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Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Review

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Review - We review the Olympus Stylus SP-100EE - an ultra zoom camera with a 50x optical zoom lens and an innovative dot-sight.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Olympus Stylus SP100EE
Price : £299
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (2)
The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE features a 50x optical zoom lens, 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, 3inch screen, electronic viewfinder and full HD video recording. The camera is the first to feature a new "Dot Sight Framing Assist" feature that helps aim the camera at the target. There is also a focus limit button that can help in keeping what you want in focus.

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Features

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (3)
The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE features a 50x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation that is equivalent to 24-1200mm in 35mm terms. There's also a 3inch screen on the back as well as an electronic viewfinder with dioptre correction to help you compose shots accurately. The camera offers 7fps continuous shooting, as well as full HD video recording at 60fps with stereo sound and optical zoom available.

A common problem with many ultra zoom bridge cameras is that while they offer an impressive optical zoom, it is often difficult to keep the subject in the frame particularly if they are moving. Often if you lose the subject, you then have to zoom out again before you can locate it, and then zoom in again to get the shot, this can cause you to miss the shot completely. However, Olympus has introduced a new technology called "Dot Sight" that is usually associated with a sight on a rifle, this lets you track an object through the optical "Dot Sight" viewfinder meaning you can make sure your subject is in the centre of the shot. The dot sight feature can also be used for tracking objects when recording video, and there is a focus lock / focus limit button on the side of the camera.

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (5)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
  • 50x optical zoom lens, 24-1200mm equivalent, f/2.9-6.5
  • Lens-shift optical image stabilisation
  • 3inch, 460k dot screen
  • Electronic viewfinder (EVF), 920k dots
  • Dot-sight framing assist
  • Full HD video, 60p
  • Focus limit button
  • Fast AF auto-focus system
  • 7fps / 6 frames (Full Image Size)
  • 1cm macro mode
  • Art filters

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Handling

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (9)
The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE has a solid plastic body, with a large hand grip surrounded in rubber, and along with the large rubber thumb grip on the back, it makes it easy to hold the camera securely. There is a rubber ring around the lens barrel further enhancing grip when holding the camera with two hands. Build quality is generally good, although the battery and memory card cover feels a little flimsy, although this shouldn't be too much of a problem as the battery is charged in the camera. The tripod socket is plastic, which shouldn't be a problem, as long as care is taken when using the camera on a tripod. 

On top of the camera is a mode dial and command wheel to quickly change settings, this defaults to exposure compensation in P (Program) mode. A function (fn) button can be customised to give quick access to your favourite settings. You can use the side zoom rocker control on the side of the lens for smoother (slower) zooming in and out, compared to the zoom control surrounding the shutter release button. You can also hold the AF lock button and you can set the focus limit to off, close distance, or far distance to aid quicker focus.

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (6) Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (7)
Optical view Dot sight


The screen looks reasonably good, with a 460k dot resolution, although it isn't a gapless design, which means you do see reflections on the screen at times. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fairly small, and contrast is quite low, with lower colour saturation when compared to the rear screen. Unfortunately the electronic viewfinder does not feature eye-detection, so in order to switch to the EVF from the screen and vice versa, you have to press a button next to it. The EVF is reasonably comfortable with a rubber eye-surround making it good whether you wear glasses or not. The cross hairs in the "Dot Sight" viewfinder work to target your subject, and this works extremely well when using full optical zoom or nearly full optical zoom.

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (8)
Menus – To change settings you can use the 4-way controller, and the middle OK button, and this will bring up a number of common settings on the rear screen. To adjust more advanced settings you simply press the menu button and the options are spread over a number of screens, and there is built-in help that explains each option making the camera easy to use without having to refer to the manual. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 330 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is good considering how small the battery is although it has a 1350mAh rating which is quite good. Charging is performed using the USB cable and AC adapter with the battery in the camera. 

Olympus Stylus SP 100EE (12)
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.5secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.0secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
7fps (6 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A


Focus speed is good, particularly when shooting at the wide end of the lens, with a quick shutter response. Shot to shot time is also good, and the camera can shoot at 7fps at full resolution for 6 shots. The camera will also shoot at 2.5fps for 200 shots at full resolution, or until the memory card is full. 

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Olympus Stylus SP100EE Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Images have good colour with reliable exposure, although detail can seem a little low at times, when viewing images at full resolution. Portrait photos taken with flash show no red-eye, and good colour. 

Olympus Stylus SP100EE Lens test images


Lens Performance - Shooting wide-angle resulted in images being softer on the left hand side of the image, and softer into the corners. Detail was also slightly lacking, compared to other 16 megapixel cameras. Images were soft at the telephoto end when using the full optical zoom. The camera controls barrel and pincushion distortion well, although chromatic aberrations and purple fringing were visible at times. 

The camera lets you focus on subjects just 1cm away from the front of the lens, although using the Super Macro mode means you can't use the optical zoom while on this setting, and you will need to be careful that the lens doesn't stop light getting to the subject. 

Olympus Stylus SP100EE ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO125 to ISO200, as images have low levels of noise and reasonable levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO400 to ISO800 still provides reasonable results, although noise increases and detail is reduced, with images becoming soft. At ISO1600 noise reduction becomes quite strong, although result may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO6400 is best avoided as noise is at its highest with low levels of detail. 

Olympus Stylus SP100EE White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a slightly warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving an accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast. 

Panoramic 1 | 1/1600 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 125Panoramic 1 | 1/1600 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 125

Panoramic 2 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 125Panoramic 2 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.2 | 4.3 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, although with a fairly low resolution image produced.

Olympus Stylus SP100EE Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a number of colour options, digital effects, as well as seven art filters built in that can help give you some creative shots, as shown above. There is an HDR shooting mode, that improves dynamic range, although produced a much less detailed image. Dynamic range can also be enhanced using the built in shadow adjustment technology.

Video - Tha camera features Hybrid lens shift + digital (5-axis) image stabilisation for recording video at 1080p, and 60fps, with stereo sound and optical zoom. The lens is relatively quiet when using the optical zoom while recording, but is still picked up by the internal mics.

 

Value For Money

The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE is available for £299 which makes it good value for money, and is priced competitively against the following cameras:

Sony Cyber-shot HX400v, 50x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, GPS, £369
Canon Powershot SX50 HS, 50x optical zoom, Raw, £319
Fujifilm FinePix S1, 50x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £369
Nikon Coolpix P600, 60x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £329
Panasonic Lumix FZ72, 60x optical zoom, £269
Samsung WB2200F, 60x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £359

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.

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Verdict

The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE offers a 50x optical zoom lens, a high-speed 16 megapixel sensor, a 3inch screen, an electronic viewfinder, and particularly useful when using the full optical zoom, has a new and unique feature to help you track your subject, called "Dot Sight". Dot Sight offers an effective optical viewfinder and targeting system when shooting distant subjects at full or near full optical zoom, and is a great addition to the ultra zoom camera. FullHD video recording is included at 60fps and the 5-axis hybrid image stabilisation will help keep your videos as steady as possible. The camera is well designed with a good level of grip and a number of external controls, in addition it is also good value for money. The only area where we would have liked to see better results is in the image quality department, as images are soft, particularly when using a lot of optical zoom. However, images have good colour and reliable exposure, so for sharing images on-line this may not be too concerning. 


 
  The Olympus Stylus SP-100EE offers a 50x optical zoom lens and an innovative Dot-Sight to make sure your photos are on target. 

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Pros

1080p video at 60fps
5-axis Hybrid image stabilisation
2 year warranty
Dot sight makes tracking distant subjects easy
Good rubber hand grip and ergonomics
Good value for money

Olympus Stylus SP-100EE Cons

A lot of the competitors offer Wi-Fi
Soft images when using a lot of optical zoom
Soft corners and some purple fringing

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  


Olympus Stylus SP100EE Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
Lens
Max Aperturef/2.9 - f/6.3
35mm equivalent24mm - 1200mm
Optical Zoom50x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1700sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS60p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiNo
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI‑92B Lithium‑Ion Battery
CIPA Rating330
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI‑92B Rechargeable Lithium‑Ion battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB‑USB8 USB Cable, Neck strap, Instruction Manual, World Wide Warranty Card, Olympus Viewer 3 Software CD-ROM, Lens Cap
Dimensions
Weight589g
Width121.2mm
Height91.3mm
Depth133.2mm

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Stylus SP100EE

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Comments


25 Jun 2014 9:52AM
I get the feeling 15 year old kids who play a lot of CALL OF DUTY will get their mums to buy them this.... ;P

interesting though

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themak 1 156 Scotland
25 Jun 2014 2:46PM
How does this rate 4 stars? The IQ varies between diabolical and poor - overprocessed at best. The wide shot of the house looks like some smeared painting effect with terrible blurring and distortion. The Coolpix P600 reviewed at 4.5 stars and it's images are infinitely better than this thing.
25 Jun 2014 5:50PM
Sure that Olympus really make so much noise for nothing. Yeah Really the dot sight and the dot sight only are a interesting feature but that's all because the really important things are poor! The lens and the sensor, Actually my Smartphone can take better shots than this camera.
Recommended? I don't think so.
lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
26 Jun 2014 3:34PM
A 24-1200mm equivalent zoom! I'd say this is a zoom for the man for whom too much is not enough Smile

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