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Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Olympus Stylus SH-50, it has 24x optical zoom and is ideal for travel photography.

| Olympus SH-50 in Compact Cameras


Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Olympus SH-50

The Olympus SH-50 was announced at CES in January 2013. It has a 24x optical zoom lens and multiple-axis image stabilisation for both images and videos. It is available in black, silver and white for £249.99.

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Olympus SH-50

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Features

The Olympus Stylus SH-50 has a 16.8 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and 24x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 25-600mm. To help keep your images as sharp as possible there is 3-axis sensor shift image stabilisation.

There is iAuto mode which automatically adjusts the camera settings for the detected scene. There are also a number of scene modes to choose from as well as manual controls where you adjust the shutter speed and aperture. There are also 11 magic filters including miniature and dramatic. In continuous shooting, the SH-50 is able to record full resolution images at 11.5 fps.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with 5-axis movie stabilisation to counteract blur. The optical zoom is available during recording, you can take pictures during movie recording and you can also record high-speed movies at either 120 or 240 fps.

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Olympus SH-50

Key Features

  • 16.8 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 25-600mm)
  • 3-axis sensor shift image stabilisation
  • 3.0 inch 460k dot resolution OLED touch screen
  • 11 Magic Filters
  • Full 1080p HD 60i/30p HD video recording with Hybrid 5-axis IS
  • ISO 125 - 6400
  • 3cm minimum focusing distance
  • Smart panorama mode
  • 11.5 fps full resolution continuous shooting
  • Available in silver, black and white

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Olympus SH-50

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Handling

The Olympus Stylus SH-50 is small enough to carry in a pocket, but is quite heavy which isn't surprising given it has a 24x optical zoom lens. It has a metal body with a good rubberised grip on the front, although there isn't a particular spot for your thumb to rest on the rear.

The top of the camera has a mode dial, zoom rocker, shutter release and on / off switch. There is also a button which releases the pop-up flash. On the rear are movie record, playback and menus buttons as well as a d-pad with an OK button. The d-pad is used to cycle through the camera menus. The shooting settings are 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.

The 3.0 inch screen has a good resolution of 460k dots making it a pleasure to use when shooting and viewing your images. You're able to set the focus point by pressing the screen - this also releases the shutter.

There is no CIPA rating provided for the battery by Olympus. 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   0.125 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.25 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.65 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.9 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.0 secs
Continuous Shooting - Sequential 1   2.6 fps
Continuous Shooting - Sequential 1 with flash   1.3 fps
Continuous Shooting - Sequential 2   10.6 fps
Continuous Shooting - High-speed 1   19.6 fps
Continuous Shooting - High-speed 2   61.0 fps

The sequential shooting modes all record in full 16.8 megapixel resolution with the high-speed modes restricted to just 3 megapixels.

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Olympus SH-50

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Olympus SH-50 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Portraits have good skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash.

Olympus SH-50 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail in the middle but are softer in the corners. There's a little purple fringing and chromatic aberration in places. With a minimum focusing distance of just 3cm, the camera is capable of taking excellent macro shots.

Olympus SH-50 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low with sharp images produced at ISO 125, 200, 400 and 800. Images become a little soft in places at ISO 1600. Image quality significantly decreases at ISO 3200 and is really poor at ISO 6400.

Olympus SH-50 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) produces an image with an orange cast, with the incandescent preset performing much better. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB takes a decent picture, with the fluorescent preset having a slight magenta cast.

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Standard Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 500
Standard Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 500

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review: Wide Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 125
Wide Panorama | 1/500 sec | f/8.7 | 4.5 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramas have a decent amount of detail although there is a little ghosting in places when they are stitched.

Olympus SH-50 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Above are examples of each of the 11 magic filters available on the SH-50.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD resolution. Quality is excellent and the 5-axis stabilisation ensures recording is steady, even when shooting handheld. You can use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.

Value For Money

The Olympus Stylus SH-50 is available for £249.99. All of the major manufacturers have a travel camera in their range with a similar range of zoom. Options include the Samsung WB800F at £209.99, Nikon Coolpix S9500 at £220.00, Sony Cybershot WX300 at £199.99, Canon PowerShot SX280 HS at £239.67, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ40 at £236.40 and Fujifilm FinePix F900 at £269.00. A lot of the competitor cameras do have built-in Wi-Fi which is lacking on the SH-50.

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-50 Verdict

The Olympus Stylus SH-50 packs a large number of extremely useful features such as manual controls, 11 fps continuous shooting and superb optical image stabilisation. With many other travel cameras that have a similar amount of zoom having Wi-Fi and GPS it may be overlooked, particularly as there are also cheaper travel cameras available. If Wi-Fi and GPS is not what you desire in a camera, then the feature set, decent image quality and excellent body will appeal.


Olympus Stylus SH-50 Review:  
  The Olympus Stylus SH-50 has an excellent set of features in a well-built compact body.

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Pros

Full 1080p HD video recording
3cm close focusing distance is good for macro shots 
Excellent image stabilisation
Full manual controls
11 fps continuous shooting
Solid, well-built metal body
Screen has an excellent resolution
Good detail in panoramas

Olympus Stylus SH-50 Cons

No RAW shooting
No built-in Wi-Fi
Images are soft in the corners


Olympus SH-50 Specifications

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 Size1/2.3 inch
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
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting11.5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPSNo Data
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI-90B Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)No Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI-90B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB-USB8 USB Cable, Hand Strap, Instruction Manual, World Wide Warranty Card, Olympus Viewer 3 Software CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Olympus SH-50


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