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Olympus Stylus SH-2 Review

Reviewed, the Olympus Stylus SH-2 a compact camera with a 24x optical zoom lens, and classic styling, but with modern features like built in Wi-Fi and a 3inch touch screen.


|  Olympus Stylus SH-2 in Compact Cameras
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (2)

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 is a compact travel zoom camera that offers a 24x optical zoom lens, a 16 megapixel sensor, 3inch touch-screen and built-in Wi-Fi, along with a retro-styled camera body. 5-axis image stabilisation helps keep photos and video steady, and the camera has a number of advanced shooting modes including manual shooting, time-lapse video creation, live view composite shooting, nightscape mode, plus raw shooting. 

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Features

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (3)

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 offers a 24x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-600mm in 35mm terms, f/3.0-6.9 in a pocketable metal and plastic camera body. 5-axis image stabilisation works for stills and video, which will help when using the optical zoom, shooting in low light, or recording video handheld. On the back is a 3inch touch-screen, with a 460,000 dot resolution. 

The camera features classic styling, similar to the Olympus PEN series, as well as the film camera, the Olympus TRIP 35, and as a result looks more interesting than most compact cameras available.

Art filters add creative effects to images, while photo story offers a number of different ways to creatively frame a number of photos.

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (8)

Built-in Wi-Fi connects to the Olympus Image Share app and is available for Android and iOS devices. OI.Share lets you use it with compatible Olympus cameras for remote shooting, image transfer, image editing, and geotagging. 

The camera has iAuto mode to automatically choose the best settings for the scene, and an automatic panoramic shooting mode makes it easy to create panoramic shots in camera. There are a number of scene modes including a Super Macro mode that lets you focus on subjects just 3cm away from the front of the lens. 

The camera has a 1080p Full HD 60p movie mode, as well as time-lapse movie recording. It's also possible to shoot photos while recording video without interrupting movie capture. A fast 240fps High-Speed Movie mode is available, albeit at a reduced resolution.

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (4)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24x optical zoom lens, f/3.0-6.9
  • 5-axis image stabilisation
  • 3inch touch-screen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • FullHD video, 60p, stereo sound
  • ISO125 - ISO6400
  • 3cm macro focus
  • 11.5fps / 16 frames continuous shooting
  • Raw shooting, Live composite shooting, Nightscape mode
  • Available in black or two-tone silver and black (as shown)

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Handling

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (5)

The classic styling of the camera looks very good, some would even say cool, with a solid black band across the middle, and silver metal plates across the top and bottom. Textured black plastic grips on the front and back of the camera may give the camera a stylish look, however they aren't as grippy as rubber and therefore we'd recommend using the provided neck / shoulder strap. The camera has good build quality, although the battery and memory card compartment cover uses quite thin plastic.

You can use the 3inch touch-screen to set the focus position and shoot photos, simply by pressing the screen. However you can't use the touch-screen to select and browse the menu options. The camera has a mode dial on top, along with a small number of buttons and controls, making the camera easy to use. The info button can be used to change what's displayed on the screen and the camera features a dual-axis electronic level.

The screen quality is good, although with 460k dots it is lagging behind some of the competition. 

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (6)

The 4-way pad is used to cycle through the camera menus. The shooting settings are displayed down the right hand side of the screen, with the available options listed dependent on the mode you are in. The rest of the settings are available via the menu button, and there is built-in help in the camera to help explain the options and settings. 

Wi-Fi features - The camera features built-in Wi-Fi and the free Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) app enables easy sharing of files (RAW / JPEG / MOV) with connected smart devices. Geotagging with GPS location information. Remote control of the camera from a smart device lets you set the zoom, self-timer, white balance and exposure (ISO, shutter speed, aperture), shooting and drive modes, AF area, and shutter. You can also edit images with custom signatures, Art Filters, and stamps.

Olympus Stylus SH 2 (7)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 380 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is very good for a compact camera, although extended use of Wi-Fi and flash is likely to reduce the battery life further. 

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.4secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
11.5fps (16 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW N/A


Focus and shutter response are both very quick. After shooting 16 JPEG images, it takes 22 seconds for the camera to write the images to the memory card. 

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos have good colour, and reasonable levels of detail, however detail does tend to drop when using a lot of optical zoom. Exposure is generally reliable, as is focus performance. Portrait photos taken with flash have good colour, although there is some red-eye visible. 

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The camera produces good photos at the wide-angle end of the lens, although some vignetting is visible with clear blue skies. Detail at the telephoto end of the lens isn't great, and noise is visible at times reducing detail. The super macro scene mode lets you focus on objects just 3cm away from the front of the lens, and this gives good macro photos. The 5-axis Sensor shift does a good job to keep the photo steady when composing the shot, which helps with composition. There is some purple fringing, particularly in areas of high contrast, such as in shots of the trees. The lens is quite resistant to flare, unless shooting directly into the sun. Distortion is well controlled with the camera automatically correcting this in camera.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO125 to ISO200, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO400 to ISO800 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO1600 to ISO3200 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding these settings if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO6400 is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well with a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving an accurate result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of scene modes built in, along with "Art Filters" to add creative effects to your images. The backlight HDR scene mode will help recover highlight and shadow photos in images.

Olympus SH 2 Panoramic P7300026 | 1/640 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/3.0 | 4.5 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are good, and well stitched together, with a reasonable resolution image produced, however the metering hasn't beformed brilliantly in the example shown above. 

Video - The camera records FullHD video with stereo sound at 60fps, and used Hybrid sensor shift + digital (5-axis) video stabilisation to produce a steady video even when recording hand-held. Photo in Movie allows simultaneous video recording and photo capture in full resolution without interrupting video recording. Time Lapse Movie compresses up to 5 hours of footage into a 20 second time lapse movie. There are a couple of high speed video mores including 432 x 324 at 240fps, plus a 1280 x 720 / 120fps video mode.

Value For Money

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 is available for £219 which makes it good value for money, although a number of the alternatives feature a 30x optical zoom lens: 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70, 12mp, EVF, Wi-Fi, NFC, £292.
Sony Cyber-shot HX90, 18mp, EVF, tilting screen, Wi-Fi, NFC, £333 
Canon Powershot SX710 HS, 20mp, Wi-Fi, NFC, £259
Sony Cyber-shot HX60, 20mp, Wi-Fi, NFC, £209
Nikon Coolpix S9900, 16mp, vari-angle screen, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, £229

For additional options, have a look at our Top 10 Best Travel Zoom cameras. 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.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Verdict

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 will appeal to those people who are looking for a travel camera that looks more interesting than the usual rectangular black box. The camera has a 3inch touch-screen which should appeal, and the built-in Wi-Fi means you can share images quickly and easily. There are a number of advanced features, including raw shoowing, time-lapse video, manual controls, as well as live composite shooting, making the camera great for anyone that wants to be more adventurous with their photography. However, image quality isn't great at the telephoto end of the lens, and as the ISO setting increases image quality drops. For those that want a camera that can easily share images to Facebook (via your smartphone), and want bright colourful images, then the Olympus Stylus SH-2 looks good, is easy to use, and has some advanced features that make it stand out.

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Pros

Good colour reproduction
2 year warranty
Dual axis electronic level
Good battery life
Effective 5-axis image stabilisation system
3inch touch-screen
Built in Wi-Fi
Live composite shooting
Super macro mode

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Cons

Image quality at the telephoto end disappointing
Competitors offer more zoom in similar size 
Noise reduces image quality

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 looks good and takes photos with good colour reproduction.

 

Olympus Stylus SH-2 Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
Lens
Max Aperturef/3 - f/6.9
35mm equivalent25mm - 600mm
Optical Zoom24x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11.5fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS60p, HS: 432 x 324 / 240fps, 1280 x 720 / 120fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
  • RAW
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI‑92B Lithium‑Ion Battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)380shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI‑92B Rechargeable Lithium‑Ion battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB‑USB8 USB Cable, Shoulder Strap, Warranty Card, Instruction Manual, Olympus Viewer 3 Software CD-ROM
Dimensions
Weight271g
Width108.8mm
Height63.2mm
Depth42.4mm

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Photographs taken using the Olympus Stylus SH-2

Misty ParkBefore the Pills Kick InThen She Was GoneChecking Her EmailsAn Everyday Street SceneThe Tram Stop

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Comments


franken Plus
17 5.1k 4 United Kingdom
11 Aug 2015 1:26PM
No viewfinder is a turn off for me.

Is it possible to review how viewing the screen in bright sunshine is on this one and other reviews in the future?

Ken

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joshwa Plus
9 915 1 United Kingdom
11 Aug 2015 2:46PM
Hi Franken, it's one of the better screens, and looks as though it has an anti-reflective coating on the screen. So isn't too bad, but in very bright sunlight it will probably not be great (as most screens tend to be).
mikesavage 17 299 2 England
15 Aug 2015 3:41PM
One little thing I like about this camera: it has two strap lugs for a neck strap, rather than the usual one for a wrist strap.

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