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The Olympus SP-720UZ was released alongside the SP-620UZ as a camera ideal for travelling. It is available in black and silver for £174.95.
To make picture taking easy there is iAuto mode which automatically adjusts the camera settings dependent on the scene. Other shooting modes available include scene modes, HDR backlight adjustment, pet detection, in-camera panorama, beauty make-up, 3D photo shooting, high-speed continuous shooting, face detection and advanced SAT (Shadow Adjustment Technology). There are also a range of magic filters which can be used on images and videos.
Videos are recorded at full 1080p HD, the SP-720UZ also has HDMI Control.
- 14 megapixel CMOS sensor
- 26x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 26-676mm)
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- 3.0 inch 460,000 dot LCD screen
- High-speed continuous shooting
- 1080p full HD movie and HDMI Control
- ISO 100-3200
- 5cm minimum focusing distance
- HDR backlight adjustment
- In-camera panorama
- Available in black and silver
There are only a few buttons on the camera, there is a mode dial on the top alongside the on/off button, shutter release and zoom rocker. On the rear is menu, d-pad, playback and movie record buttons.
Most of the camera settings are adjusted via a menu which appears along the right hand side of the screen. This does make it a little time consuming to change a setting, but thankfully the menu system is logical and easy to use. The 3 inch LCD screen is bright and clear to see in varying lighting conditions.
There is no CIPA rating provided for the battery, during testing we were able to manage over 600 shots on one charge, impressive stuff! 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||0.125 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.6 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||1.1 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||3.3 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||2.5 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||4.6 seconds|
|Sequential 2||6.3 fps|
|High-speed 1||10 fps|
The sequential shooting modes can record at full 14 megapixel resolution, whereas the high-speed modes are both limited to 5 megapixels.
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Olympus SP-720UZ Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/30 sec | f/4.5 | 19.4 mm | ISO 200
Landscape | 1/200 sec | f/7.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Drive | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Pet | 1/600 sec | f/4.9 | 35.4 mm | ISO 800
Sample Photos - Portraits have superb skin tones and are free of red-eye when shooting with the flash. During testing we found the camera had a tendency to over-expose, so dialled in some exposure compensation. Colour reproduction is impressive.
Olympus SP-720UZ Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/320 sec | f/7.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Full Optical Zoom | 1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 121.2 mm | ISO 100
Digital Zoom | 1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 121.2 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/15 sec | f/3.2 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Detail is good, particularly when shooting wide (4.7mm). There are signs of purple fringing and chromatic aberration in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm which is close enough to allow the SP-720UZ to take a good macro shot.
Olympus SP-720UZ ISO test images
ISO100 | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO200 | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO1600 | 1/250 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO3200 | 1/500 sec | f/4.2 | 13.0 mm
ISO Noise Performance - There's no noise at ISO 100, but at ISO 200 there is, which causes the image to lose sharpness. At ISO 400 some detail is lost, more so at ISO 800. Images are very soft at ISO 1600 and there are black and white dots appearing through the colours when shooting at ISO 3200.
Olympus SP-720UZ White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.6 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.6 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.6 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.6 | 7.2 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - 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.
Panorama | 1/250 sec | f/7.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 125
Panorama mode - Panoramas are taken by the camera stitching together three images. They look decent enough when resized for web use, but when you view them full size there are clear signs where the stitching isn't quite perfect.
Zoom Example 3 | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 121.2 mm | ISO 100
Zoom Example 2 | 1/600 sec | f/5.6 | 121.2 mm | ISO 250
Trees | 1/50 sec | f/3.2 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Landscape With Building | 1/200 sec | f/7.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
The first two images above are further examples using the lens at its longest length, with the first taken using macro mode as well.
Olympus SP-720UZ Digital filters
Magic Filter Dramatic | 1/200 sec | f/7.5 | 4.7 mm | ISO 100
Miniature | 1/600 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 100
Magic Filter Drawing | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Fish Eye | 1/40 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Fragmented | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Pin Hole | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Pop Art | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Punk | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Reflection | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Soft Focus | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Sparkle | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Magic Filter Watercolour | 1/30 sec | f/4.4 | 15.9 mm | ISO 640
Digital Filters - The SP-720UZ has twelve magic filters: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Watercolour, Reflection, Miniature, Fragmented and Dramatic, with examples below.
Video - Below is a short example video shot at 1080p HD. The camera can record with use of the optical zoom an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Page. Image stabilisation struggles to keep the video steady when using the optical zoom.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus SP-720UZ is currently priced at £174.95. There are a whole range of super-zoom cameras available for varying budgets. There is the Olympus SP-620UZ (21x zoom) at £129.00, Olympus SZ-14 (24x zoom) at £149.00, Nikon Coolpix L310 (21x zoom) at £149.00, Nikon Coolpix L810 (26x zoom) at £169.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ48 (24x zoom) at £239.00, Olympus SZ-31MR (24x zoom) at £249.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ62 (24x zoom) at £299.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 (24x zoom) at £364.00, Fujifilm X-S1 (26x zoom) at £479.95 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 (24x zoom) at £539.00.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
|The Olympus SP-720UZ offers decent image quality and plenty of zoom at a reasonable price.|
Olympus SP-720UZ Pros26x optical zoom lens
Images have good colour reproduction
Decent image quality
Excellent battery life
Magic filters are unique to Olympus
Fast high-speed shooting modes
Decent value for money
Comes with lens cap and camera strap
Decent rubber grip
Good portrait shots
Olympus SP-720UZ ConsImages are often over-exposed
Noise is bad from ISO 400
Panorama images have stitching issues
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus SP-720UZ Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.2 - f/5.6|
|35mm equivalent||26mm - 676mm|
|CCD pixels||14Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1300sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 3200|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No Data|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, Lens Cap, Hand Strap, Instruction Manual, World Wide Warranty Card, [ib] Image Management Software|