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The Olympus SZ-31MR is a digital compact camera, designed for travellers, with a 24x optical zoom lens and 16 megapixel sensor. It is available in silver and black for £264.95.
Shooting modes available are iAuto, 17 scene modes (including Handheld Starlight, 3D Photo and Pet Detection), Beauty, Panorama, Magic Filters and Multi-recording. There are also various high-speed continuous shooting modes.
Videos are recorded at full 1080p HD, with optical zoom available and Movie IS to reduce shake. The SZ-31MR can also take pictures at the same time as movie recording, as well as take a photo with a movie clip.
- 16 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
- 24x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 25-600mm)
- Dual Image Stabilisation
- 3.0 inch 920,000 dot touch panel LCD screen
- Smart Panorama
- 1080 full HD movie recording and HDMI Control
- ISO 80-6400
- 3cm minimum focusing distance
- Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
- HDR Backlight Adjustment
- Available in brown and black
You can set the focus point of the camera using the touchscreen, with Live Guide also available which allows you to change colour saturation, brightness, and image colour (warm to cold). There aren't many other buttons on the camera, with a rotating d-pad and a dedicated movie record button on the rear and mode dial on the top.
The LCD screen is bright and clear to see in most lighting conditions. Olympus haven't provided a CIPA rating for the battery, but during testing we were able to take over 400 shots. We tested the cameras 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, so that consistent results were produced.
|Shutter Response||0.125 seconds|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.35 seconds|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.5 seconds|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.4 seconds|
|Shot to Shot (without flash)||1.8 seconds|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||2.0 seconds|
|Sequential shooting 1
|Sequential shooting 2||7.3 fps|
Both sequential shooting modes record at full 16 megapixel resolution, with the high-speed modes recording at 3 megapixels, although the camera takes a little time to process the pictures.
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Olympus SZ-31MR Sample Photos
Landscape | 1/125 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/40 sec | f/4.2 | 10.8 mm | ISO 400
Sport | 1/500 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm | ISO 320
Pet | 1/500 sec | f/4.2 | 10.8 mm | ISO 500
Sample Photos - In landscape mode, the camera is capable of excellent colour reproduction, with superb blues and greens. Portraits are free of red-eye when using the flash but skin-tones aren't the best. Sport mode has been used to gain a fast shutter speed to capture the water drops. The last example was taken using pet detection mode, which automatically activates the shutter when a pets face is detected.
Olympus SZ-31MR Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/1000 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Full Optical Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/6.9 | 108.0 mm | ISO 250
Digital Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/6.9 | 108.0 mm | ISO 200
Macro | 1/13 sec | f/4.4 | 11.9 mm | ISO 80
Lens Performance - The SZ-31MR delivers well exposed images, with excellent colour reproduction and purple fringing barely noticeable. Detail is good in the centre of the images, but they are much softer in the corners. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 3cm, which allows you to get close enough to take a decent macro shot with plenty of detail.
Olympus SZ-31MR ISO test images
ISO80 | 1/6 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO100 | 1/8 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO200 | 1/20 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO400 | 1/40 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO800 | 1/80 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO1600 | 1/160 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO3200 | 1/320 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO6400 | 1/640 sec | f/4.8 | 15.8 mm
ISO Noise Performance - Images are free of noise at ISO 80, with a very slight amount appearing at ISO 100, with a little more at ISO 200, then ISO 400. ISO 800 causes images to become slightly softer with small amounts of detail being lost. This loss of detail and sharpness continues through ISO 1600 and IS 3200. There is lots of detail lost at ISO 6400, with a very soft image produced. This highest ISO setting is best avoided, unless your images are to be resized for sharing on the web.
Olympus SZ-31MR White-balance test images
AWB preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 sec | f/3.7 | 7.3 mm | ISO 100
Incandescent preset - incandescent lighting | 1/20 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
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent studio lights, the AWB preset has a slight orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking the better image. This is reversed under the fluorescent lights, with the AWB preset taking a good image, with the fluorescent preset having a very slight cast.
180 Panorama | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
360 Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 100
Panorama mode - The SZ-31MR takes good panoramas, although if you view them at full size you can see some ghosting on occassion where the images haven't aligned perfectly.
Olympus SZ-31MR Other sample images
Landscape With Building | 1/1000 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Zoom Example | 1/640 sec | f/4.2 | 10.8 mm | ISO 80
Documents | 1/20 sec | f/3.5 | 6.2 mm | ISO 800
Olympus SZ-31MR Digital filters
Magic Filter Pop Art | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Pin Hole | 1/40 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Fish Eye | 1/40 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Drawing | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Soft Focus | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Punk | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Sparkle | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Watercolor | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Reflection | 1/80 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Miniature | 1/160 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 80
Magic Filter Fragmented | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 13.1 mm | ISO 800
Magic Filter Dramatic | 1/125 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 80
Digital Filters - As you'd expect to see on an Olympus compact, there are a range of magic filters available to take some creative pictures, the dramatic filter is particularly impressive, particularly on a cloudy day.
Video - Below is a video shot at full 1080p HD with stereo sound. Optical zoom is available during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus SZ-31MR is available for £264.95. Other cameras with a similar feature set include the Pentax Optio VS20 (£164, 20x zoom, 16 megapixels), Nikon Coolpix L310 (£199, 21x zoom, 14 megapixels), Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (£266, 20x zoom, 12.1 megapixels), Fujifilm FinePix F770 EXR (£279, 20x zoom 16 megapixels), Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 (£300, 20x zoom, 14 megapixels) and Sony Cybershot HX20V (£379, 20x zoom, 18.2 megapixels).
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.
|The Olympus SZ-31MR packs plenty of zoom into a compact body, making it and ideal camera for travel photography.
Olympus SZ-31MR ProsLots of zoom in compact body
Easy to grip
Full 1080p video recording
Decent battery life
Fast high-speed shooting
Focus point can be set via the touch screen
Excellent colour reproduction
Olympus SZ-31MR ConsImages are soft in corners and edges
Portraits aren't the best
No rubber grip on the front
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus SZ-31MR Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3 - f/6.9|
|35mm equivalent||25mm - 600mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1700sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||4sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 6400|
|Video FPS||No Data|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery|
|CIPA Rating||No Data|
|Box Contents||LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, CB-USB6 USB Cable, CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable, Hand Strap, Image Management Software|