up or down to adjust the light without having to look at what I'm doing. I don't use the LCD monitor always the electronic eyepiece as I've found that focus on the screen does not always relate to focus when you download. Using the electronic viewfinder seems to relate to better focusing especially on closer subjects. Both the 550 and the 560 are soft at full zoom, whether this is a lense or internal issue I'm not technical enough to know but can be overcome by minimal tweaking. I use the tcon 1.7 a lot with it especially on backyard birds and I can't say enough about the quality of that lense. With so many teleconvertor horror stories out there it was a relief to get one that was real quality with minimal to no loss in resolution or quality of the shot. I wish now I had bought the 570 but I'm satisfied with the 560 and will wait for the next advancement before buying again. I'm really hoping that someone will come out with a 2/3 sensor bridge camera with a 20x optical zoom. The f100S is a start in the right direction but not quite there. Of course if they do that then it will put a dampener on the dslr market : )
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Old Jul 4, 2008, 10:28 AM   #14
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here are some sample pictures with sp550 and what it can do with its nice 28-504mm lens..



this rabbit keeps eating all day long...





this is a baby robin, parents occasionaly come over and kick him out of his branch to teach him how fly.



a macro shot, not the best what this camera can do but just a sample.



and a HDR macro shot, no tripod was used thanks to the image stabilization on this camera.



here was testing the $20 wide conversion lens i got for the camera. there is some chromatic aberation on the corners but still much better then any other no name conversion lens (only olympus and panasonic conversion lenses get better then this)




















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Old Jul 4, 2008, 10:49 AM   #15
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ok so after these sample shots with the olympus sp-550, here is what i think about the camera (this is turning into a mini review of the camera)

i'll start with cons.

this camera has horrible colors i've seen with the rest of olympus cameras with the exception of dslr's.

not all the colors are bad but olymus fe/sp series hates red color, as a result ur reds turn into pink, oranges into brown.FE series have horrible lenses as well butSP series at least have very very decent lenses if not amazing. most review sites will talk a little about colors of olympus but one that do will also talk about the horrible red issues. (its not about the white balance of the camera. the camera itself plain out hates color red).



second issue with the camera is its iso performance. no matter what review sites say, only iso50-100 and 200 is usable, even iso200 shows alot of noise and u lose incredible amount if detail. iso400 on the camera gets so annoying that u mostly try to avoid it. iso800 is only emergancy iso on this camera, that you can only use if you want to prove an event held place. but nothing serious. iso1600-3200-5000 are practicaly there for marketing.



third issue speed. now here i am sure there has been some improvements with sp570 i only used it in the store for20 minutes annoying the sales guys. but sp550 is one of the slowest cameras u can see, its auto focusing takes forever and with wrong predictions and makes you half/press the shutter button over and over and over and over untill u auto focus on what you want. u can chose are focusing which will improve the focusing time a tiny bit but then u'll lose the time saved while ur trying to align the focusing box over the subject. MF is also an option but this i find a joke especially olympus approaches this. it needs alot of getting used to, u manualy focus on ur subject with an image enlarged in the original image and using up down buttons, the enlarged part of the original image is interpolated image with tons of zig zags etc. so you pretty much dont even have a clue if you really focused properly or not untill again u half/press your shutter and see the entire picture. And all these things i've wrote up here makes you absolutely miss the moment. so u'll have to rely on the AF and hope it focuses on what u want. here back to SP-570, they added a focus ring to make it feel like dslr, but its still a motorized unit, so u turn the ring and a motor responds a second later by zooming in and out. (hope u get what i mean) so its not any faster then doing it by a button, and its even more annoying then using a button as it responds with a delay (it makes you think u didnt twist it and makes u twist it more but then software on the camera moves the lens 2 times from its buffer remembering u twisted the thing 2 times etc. etc.) and MF function is equaly annoying in sp570 as sp550



fourth is speed again, both sp570 i tried in the store and sp550 i'm using are super slow in terms of reading and writing form their memory, partialy because of xd cards speed issues (even the H type XD cards have one of the slowest read/write speeds among other memory types). so shot to shot times are incredibly long with this camera even at burst modes (which uses high isos and makes most images useless anyway)



oh well thats about it for now.

now i'm gonna write another post to write whats good about this camera and hopefully that will help you a little bit to decide.






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Old Jul 4, 2008, 10:49 AM   #16
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ok now here are pros about this camera.

incredible lens yes just as advertised by olympus: sp550-560-570 all have incredible lenses 28-504 for sp550 and 26-520mm for sp570 this is as good as it gets on an extended zoom camera, with briliant result compared to their range. it almost covers an entire range of photography especially if you get conversion lenses with it.



very decent image quality: while its sharpness and colors cant match say canon or some sony models SP series still have outstanding results as you can see from my sample shots. mind you some images up there needed some sharpening, so u either do it on the camera (increase sharpness and saturation settings on the camera which i dont recommend) or use a Post processing software on your computer. the second option i find gives better results as the on camera processing options are too aggresive.



dirt cheap accessories: this camera has almost the best accessories list available to an extended zoom and they are so very cheap and best of it they work. I got myself a full set of filters including UV/PL color filters for $14 and a shutter release cable for $8 a wide/tele conversion lens with adapter tubes for $20 each. (only stay away from 3x tele conversion lenses i'd rather stack lenses instead)



functions found on dslrs: this camera has almost any setting u can find on a dslr, like manual focusing (not very practical) to super high shutter speeds, 15seconds to 8 minutes on bulb settings so u can capture even pictures of lightnings. and rare events. from super sensitive iso options to 15/20 frames per second burst rates. even somewhat ok for high speed photography. u can also take RAW images to edit them on photoshop which alot of the times will give you brilliant results. and also



cameras design: this is really completely up to you but i find sp series one of the most comfortable camera to hold in hand, its weight is incredibly balanced a little on the heavier side which helps you reduce shake etc. incredibly durable construction i dropped my camera already 2 times and both were from a decent hight. (i didnt drop them on purpose of course) one was from a 1.5 meter tripod and i kicked the camera by mistake while trying to catch it. and it didnt even had a scratch on it after both falls. also i would like to add great button positioning for both sp550 and 570, very easy to access any button even with one hand while holding the camera. canon s5is has one of the worst build materials i've ever seen on a camera (well thats my optinion u dont have to agree with this last one).



image stabilization: IS on this camera is unmatched i dont care about the "DUAL IS" as the second image stabilization is all about increasing iso hand bumping up the shutter speed (read previous post for iso issues on this camera). but the sensor shift image stabilization on this camera is absolutely out of this world almost making a tripod unnecessary. if you are using a tripod make sure you disable IS on the camera as it unpredictably shifts the image to top left or right.



oh well here you go i hope this will help a little deciding on what u wanna get next. i'll edit these posts later if i remember more stuff about the camera that i forgot to mention.
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Old Jul 4, 2008, 11:03 AM   #17
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Dear Eric. I am a new member and purchased the 570uz about 1 week ago. It replaces my Olympus 4040 which I like very much and have taken over 250k photos with it. HOWEVER, I just cannot get the auto focus to (a) focus quickly enough; and (b) accurately. Is there any way one could set the autofocus to "infinity" or simply turn it off? I think that I could have better luck focusing manually and get my shots set up with a tripod on a certain object at a certain distance away?

Thank you,

Malcolm

mbrownjr

July 4
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Old Jul 4, 2008, 11:07 AM   #18
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July 4

Dear Whiskey:

I note that you are online, and I wonder if you know how to set the Olympus 570 utz on manual focus or infinity?

Thanks for your comments that I have read today.

Malcolm
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Old Jul 4, 2008, 11:16 AM   #19
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to set olympus sp550/60/70 uz cameras to infinity on MF (or lower then 30cm) u need to disable some functions like digital zoom/fine zoom options

(also make sure the dial is set to M (where you can chose the shutter speed and aperture manualy)



then you should be able to pust the focus all the way up to infinity
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Old Jul 4, 2008, 2:04 PM   #20
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July 4

Dear Whiskey:

I tried your suggestions and the autofocus would not stop. I turned off fulltime autofocus, went to spot focus, and the focus still worked. In the autofocus mode, you have only buttons, zoom ring, and dial function. There is no "off". If only I could disengage the autofocus and somehow use the manual, that would be great;however, I think that the lens combinations during zooming are complicated and have to be corrected. If you go to macro 2, you see a number of changes from telephone to normal lens retraction.

Thus, we are still at a loss here. Any other suggestions would be most helpful. I DID check adding digital magnificaion to its max over the optical mag of 20 x and this worked exceedingly well. In fact, I can see the individual wires of my chicken wire fence at 50 feet! To get this you have to use ASA 64 and F8.0 for the best optics. Of course, a tripod is needed, but it is pretty nice.

By the way, at optimal optical magnification at 20X the depth of field at f8 is only about +- 6inches, no matter what! Have you found this situation?

Looking for more of your very helpful coments and those of anyone else out there that may know certainly more than I, about this interesting camera.

Malcolm

July 4.
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