Review posted for Olympus SP-310|
(Monday, April 24, 2006 - 18:20 EDT)
The 7.1-megapixel, 3x-zoom Olympus SP-310 is an excellent performer where it counts: printed image quality.
It has a wealth of features in a surprisingly compact body; and though it's not the most attractive design (in our eyes, anyway) you'll start to like it right away when you shoot with it. Featuring a full range of exposure control, in addition to 24 preset Scene modes, the SP-310 caters to a large audience. Novices will appreciate the availability of pure point-and-shoot operation, while more experienced users will enjoy the option of full manual exposure control.
A large 2.5-inch LCD monitor provides accurate framing, and a great place to view pictures, with a real-image optical viewfinder available to save battery power, a feature disappearing from most digicams with a large LCD. Though the camera's Auto white balance setting tends toward a warmer color cast, overall color is generally pretty good, and exposure is usually about right. (It does tend to produce contrasty images under harsh lighting though.)
Though the slow shutter lag numbers could have been better, the printed image quality of the Olympus SP-310 really surprised us, and it's an excellent bargain at the roughly $250 street price it's selling for as of this review date in mid-April, 2006. Even at high ISO, its images were usable at larger print sizes than most competing models.
For the traveler or hobbyist photographer looking for a small capable camera that has impressive output, the Olympus SP-310 is a clear Dave's Pick. If you want a very similar camera but with even better high-ISO print quality and a hot-shoe flash mount (a real rarity in consumer digital cameras these days), check out the Olympus SP-350, the SP-310's "big brother." Read our Olympus SP-310 review for all the details!