The Olympus SZ-14 was released in January 2012 alongside the SZ-11 to expand the Olympus SZ range of cameras and combines a 24x optical zoom lens in a compact body. It is available in red, black and silver for £194.00.
Olympus SZ-14 Features
The SZ-14 features a massive 24x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 25 - 600mm, ideal for shooting both landscapes and close-ups. The camera also has a 14 megapixel sensor and iAuto mode to help take pictures as easily as possible.
The SZ-14 can take panoramic images, 3D photos and has a range of magic filters which make it easy to add creativity to your picture taking. Videos can be shot at 720p HD with Multi-motion Movie Image Stabilisation and allows the magic filters to be applied when shooting movies.
Close-up macro images are possible with a minimum focus distance of just 1cm in Super Macro mode. The SZ-14 can also shoot panoramic images which are then stitched together in-camera.
14 megapixel sensor
24x wide optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-600mm)
720p HD movie recording and HDMI Control
Multi-motion Movie IS
3.0 inch 460,000 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
Pet Detection Mode
Eye-Fi Card compatibility
Olympus SZ-14 Handling
The SZ-14 will fit in most pockets, despite hosting a 24x optical zoom lens. Most of the camera is made from metal, with the rear black part made from plastic. On the front of the camera there is a section which acts as a hand grip, although it isn't rubberised as some cameras are in the SZ range but there is a rubber grip on the back for your right hand thumb.
The menus are easy to navigate with most of the picture settings changed via a menu which appears down the right hand side of the screen. Here you can change the flash, focus mode, self-timer, exposure compensation, white-balance, ISO and number of frames taken. The buttons don't present any problems and the dial on the back works as both a D-pad as well as rotating to cycle through menu options. 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.
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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Sequential shooting takes pictures at 16 megapixels, with High-speed 1 and High-speed 2 restricted to 5 and 3 megapixels respectively.
Olympus SZ-14 Performance
The SZ-14 takes pictures with decent colour reproduction that are well exposed. When viewing the images full size details lacks in shadows and highlights with clear softening in the corners and purple fringing appearing occasionally. With a minimum focusing distance of 3cm the camera is capable of taking an impressive close-up shot.
Olympus SZ-14 Lens test images
Noise doesn't affect image quality at the lower ISO levels of 80 and 100. ISO 200 sees an appearance of noise which is minimal, with noise at ISO 400 causing the images to lose a touch of sharpness. ISO 800 and ISO 1600 have a significant level of noise, with images at ISO 800 maintaining some sharpness and much softer images produced at ISO 1600, which are best resized for use on the web.
Olympus SZ-14 ISO test images
The first two images below have been taken using landscape mode, with good blues and greens produced. Portrait mode 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. The camera also shoots panoramics, which are stitched together in camera.
Olympus SZ-14 Scene modes
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 SZ-14 White-balance test images
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 SZ-14 Digital filters
Below is a short example video shot at 720p HD. The camera can record with use of the optical zoom, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Page.
The Olympus SZ-14 boasts a remarkable amount of optical zoom for a camera which you can carry around in your pocket. Negatives of note are the lack of rubber grip on the front of the camera which is found on other SZ models, movies are restricted to 720p HD and noise is significant at ISO 800 and 1600. Despite this, the SZ-14 has decent image quality and is available for a very reasonable price.
The Olympus SZ-14 is a pocketable compact camera with decent image quality and a fair price tag.
Olympus SZ-14 Pros
24x optical zoom lens
Compact metal body
Magic filters are unique to Olympus
Fast high-speed shooting modes
Decent image quality
In-camera panoramic stitching
Olympus SZ-14 Cons
Video recording is limited to 720p HD
Lots of noise at ISO 800 and 1600
No rubber grip on front of camera