Basic Specifications
Full model name: Olympus Stylus SH-2
Resolution: 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1/2.3 inch
(6.2mm x 4.6mm)
Lens: 24.00x zoom
(25-600mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 125 - 6400
Extended ISO: 125 - 6400
Shutter: 1/2000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.0
Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.7 in.
(109 x 63 x 42 mm)
Weight: 9.6 oz (271 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 04/2015
Manufacturer: Olympus
Full specs: Olympus SH-2 specifications
16.00
Megapixels
24.00x zoom 1/2.3 inch
size sensor
image of Olympus Stylus SH-2
Front side of Olympus SH-2 digital camera Front side of Olympus SH-2 digital camera Front side of Olympus SH-2 digital camera Front side of Olympus SH-2 digital camera Front side of Olympus SH-2 digital camera

Olympus SH-2 Review -- First Impressions

by
Preview posted

In early 2014, Olympus brought its much-praised five-axis image stabilization system to a fixed-lens, compact camera body for the first time with the Stylus SH-1 long-zoom digital camera. A year later, it follows up with the Olympus SH-2, a 16-megapixel, 24x zoom camera that is near-identical to its predecessor -- right down to that handy image stabilization system -- but for a couple of key differences.

Perhaps most importantly, if you're an enthusiast looking for a coat pocket-friendly long-zoom camera that doesn't limit your options too much, is the presence of raw capture as well as the existing JPEG-compressed capture of the earlier camera. (Curiously, though, the Olympus SH-2 still uses automatic focus only, making it the first camera we can remember to allow raw capture without the possibility of manual focus control. You can, however, quickly set the focus position using the touch screen, making manual focus perhaps slightly less important than would otherwise be the case.)

The other main change is visible right on the Mode dial. The SH-1's Hand-held Twilight position on the Mode dial -- indicated using an icon of the moon, a star and a hand -- has been replaced with a new Nightscape position that has a simpler icon of moon and star, but without the hand. This position accesses one of five shooting modes -- Night+Portrait, Night Scene, Fireworks and Hand-held Starlight, which were all found on the earlier camera, as well as a new Night Composite mode.

In other respects, the Olympus SH-2 appears near-indistinguishable from its predecessor. The leatherette texture on the body panels appears slightly different in press images, although this could be a matter of a slightly different rendering -- these images are often created on a computer rather than being true photos of the product in question. The flash range has also been reduced just slightly, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's a new strobe -- Olympus could just have changed how it rates the strobe's range. And early press materials for the Olympus SH-2 suggest that it may no longer include its predecessor's dual-axis electronic level gauge -- we have an enquiry in to the company to confirm this is actually the case, and not just an error on the spec sheet.

Like the SH-1 before it, the SH-2 has an Olympus PEN-like body complete with an aluminum alloy top deck and controls. At its core is a 1/2.3-inch type, backside-illuminated CMOS image sensor whose output is handled by a TruePic VII image processor.

Together, these allow a sensitivity range of ISO 125 to 6,400 equivalents, and swift 11 frames per second burst shooting at full resolution for as many as 16 JPEG frames with focus locked. If you are willing to drop the resolution to just three megapixels, you'll manage even faster: a full second's worth of shooting at 60 fps. If you need autofocus adjustment between frames, though, performance plunges to just 2.5 frames per second, albeit with a generous 200-frame buffer at full resolution.

The Olympus SH-2's sensor sits behind a powerful 24x optical zoom lens identical to that in last year's Olympus SH-1. It provides 35mm-equivalent focal lengths ranging from 25 to 600mm, and has a maximum aperture that starts at from f/3.0 at wide angle, but falls to an understandably-dim f/6.9 by the telephoto position. We say understandably because the lens is pretty compact when folded, with a body depth of just 1.7 inches.

Actual focal lengths are 4.5 to 108mm, and the lens can focus to just 1.2 inches (3cm) at wide angle. When shooting at telephoto, the closest focusing distance is 15.7 inches (40cm). To help combat blur from camera shake, Olympus has included mechnical, sensor shift-type image stabilization -- and just as in the SH-1, it's a five-axis system that corrects for side-to-side roll, front-to-back pitch, vertical and horizontal translation, and roll around the central axis of the lens. A particularly nice touch for video shooters: It works not just for still imaging, but also for movies. There's also a four-mode, popup flash strobe to help illuminate nearby subjects.

On its rear deck, the Olympus SH-2 sports a 3.0-inch, 3:2-aspect LCD monitor with a resolution of 460,000 dots. It's overlaid with a touch-sensitive surface that allows it to be used as an input device, allowing for functions such as touching a specific subject to select it for autofocus.

The SH-2 features a built-in Wi-Fi radio, allowing for quick and simple sharing with your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. As we've seen in a number of past models, Olympus forgoes any additional hardware for quick Wi-Fi connection, simply displaying a QR barcode on the camera's LCD display with which to provide your smart device the information necessary to pair the devices.

Once established, the Wi-Fi connection allows both remote live view, and remote shutter / zoom control. You can also adjust white balance, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, and aperture remotely, select the autofocus area, shooting and drive modes, and enable the self-timer. And although the camera itself lacks any location-aware features, it can piggyback on your phone to geotag images. (Although doing so will increase your phone's battery drain.)

The free Olympus Image Share app is used to control the camera from Android or iOS devices, and you can also transfer JPEG and MOV files using the app, but not AVI files. (That rules out sharing time-lapse or high-speed movies through your phone.)

As well as Program and scene exposure, fully manual exposure is possible, and a middle-ground is provided courtesy of a Live Guide mode that allows exposure adjustment using simple, on-screen sliders. The SH-2 also includes Olympus' Art Filter and Photo Story functions.

Art filters are pretty self-explanatory: they tweak the look of images in a number of creative ways. Choices include Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Dramatic Tone, Fish Eye, Sparkle, Reflection, and Fragmented. The Photo Story function, meanwhile, combines multiple shots in-camera to create one of several collage layouts. The Olympus SH-2 also supports interval shooting, with a time between shots of ten seconds to 60 minutes, and a 99-frame shot limit.

As well as still images, you can also shoot 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels; Full HD) movies at up to 60 frames per second, and these are saved with H.264 compression in a .MOV container. As well as standard movies, the SH-2 also supports high-speed and time-lapse movies. Time-lapse movies can be as long as twenty seconds, and allow you to compress up to five hours of real-world time into a single clip. High-speed movies have a reduced resolution of 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels; HD) or below, but at this resolution you can manage 120 frames per second. At even lower resolution, up to 240fps is possible.

Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types, or in a not-so-generous 37MB of built-in memory. Connectivity includes Type-D Micro HDMI for high-def video output, and a combined multi-connector that allows USB 2.0 High Speed data, DC power input, and standard-def audio/video output. Power comes from an LI-92B rechargeable lithium-ion battery said to be good for 380 shots on a charge, unchanged from the earlier camera.

Available from April 2015, the Olympus SH-2 ships in black or silver versions, but unlike the earlier camera, there's no longer a white option available. List pricing is unchanged from that of the SH-1: The Olympus SH-2 will carry a US$400 list when it ships in the US market.

 

 

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