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Olympus SP-810UZ Compact Digital Camera Review

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Category: Compact Cameras
Product: Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom
Price: £205.86
Rating: 3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5

Olympus SP-810UZ Compact Digital Camera Review - The Olympus SP-810UZ is a compact digital camera with a massive 36x optical zoom. Available for less than 200, it appears at first glance to be quite a bargain, Daniel Bell finds out if it is.

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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus SP-810UZ Lens Extended

The Olympus SP-810UZ was released in the Summer of 2011 as a replacement to the SP-800UZ, boosting the zoom from 30x to 36x. The SP-810UZ is available in black and silver for £189.00

Olympus SP-810UZ Front

Olympus SP-810UZ Features

The Olympus SP-810UZ is quite an uncomplicated camera with just a few key features. It is an ideal compact camera for travelling, with its 36x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 24 - 864mm, great for both landscapes and zoomed in close-ups. There is a 14 megapixel sensor with image stabilisation to keep images as blur free as possible. To make picture taking as easy as possible there is iAuto mode as well as a range of scene modes, 10 magic filters, panoramas, 3D shooting, super macro and 4 continuous shooting modes.

Olympus SP-810UZ Top

Key Features

  • 36x wide optical zoom (35mm equiv: 24 - 864mm)
  • 720p HD movie recording with sound
  • 14 megapixel sensor
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • 3inch colour LCD screen in 16:9 format (230,000 dots)
  • Advanced Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology
  • Beauty Mode
  • Intelligent Auto Mode (i-Auto)
  • AF Tracking
  • Pet Detection Mode
  • Scene Modes
  • 3D photo shooting mode for striking stills
  • Eye-Fi Card compatibility
  • 10 Magic Filters
  • In-camera Panorama
  • HDMI technology
  • SDHC and SDXC memory card compatible
  • Built-in flash
  • In-camera manual
  • USB charging
Olympus SP-810UZ Rear

Olympus SP-810UZ Handling

The SP-810UZ is mostly made of plastic and has a very compact, light body considering the amount of zoom on offer, making it easy to carry around in a small camera bag, or even a large coat pocket. The flash doesn't rise automatically, you need to flip it up by hand when required. Olympus have made the camera really easy to grip, with a rubber grip for your right hand and a grooved area around the lens barrel for your left hand.

The camera doesn't have many buttons, with most of the settings changed via the menu system which appears down the right hand of the screen, as per most of Olympus' compact cameras. The menus system is easy to navigate, and makes it clear which settings can be changed dependent of which mode you are in. This will make it more time consuming than if you have a dedicated button on the camera body. The buttons which are on the camera include movie record, playback, menu, rotating dial, OK, shutter release and zoom rocker.

Olympus haven't provided a CIPA rating for the camera's battery but it was charged before testing and was not needed to be recharged. 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   0.55 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.75 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.1 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.5 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.8 seconds
Sequential shooting
  0.7 fps
High-speed 1
  5 fps
High-speed 2
  16 fps
High-speed 3
  28.6 fps

Sequential shooting records at full-sized 14 megapixel resolution, with high-speed 1, 2 and 3 shooting a 5, 3 and 2 megapixels respectively. When using the lens towards its longest length, the camera does have a problem with focus hunting, meaning you can be waiting a little while for the camera to focus after having pressed the shutter.

Olympus SP-810UZ Battery And Memory Card

Olympus SP-810UZ Performance

Images produced have a good amount of detail whether shooting wide or with the lens at its longest, although they are softer in the corners. There is purple fringing from time to time, but apart from that, pictures are well exposed with pleasing colour reproduction. The camera can take a decent macro image, but the minimum focusing distance of 5cm makes it hard to get really close to your subject.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom Lens test images

Wide Angle | 1/400 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100

Wide Angle | 1/400 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Full Optical Zoom | 1/100 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 100

Full Optical Zoom | 1/100 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Digital Zoom | 1/160 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 100

Digital Zoom | 1/160 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Macro | 1/30 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64

Macro | 1/30 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
High-Res


Images at ISO 64 are unaffected by noise, with ISO 100 only having a slightest hint appearing. Noise steadily increases through ISO 200 and 400 with images remaining sharp. Again, noise increases at ISO 800 which is causing images to become softer, with ISO 1600 producing plenty of noise and reducing sharpness quite significantly. Even at the higher ISO settings, colour reproduction remains good.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom ISO test images

ISO64 | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO64 | 1/10 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res

ISO100 | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO100 | 1/15 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res

ISO200 | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO200 | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res

ISO400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO400 | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res

ISO800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO800 | 1/100 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res

ISO1600 | 1/250 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm

ISO1600 | 1/250 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm
High-Res


Landscape mode takes pictures with good blues and greens. Portraits are free of red-eye but skin colour does give a slight tanned look when using the flash. Sport mode has been used to gain a fast shutter speed to capture the movement of the water.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom Scene modes

Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64

Landscape | 1/640 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
High-Res

Landscape With Building | 1/800 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64

Landscape With Building | 1/800 sec | f/2.9 | 4.3 mm | ISO 64
High-Res

Portrait | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 200

Portrait | 1/30 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 200
High-Res

Sport | 1/800 sec | f/4.3 | 16.2 mm | ISO 500

Sport | 1/800 sec | f/4.3 | 16.2 mm | ISO 500
High-Res


The SP-810UZ takes a decent panorama picture, with good exposure throughout and very little signs of where images have been stitched together.

Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/7.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 500
Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/7.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 500

Below there are a couple more test images using large amounts of optical zoom.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom Sample Photos

Zoom Example 1 | 1/400 sec | f/5.0 | 109.0 mm | ISO 64

Zoom Example 1 | 1/400 sec | f/5.0 | 109.0 mm | ISO 64
High-Res

Zoom Example 2 | 1/500 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 64

Zoom Example 2 | 1/500 sec | f/5.7 | 154.8 mm | ISO 64
High-Res


When using the auto white-balance (AWB) setting under both the fluorescent and incandescent lights there is a green cast in the image. Under the incandescent lighting the preset performs well, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta cast under the fluorescent lighting.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom White-balance test images

AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100

AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100

Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100

AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/5 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/6 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100

Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/6 sec | f/3.6 | 7.8 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


The SP-810UZ has a number of magic filters, some of which can be used during video recording.

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom Digital filters

Magic Filter Drawing | 1/40 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 500

Magic Filter Drawing | 1/40 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 500
High-Res

Magic Filter - Fish Eye | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 800

Magic Filter - Fish Eye | 1/50 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 800
High-Res

Magic Filter - Pin Hole | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Pin Hole | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Pop Art | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Pop Art | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Punk | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Punk | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Reflection | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Reflection | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Soft Focus | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Soft Focus | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Sparkle | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400

Magic Filter - Sparkle | 1/25 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

Magic Filter - Watercolour | 1/40 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 640

Magic Filter - Watercolour | 1/40 sec | f/4.2 | 13.7 mm | ISO 640
High-Res


Video Mode

Below is a test video shot at 720p HD. During recording the SP-810UZ allows the use of optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.



Value For Money

The Olympus SP-810UZ is currently priced at £189.00. Other cameras with similar levels of optical zoom are the Nikon Coolpix P500 (36x) at £229.98 and Canon PowerShot SX40 HS (35x) at £359.00. The P500 has now been updated to the P510, which has 42x optical zoom and is priced at £399.00. With slightly less zoom are the Fujifilm FinePix HS20 EXR (30x) at £234.95, Sony DSC-HX100V (30x) at £339.00 and Fujifilm FinePix S4500 (30x) at £199.00.

Olympus SP-810UZ Verdict

If you are in the market for a compact camera with a large amount of zoom, the SP-810UZ is one of only a few options available. Where this camera beats the competition is its price. Yes, it means that you aren't going to get the same image quality as you will from the more expensive options, but even so, the SP-810UZ does take a pretty decent shot. Overall, the Olympus SP-810UZ is a versatile camera, easy to carry and is a good choice for those on a budget.

Olympus SP-810UZ Pros

Good value for money
Decent image quality
Massive optical zoom range
Fast hi-speed shooting

Olympus SP-810UZ Cons

Minimum focus distance of just 5cm
AWB wayward under our studio lights
Focusing can be a little slugglish when using lots of optical zoom

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Olympus SP-810UZ Ultra Zoom Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
Lens
Max Aperture f/2.9 - f/5.7
35mm equivalent 24mm - 864mm
Optical Zoom 36x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels 14Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W) 4288
Pixels (H) 3216
Sensor Type CCD
Sensor Size No Data
Sensor Size (width) No Data
Sensor Size (height) No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor 3in
Screen resolution 230,000 dots
Touch Screen No
Focusing
Min Focus 5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest 1/850sec
Shutter speeds longest 4sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • A
Metering
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity 80 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp +/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting No Data
Video
Movie mode Yes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS No Data
Stereo Sound No
Optical Zoom with Video Yes
Other Features
Image Stabilisation Yes
Interface
HDMI Yes
USB USB 2
Wi-Fi No
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery Type LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
CIPA Rating No Data
Box Contents
Box Contents LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, Hand Strap, Instruction Manual, World Wide Warranty Card, [ib] Image Management Software
Dimensions
Weight 413g
Width 105.9mm
Height 75.9mm
Depth 73.5mm

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