Recently on ePHOTOzine, we have reviewed the Olympus SZ-10 and Samsung WB700, both cameras with 18x optical optical zoom and both scoring four out of five. Now we take a further look to decide which of these super-zoom cameras is the best.
Olympus SZ-10 vs Samsung WB700 Features
As mentioned, both cameras have an 18x optical zoom lens, with the SZ-10 being a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 504mm and the Samsung being 24 - 432mm. Although the Samsung therefore doesn't have as much reach, it does offer 24x smart zoom which extends it to 576mm. Both cameras also have a similar resolution, with a 14 megapixel sensor found on the SZ-10 and a 14.2 megapixel on the WB700.
Other key differences between the two cameras are 3D shooting, panoramics and a minimum focus distance of just 1cm on the SZ-10, with the Samsung offering full manual controls and ISO up to 3200.
There is very little difference in the size and shape of the cameras, with the SZ-10 being slightly heavier and bigger. The SZ-10 benefits from rubber grips on the front where you place your right fingers, and one on the back for your thumb. Both cameras have easy to use menus and similar buttons. On the SZ-10 the D-pad rotates so you can cycle through menu options quicker but in terms of buttons the clear difference is the mode dial on the WB700.
If you are a regular tripod user, the WB700 has a metal tripod socket placed in the centre of the camera. Both cameras have 3 inch screens and neither presented a problem when viewing in various different lighting conditions.
The continuous shooting modes on both cameras are quite different. The SZ-10 shoots full sized images at about 0.9fps, switching to High-speed 1 yielded 4.9 fps and High-speed 2 gave 10 fps although the image size is limited to 5 and 3 megapixels respectively. The WB700 shoots full size images at 1 fps. If you want more, the camera has motion capture mode, which shoots 5 fps, with the image size restricted to 640 x480, so not ideal for large prints.
Olympus SZ-10 vs Samsung WB700 Performance
At first glance of the images, it is clear that the Olympus SZ-10 offers better colour reproduction, with the Samsung WB700 images looking duller in comparison. View the images at full size and it is very clear the Olympus offers much better detail and the Samsung has more purple fringing. When shooting macros, the Olympus has a minimum focus distance of just 1cm, allowing you to get in much closer than the Samsung, with a minimum focus distance of 3cm.
Wide-angle | 1/160 sec | f/9.3 | 5.0 mm | ISO 64
Wide-angle | 1/250 sec | f/5.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/320 sec | f/4.4 | 90.0 mm | ISO 64
Full optical zoom 18x | 1/250 sec | f/5.8 | 73.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/4 sec | f/3.7 | 11.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/30 sec | f/3.2 | 4.0 mm | ISO 320
The Olympus SZ-10 ISO range starts at 64, with the Samsung WB700's starting at 80. There is more noise evident at these lowest levels on the SZ-10 images. Each camera has ISO 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, and in direct comparison, noise is always better on the WB700. The WB700 has ISO 3200, which produces better looking images than the SZ-10's ISO 1600.
Olympus SZ-10 ISO test images
Samsung WB700 ISO test images
With a wider lens, the Samsung should be more suitable for landscapes, but in landscape mode the Olympus takes pictures which look warmer with brighter colours. The WB700 takes a more flattering portrait picture, with much better skin tones. The two zoom pictures below show the slightly better zoom capabilities of the SZ-10, allowing you to get in closer without using a digital or smart zoom.
Landscape | 1/100 sec | f/9.3 | 5.0 mm | ISO 64
Landscape | 1/250 sec | f/5.2 | 4.0 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/125 sec | f/3.9 | 13.8 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/4.4 | 14.3 mm | ISO 120
Zoom 2 | 1/250 sec | f/4.4 | 90.0 mm | ISO 100
1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 69.3 mm | ISO 80
Zoom 3 | 1/250 sec | f/4.4 | 90.0 mm | ISO 160
1/90 sec | f/5.8 | 73.0 mm | ISO 80
High-speed shooting | 1/500 sec | f/13.4 | 90.0 mm | ISO 1000
Motion capture | 1/180 sec | f/8.3 | 73.0 mm | ISO 160
Both cameras have good white-balance performance, with SZ-10 pictures generally have a magenta cast in the studio test shots, with a green cast in the WB700 images.
When shooting with the WB700 there is the option to use zoom during recording, with no zoom at all when shooting with the SZ-10. Both cameras record at 720p HD.
Olympus SZ-10 vs Samsung WB700 Verdict
When comparing image quality the SZ-10 is the winner here, but you may be swayed by some of the features on the WB700 such as the full manual controls and ISO up to 3200. The SZ-10 has better handling, mainly due to the rubber grips and the price is lower by around £20.00. The Olympus also offers panoramics, 3D image shooting and a minimum focus distance of just 1cm. It's a very close call, but overall the Olympus SZ-10 is the winner.
The Olympus SZ-10 produces better images for a lower price and is therefore declared the winner.
Olympus SZ-10 Pros
Lower price than the WB700
High-speed shooting is faster and at higher resolution
More detail in images
1cm close focusing distance
Samsung WB700 Pros
Optical zoom with sound during video recording
Zoom extended to 24x using Smart Zoom
Full manual controls
ISO up to 3200
Metal tripod socket