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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.
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
- Beauty Mode
- Pet Detection Mode
- In-Camera Panorama
- Scene Modes
- Eye-Fi Card compatibility
- USB-Battery Charge
- Metal body
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.
|Shutter Response||0.1 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.4 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.75 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.8 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||5.9 seconds|
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 Lens test images
Wide-angle | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Full optical zoom | 1/50 sec | f/6.9 | 108.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital zoom | 1/60 sec | f/6.9 | 108.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/8 sec | f/4.4 | 11.9 mm | ISO 80
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
ISO 80 | 1/8 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO 100 | 1/10 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO 200 | 1/20 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO 400 | 1/40 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO 800 | 1/80 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO 1600 | 1/160 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
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
Landscape | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Landscape with building | 1/160 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/100 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 100
Sport | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Night scene | 1/4 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 200
Documents | 1/40 sec | f/5.2 | 20.9 mm | ISO 200
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
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.7 | 7.3 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/15 sec | f/3.7 | 7.3 mm | ISO 100
AWB preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.7 | 7.3 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent preset - fluorescent lighting | 1/4 sec | f/3.7 | 7.3 mm | ISO 100
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
Magic filter - drawing | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - fish eye | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - fragemented | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - pin hole | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - pop art | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - punk | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - reflection | 1/8 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - soft focus | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - sparkle | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Magic filter - watercolour | 1/6 sec | f/4.9 | 17.3 mm | ISO 200
Video ModeBelow 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.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus SZ-14 is currently priced at £194.00. The market for ultra-zoom cameras is increasing with competition for all budgets. Other cameras to consider are the Fujfilm FinePix S4200 at £164.00, Olympus SP-620UZ at £169.00, Pentax Optio VS20 at £199.00, Nikon Coolpix L310 at £199.00, Olympus SZ-30MR at £209.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 at £234.00, Canon PowerShot SX240 HS at £299.00, Olympus SZ-31MR at £299.00, Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR at £329.00, Canon PowerShot SX260 HS at £329.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 at £329.00, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 at £379.00 and Leica V-Lux 3 at £689.00.
|The Olympus SZ-14 is a pocketable compact camera with decent image quality and a fair price tag.|
Olympus SZ-14 Pros24x 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 ConsVideo recording is limited to 720p HD
Lots of noise at ISO 800 and 1600
No rubber grip on front of camera
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus SZ-14 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3 - f/6.9|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 600mm|
|CCD pixels||14Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||6.16mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||4.62mm|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/700sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1600|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|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|