Olympus SP-570 UZ Review

 
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Olympus SP-570 UZ Optics

Updated 10/06/08: Incorrect filename used for original wide angle distortion measurement.

Lens

Zoom
An impressive 20x optical zoom lens with good overall performance. Better than average results from the 5x digital zoom.

26mm 520mm 5x Digital Zoom

The Olympus SP-570 UZ (Ultra Zoom) offers an impressive 20x optical zoom range, equivalent to a 26-520mm zoom on a 35mm camera. Performance at full wide angle is pretty good, though with some blurring and pincushion distortion in the corners (notice the trash cans in the lower right of the full-res shot) and a small amount of coma distortion visible at the top of the frame. At full telephoto, detail is very good throughout the frame, particularly in the green leaves, with a small amount of blurring and some visible chromatic aberration. The camera's 5x digital zoom performs well also, with a lot of fine detail preserved despite the digital enlargement.

Macro
About average performance in the normal macro mode, though a very tiny minimum area in Super mode. Flash had trouble up close, however.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash Super Macro

The Olympus SP-570 UZ's Super Macro setting captured a very tiny minimum area of 1.04 x 0.78 inches (27 x 20 millimeters). (The normal macro mode captured a minimum area of 3.46 x 2.60 inches or 88 x 66 millimeters.) Detail and resolution were very good in both shots, though with some blurring in the corners of the frame. Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode, but this softening starts way out in the corners, rather than further in the frame, as most such cameras do. In Super Macro mode, chromatic aberration is also a little more prevalent in the details of the dollar bill. The SP-570 UZ's flash had trouble throttling down for the normal macro area, however, and was also partially blocked by the lens, resulting in an uneven exposure. Plan on using external lighting for any macro shots with the Olympus SP-570 UZ.

Distortion
Strong geometric distortion at wide angle and telephoto lens settings.

Barrel distortion at 26mm is 1.0%
Pincushion at 520mm is 0.6%

The Olympus SP-570 UZ produced about 1.0% barrel distortion at wide angle, and about 0.6% pincushion distortion full telephoto lens settings. These numbers are quite high, but unfortunately not unusual for a wide angle lens with such a range. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
High levels of bright distortion at both wide angle and telephoto.

Wide: High and bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: High,
top right @ 200%
Tele: High and very bright,
top left @200%
Tele: Very bright,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is quite high at wide angle and telephoto, showing significant coloration on either side of the target lines. At both zoom settings, the distortion is quite bright. At both zoom settings, it appears that some blurring in the corners of the frame is intensifying the effect. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Mild blurring in the corners of the frame at both zoom settings.

Wide: Soft in the
corners (lower left).
Wide: Sharper at center.
Tele: Very soft in the
corners (upper right)
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Olympus SP-570 UZ produced mildly soft corners of the frame at full wide angle and telephoto, compared to center. Blurring was a little stronger at the telephoto setting, though only mildly noticeable in resulting images. Chromatic aberration has a more dramatic effect than does softening.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the electronic viewfinder and the LCD monitor.

26mm eq., EVF 520mm eq., EVF
26mm eq., LCD 520mm eq., LCD

The Olympus SP-570 UZ's electronic viewfinder showed about 103% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 98% at telephoto. The camera's LCD monitor produced nearly identical results. Good performance here, though framing is a tad loose at wide angle.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Olympus SP-570 UltraZoom Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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