Top Black Friday Deals For Photographers

Olympus SP-610UZ Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Olympus SP-610UZ, with a massive 22x optical zoom and 16Mp sensor.

|  Olympus SP-610UZ in Compact Cameras
 Add Comment


Olympus SP-610UZ lens extended

The Olympus SP-610UZ was launched in January 2011, joining the range of ultra-zoom compacts in the SP series. It can take close-up and group shots with the 22x optical zoom making it ideal for holidays and sports. The SP-610UZ is available in black for £159.

Olympus SP-610UZ front

Olympus SP-610UZ: Features

The 22x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 28-616mm lens on a 35mm sensor, which can be extended to 88x when used with the 4x digital zoom. The camera has Dual Image Stabilisation to aid taking sharp photos with the 14Mp sensor. The SP-610UZ can shoot 720p HD videos which can be played back on a HDTV.

The camera is powered by 4 AA batteries, meaning there is no reason to run out of power when out shooting for the day.

For extra creativity there are a range of magic filters available and other features such as Pet Detection and Beauty Modes. With Pet Detection, you simply point the camera at your cat or dog and the shutter will automatically fire when the animals face is detected. On top of this there is in-camera Panoramas, Intelligent Auto Mode, Advanced Face Detection and AF tracking.

Olympus SP-610UZ rear

Key features:

  • 22x wide optical zoom (35mm equiv: 28-616mm)
  • Dual Image Stabilisation
  • 3D photo shooting mode
  • 720p HD movies & HDMI
  • 14 Megapixel sensor
  • 3.0in 230,000 dot colour LCD screen
  • In-camera panorama function
  • Pet Detection Mode
  • Intelligent Auto Mode
  • Advanced Face Detection
  • AF tracking
  • Magic Filters
  • Beauty Mode
Olympus SP-610UZ batteries

Olympus SP-610UZ: Handling

  Sequence shooting
17 frames 3Mp 10fps
15 frames 5Mp 4.8fps
3 frames 8Mp 0.9fps
Gripping the SP-610UZ is really easy, mainly thanks to the rubber grip where your right hand holds the camera with a rubber grip placed on the rear of the camera for your thumb. Your left hand also has an easy grip of the lens. The 3in LCD screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions. The camera comes with a connector to attach the lens cap to the camera. This is vital as when the camera is switched on the lens cap just falls off and chances are it'll be easily lost.

The menus are quite easy to navigate although on occasion it was a touch over-sensitive, one press of a button skipped along two stages of the menu. The buttons are all well placed and instead of the d-pad that is typical on cameras, it has a wheel that rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise as well as performing the same function as a d-pad.

How many shots you get out of the batteries will very much depend on the quality of battery used. The cameras has been tested using the four Panasonic batteries supplied. After taking over 400 shots during testing the batteries are still showing as full on the camera.

From shot-to-shot the camera takes between four and five seconds and from switching on is ready to take a shot after two to three seconds. There are three modes of sequence shooting, the camera can shoot 3Mp images at 10fps.

Olympus SP-610UZ top

Olympus SP-610UZ: Performance

The SP-610UZ produces images which are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Using the camera at large optical zoom ranges proves tricky at times and composition can be difficult as minor movement is exaggerated. Thankfully, the camera is quick at focusing, giving a better chance to capture the image and the dual image stabilisation is there to maintain sharpness. AF tracking allows you to set the camera to focus on a continuously moving target and it's very easy to use by following the on-screen instructions.

ISO and noise performance

ISO80 and ISO100 show very little signs of noise which doesn't get much worse at ISO200. Noise is clearly starting to come in at ISO400 but it is not affecting image quality. ISO800 is where the noise really affects the image quality with some detail being lost. At ISO1600 the noise is at a level where you wouldn't use the images for large prints, with large areas of detail affected, but certainly look good for use on the web.

Olympus SP-610UZ ISO80   Olympus SP-610UZ ISO100   Olympus SP-610UZ ISO200
ISO80   ISO100   ISO200
Olympus SP-610UZ ISO400   Olympus SP-610UZ ISO800   Olympus SP-610UZ ISO1600
ISO400   ISO800   ISO1600

Images at both end of the lens retain plenty of detail from edge to edge. Blow the full optical range image below to full size and you can clearly read the sign on the front of the building. There is no sign of any purple fringing or chromatic aberration. The SP-610UZ has two macro modes. Super Macro has a minimum focus distance of 1cm which enables pleasing close-ups to be taken.

Olympus SP-610UZ wide-angle   Olympus SP-610UZ full optical zoom
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/640, f/3.3, 5mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO160, 1/250, f/5.7, 110mm (35mm equivalent: 616mm)
Olympus SP-610UZ full digital zoom   Olympus SP-610UZ macro
Full digital zoom, ISO125, 1/250, f/5.7, 110mm (35mm equivalent: 616mm)   Super macro, ISO160, 1/50, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)

Below are a sample of images shot a large optical zoom ranges. The clock was taken using a tripod. Although it's recommended to use a tripod when zooming in at such a large length, it is not always possible. The images of the swan and pigeon have been taken without the use of a tripod with decent results.

Olympus SP-610UZ 22x optical zoom   Olympus SP-610UZ 17.8x optical zoom 1
22x optical zoom, ISO200, 1/250, f/5.7, 110mm (35mm equivalent: 616mm)   17.8x optical zoom, ISO80, 1/250, f/5.2, 89mm (35mm equivalent: 498mm)

There are a range of scenes available on the SP-610-UZ including Portrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach & Snow and Pet Detection.

The Landscape mode does a really good job at increasing the blues and greens in the image. Pet Detection mode is a bit hit and miss at times but with some persistence it is possible to take some great pet pictures.

Olympus SP-610UZ landscape mode   Olympus SP-610UZ pet detection
Landscape mode, ISO80, 1/125, f/7.3, 5mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm)   Pet detection, ISO200, 1/640, f/3.3, 5mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm)
Olympus SP-610UZ sport mode   Olympus SP-610UZ text mode
Sport mode, ISO125, 1/640, f/4.1, 13mm (35mm equivalent: 73mm)   Text mode, ISO1000, 1/13, f/3.3, 5mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm)

Using the beauty mode produces a mixed bag of results. The indoor portrait with flash below makes the model look like she has had a fake tan applied! Red-eye also appears much worse in one eye than the other. Outdoors without the flash the results are much more pleasing.

Olympus SP-610UZ beauty mode with flash   Olympus SP-610UZ beauty mode no flash
Beauty mode with flash indoors, ISO100, 1/125, f/4.3, 16mm (35mm equivalent: 90mm)   Beauty mode with flash outdoors, ISO80, 1/1250, f/4.6, 30mm (35mm equivalent: 168mm)

The Panoramic mode produced excellent results. The images are stitched together in camera and it is impossible to see where they have been joined.

Olympus SP-610UZ panoramic
Panoramic mode, ISO640, 1/1250, f/7.7, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)


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 SP-610UZ Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting   Olympus SP-610UZ Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting, ISO100, 1/13, f/3.6, 8mm (35mm equivalent: 45mm)   Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting, ISO100, 1/13, f/3.6, 8mm (35mm equivalent: 45mm)
Olympus SP-610UZ Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting   Olympus SP-610UZ Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting, ISO100, 1/2, f/3.6, 8mm (35mm equivalent: 45mm)   Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting, ISO100, 1/3, f/3.6, 8mm (35mm equivalent: 45mm)

Magic filters
The SP610-UZ has eight magic filters: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolour. Below are a few examples.

Olympus SP-610UZ fisheye   Olympus SP-610UZ pin hole   Olympus SP-610UZ punk   Olympus SP-610UZ watercolour
Fisheye, ISO200, 1/15, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)   Pin Hole, ISO200, 1/20, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)   Punk, ISO200, 1/15, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)   Watercolour, ISO640, 1/60, f/3.5, 6mm (35mm equivalent: 34mm)

Video mode

The SP610-UZ records HD at 720p with a maximum length of 29 minutes. There are no time limits when shooting VGA and QVGA although the maximum file size is 4Gb.

Sample video

Value for money

If you are looking for a compact camera with lots of optical zoom, at £159.00 the SP610-UZ is ideal for those who have a limited budget. The Nikon Coolpix L120 has 21x optical zoom, 14.1Mp sensor and is priced at £203.99. Panasonic have the Lumix DMC-FZ45 with 24x optical zoom, 14.1Mp and costs £269.00. If you require even more zoom, the Olympus SP800-UZ has a 30x optical zoom lens, 14Mp sensor and is priced at £218.99. With a massive 36x optical zoom lens, the Nikon Coolpix P500 will set you back £342.99.

If the SP610-UZ is still a bit out of your price range, the Fujifilm FinePix S1800 has an 18x optical zoom with 12Mp sensor and costs £136.99. There are other 18x optical zoom cameras, such as the Nikon Coolpix S9100 at £244.99 and Olympus SZ-10 at £189.00.

Olympus SP-610UZ: Verdict

A compact camera with this amount of optical zoom takes some practice to get the best results. If it's more than the average amount of zoom you are looking for in a compact camera then the SP-610UZ offers excellent value for money. Although it's not going to fit in your pocket the camera is quite small considering the amount of zoom. The beauty mode used with flash gives bizarre results and some of the magic filters will probably be overlooked by some users, but the camera is armed with Super Macro modes and creates Panoramic images in-cameras, which is extremely good.

Olympus SP-610UZ: Pros

22x optical zoom
Value for money
Good LCD screen
Super Macro mode
In-camera Panoramic stitching

Olympus SP-610UZ: Cons

Beauty mode with flash is poor
Some of the magic filters are a bit strange


Olympus SP-610UZ: Specification

Price £159
Optical zoom 22x optical zoom, 5-110mm, (35mm equiv: 28-616mm), f/3.3-5.7
Resolution 14Mp
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4288 x 3216
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing method TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection
Focus modes iESP, Face Detection AF, Spot, AF Tracking
Focus distance 1cm
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO64 - 1600
Metering modes ESP light metering, Spot metering, Centre weighted metering
Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV / 1/3 steps
Shutter speed range 1/2 - 1/2000 s / < 4 s (Night scene)
Frames-per-second 10 fps / 17 frames (in 3MP mode)
4.8 fps / 15 frames (in 5MP mode)
0.92 fps / 3 frames (in 8MP mode)
Image stabilisation Dual Image Stabilisation
Movie mode 720p HD, VGA & QVGA (Note: maximum file size 4Gb)
Monitor 3in TFT LCD screen, 230,000 dots
Media type SD / SDHC / SDXC
Interface USB 2.0, HDMI, A/V Cable
Power AA batteries Alkaline or Ni-MH (CR-V3 not compliant)
Box Contents 4x AA Batteries
Lens Cap
CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable
Instruction Manual
World Wide Warranty Card
Image Management Software
Size 107.4 x 72.6 x 73.2mm
Weight 405g (including battery and memory card)

The Olympus SP-610UZ costs £159 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Olympus SP-610UZ

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK

It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Photographs taken using the Olympus Olympus SP-610UZ

Multiple MinisDusty EveningThe Royal Albert BridgeUntitled

Other articles you might find interesting...

Sony ZV-1 Review
Fujfilm X100V Full Review
Nikon Coolpix P950 Review
Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Review
Top 18 Best Cameras For Kids 2020
Full-Frame 47mp Leica Q2 Monochrom Announced
Top Kids Camera: VTech Introduce Kidizoom Studio Camera
Canon Powershot ZOOM Announced With 100-400mm Zoom


27 Mar 2012 10:39AM
i want to buy a new camera but i don't know which is the best i'm just a little bit confused between olympus SZ-10 & SP610UZ
so i want your advice & i will appreciate your quick response with full details... please .
my email is :

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.