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The Olympus SP-620UZ was released in January 2012 as a successor to the SP-610UZ, designed for travelling photographers and featuring a 21x optical zoom lens. The SP-620UZ is available in black and silver for £169.00.
The camera is powered by 4 AA batteries, meaning there is no reason to run out of power when out shooting for the day as you can carry plenty of spares or purchase new ones when out.
For extra creativity there are a range of magic filters available and other features such as Pet Detection and Beauty Modes. With PetMode, you simply point the camera at your cat or dog and the shutter will automatically fire when the animals face is detected. On top of this there is in-camera Panoramas, Intelligent Auto Mode, Advanced Face Detection and AF tracking.
- 16 megapixel CCD sensor
- 21x wide optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-525mm)
- 720p HD movie recording and HDMI Control
- Multi-motion Movie IS
- 3.0 inch 230,000 dot colour LCD screen
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
- Advanced Face Detection and SAT
- iAuto and AF Tracking
- 3D Photo Shooting Mode
- Beauty Mode
- Pet Detection Mode
- In-Camera Panorama
- High-Speed Continuous Shooting
- Scene Modes
- Eye-Fi Card compatibility
On the rear of the camera is the 3 inch LCD screen which is bright and easy to view. There aren't many buttons, with most of the settings being adjusted by the rotating dial and OK button. The rotating dial can also be used as a D-pad. It proved a little sensitive and quite often skips an option too far. Other buttons found are dedicated movie record, playback, menu, help, on/off, shutter release and zoom rocker. From the widest to the longest the lens takes around 2 seconds.
How many shots you get out of the batteries will very much depend on the quality of battery used. The camera has been tested using the four Panasonic AA alkaline batteries supplied. After taking over 300 shots during testing, including a full day around Prague, the batteries are still showing as full on the camera. Having 4x AA batteries makes a significant addition to the cameras weight.
We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.
|Shutter Response||0.1 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.4 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.5 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||3.6 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||3.6 seconds|
Sequential shooting takes pictures at 16 megapixels, with High-speed 1 and High-speed 2 restricted to 5 and 3 megapixels respectively.
Olympus SP-620UZ Lens test images
Wide-angle | 1/800 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/100 sec | f/5.8 | 94.5 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | 1/80 sec | f/5.8 | 94.5 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/13 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 80
The ISO range is 80 - 1600. At the lowest two settings of ISO 80 and 100, there is no noise visible, with a small amount creeping it at ISO 200. Despite a clear increase in noise at ISO 400 and 800 the camera still manages to take sharp images. At the maximum ISO setting of 1600, images have lost sharpness and detail, with this setting best saved for images which are to be resized for use on the web.
Olympus SP-620UZ ISO test images
ISO 80 | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
ISO 100 | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
ISO 200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
ISO 400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
ISO 800 | 1/80 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
ISO 1600 | 1/200 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm
The first two images below have been taken using landscape mode, with good blues and greens produced. Portrait modes takes pictures with pleasant skin tones but when using the flash there is some red-eye. There are also further examples using night scene, sport (to freeze to motion of the water) and documents.
Olympus SP-620UZ Scene modes
Landscape | 1/100 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Landscape with building | 1/160 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/160 sec | f/4.5 | 19.0 mm | ISO 200
Sport | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 19.0 mm | ISO 500
Low light scene | 1/8 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 800
Documents | 1/160 sec | f/4.5 | 19.0 mm | ISO 1000
The following images show the versatility of the SP-620UZ when travelling. It can be used to take portraits, wide scenes and zoom to pick out distance details. The camera also shoots panoramics, which are stitched together in camera.
Olympus SP-620UZ Sample Photos
Outdoor portrait with flash | 1/30 sec | f/3.1 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Low light scene | 1/6 sec | f/3.6 | 8.2 mm | ISO 200
Architecture | 1/60 sec | f/12.6 | 19.0 mm | ISO 100
Buildings | 1/80 sec | f/13.4 | 23.6 mm | ISO 80
Panorama | 1/400 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 640
Generally the auto white-balance does a perfectly acceptable job although under the incandescent lights in our studio the AWB images has a slight magenta tint whereas the incandescent preset performs perfectly. The AWB does the best job over the fluorescent preset under the studio's fluorescent lights.
Olympus SP-620UZ White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/13 sec | f/3.5 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.5 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/3.5 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 0.5 sec | f/3.5 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
The SP620-UZ has eleven magic filters: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Watercolour, Reflection, Miniature and Fragmented with examples below.
Olympus SP-620UZ Digital filters
Magic filter - drawing | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - fish eye | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - fragmented | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - pin hole | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - pop art | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - punk | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - reflection | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - soft focus | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - sparkle | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Magic filter - watercolour | 1/8 sec | f/4.2 | 14.6 mm | ISO 250
Video ModeBelow is a short example video shot at 720p HD. The camera can record with use of the optical zoom, but only when sound is switched off, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Page.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus SP-620UZ is currently priced at £169.00. The market for ultra-zoom cameras is increasing with competition for all budgets. Other cameras to consider are the Fujfilm FinePix S4200 at £164.00, Olympus SZ-14 at £194.00, Pentax Optio VS20 at £199.00, Nikon Coolpix L310 at £199.00, Olympus SZ-30MR at £209.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 at £234.00, Canon PowerShot SX240 HS at £299.00, Olympus SZ-31MR at £299.00, Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR at £329.00, Canon PowerShot SX260 HS at £329.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 at £329.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 at £379.00 and Leica V-Lux 3 at £689.00
|The Olympus SP-620UZ is ideal for those on a budget who want a camera with a versatile zoom lens.|
Olympus SP-620UZ Pros21x optical zoom lens
Magic filters are unique to Olympus
Fast high-speed shooting modes
Decent image quality for the price
Excellent value for money
In-camera panoramic stitching
Olympus SP-620UZ ConsVideo recording is limited to 720p HD
4x AA batteries make camera quite heavy
Rotating dial on back can be fiddly
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus SP-620UZ Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.1 - f/5.8|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 525mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1500sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||4x AA|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||4x AA Batteries, Lens Cap, Hand Strap, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, Instruction Manual, World Wide Warranty Card, [ib] Image Management Software|