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Olympus SP-620UZ Overview

Posted: 01/11/2012

The Olympus SP-620UZ is based around a 1/2.3"-type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of 14 megapixels, coupled to a 21x optical zoom lens, with output handled by a TruePic III+-branded image processor. Maximum image dimensions are 4,288 x 3,216 pixels. The SP620UZ's lens offers actual focal lengths ranging from 4.5 to 94.5mm, which would equate to the same range as a 35mm camera with everything from a generous 25mm wide angle to a whopping 525mm telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/3.0 to f/5.8 across the zoom range. For a zoom lens with this much reach, it's absolutely vital to have some form of mechanical image stabilization with which to prevent blur from camera shake, and Olympus doesn't disappoint, including a sensor shift system. This also offers a higher-strength Multi-motion IS mode available only for movie capture, which is powerful enough to stabilize motion from walking. There's no optical or electronic viewfinder, though, with all interaction taking place at arm's length courtesy of a 3.0" LCD display with 230,000 dots of resolution. (This translates to roughly a QVGA array of 320 x 240 pixels, with each pixel comprising separate red, green, and blue-colored dots.)

The SP-620UZ uses a iESP Auto contrast detection autofocusing by default, with the ability to switch to spot AF if desired. An AF assist illuminator is included, helping the camera to focus on nearby objects in difficult lighting conditions. Both AF tracking and face detection functions are also included. Sensitivity ranges from a minimum of ISO 80 to a maximum of ISO 1,600 equivalent. Exposures are metered with Digital ESP metering by default, and a spot metering mode is also available.  2.0EV of exposure compensation is available, in 1/3EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/1,500 to four seconds. Six white balance settings are provided, including automatic, four presets, and a Manual setting. As well as Intelligent Auto and Program modes, the Olympus SP-610 offers a selection of 15 scene modes -- Portrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night Scene, Night + Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Sunset, Fire Works, Cuisine, Documents, Beach & Snow, Pet (Cat), and Pet (Dog) -- that provide a modicum of control over the look of images. There are also a variety of Magic Filter functions applicable both to still image and movie recording. These include three new additions -- Reflection, Miniature, and Fragmented -- in addition to the existing Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, and Water Color filters seen in past models. A 3D Photo mode captures two images from slightly differing angles, and combines the result into an image suitable for viewing on 3D-capable displays.

The Olympus SP620UZ stores images in JPEG format, and is also able to record movies at high-definition 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) resolution or below, using MPEG-4 compression. No full-resolution spec is available, but one can surmise that the SP620UZ's burst shooting rate is quite modest from the fact that even at a reduced eight megapixel rating, the camera is limited to just three sequential frames at 0.92 frames per second. Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types, but not the higher-speed UHS cards. There's also a reasonably generous 59MB of built-in memory. Support is included for Eye-Fi's wireless-capable SD card products. Connectivity options include both USB 2.0 High Speed data, composite standard definition video output, and Type-D HDMI high definition video output. The HDMI connection includes HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronic Control) support, allowing certain playback functions to be controlled directly from an attached display's remote control unit. Power comes courtesy of standard AA batteries, but no information was available on battery life at press time.

The Olympus SP-620UZ ships from January 2012 in the US market, priced at around US$200. In Europe, we understand that the SP-620UZ will ship from mid-January 2012, with pricing of about €190. Body colors in both markets are silver and black.