Olympus SH-21: Affordable long-zoom camera for Europe


posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 at 8:50 PM EDT

The Olympus SH-21 digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp.Olympus Europe announced its new Olympus SH-21 long-zoom camera at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of a number of models that isn't currently slated to be launched in the US market.

The Olympus SH-21 is a 16 megapixel camera with a generous 12.5x optical zoom range in a fairly slim 1.2-inch thick body. The SH-21's sensor is a backside-illuminated CMOS imager, and so should prove better at light gathering than a similar camera with standard sensor. Output is processed by a TruePic III+-branded image processor, and other features include dual image stabilization, a three-inch LCD panel, and 1080p movie capture.

In Europe, the Olympus SH-21 goes on sale this month, priced at around €210. More details are in our Olympus SH-21 preview.

Olympus SH-21
The Olympus SH-21 digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Olympus
Model Number North America: SH-21
Dimensions 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.2 in.
(105 x 59 x 31 mm)
Weight 6.5 oz (184 g)
Planned Availability January 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type CMOS
1/2.3" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
16.80 megapixels (total)
16.00 megapixels (effective)
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4608 x 3456 (15.9 megapixels)
3264 x 2448 (8.0 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
4608 x 2592 (11.9 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 1.6 frames per second for 15 frames
Image Preview / Review
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal
460,000 dots (approx. 153,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom 10.0x max
Lens Type Olympus lens; 9 elements in 8 groups, 4 aspherical and 2 ED elements
12.5x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.2 - 52.5mm (actual)
24 - 300mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.0 or ? (wide) / f/5.9 or ? (tele)
Focusing System Contrast Detection; iESP, Face Detection AF, Spot, AF Tracking, Touch target
Has AF assist lamp
Focusing Range Normal: 4" - 4,081" (10 cm - 9,999 cm)
Macro: 0.4" - 4,081" (1 cm - 9,999 cm)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, High Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/2000 second
Exposure Modes Program
Metering Modes ESP light metering, Spot metering
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1, Custom
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-in, Off
Range: ISO 1600: 0.1 - 6.7 m (Wide); 0.9 - 3.4 m (Tele)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 0.0EV
Scene Modes Scene Modes (Portrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Pet (cat), Pet (dog), Backlight HDR), Magic Filter ( Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle, Water color, Reflection, Miniature), Panorama, Movie, 3D Photos, Hand-held Starlight
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2, 12, Pet Auto seconds
Movie Format AVI (Motion JPEG) with audio
Max. clip length: 1,740 seconds ()
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File Format JPEG
Video High definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other Micro HDMI (Type D), Multi-Terminal (USB Connector, Audio/Video Outpu)
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary LI-50B
Product Bundle
Software OLYMPUS [ib] software
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary LI-50B Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 59.0MB Built-in
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
Notes Dual Image Stabilization, 3-inch Touchscreen LCD, 1080p Full HD Movie, Magic Filters, HDR Backlight Adjustment, Hand-held Starlight Mode, 3D Photo Shooting Mode, High-Speed Continuous Shooting, USB-Battery Charge. Available in gold, black or red.
More Photos
The Olympus SH-21 digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp. Click for a bigger picture!


Press Release

Olympus launches SH-21 Traveller class compact in Europe to follow premiere in Japan

Olympus nails the pocket-sized camera
16-Megapixel CMOS sensor & Touch Panel give SH-21 the edge

Hamburg, 10 January 2012 – Once in a while there comes a product that defines a segment, that ticks all the boxes at an unbeatable price. For pocket-sized cameras, the Olympus SH-21 could well be that product. If you need an inexpensive compact that you can rely on to get a great shot first time, there's no looking beyond this elegant and exceptional all-rounder.

What makes the SH-21 so special?
Rich colours, low picture noise, excellent contrast – the SH-21 is all about tremendous picture quality. The ultra-slim design ensures it never looks out of place at more sophisticated occasions and when you want to be sure to capture a one-off event like a wedding, it's good to know your camera has a 16-Megapixel Backlit CMOS sensor with the high sensitivity to perform in dim-lit interiors. For wide-angle shots, you can call on a high-grade superwide 24-300mm** lens and there's a 12.5x optical zoom for razor-sharp close-ups.

When it comes to recording films, the SH-21 goes one better still. It captures 1080p Full HD movies in the best quality available in a pocket-sized camera today*, and Multi-Motion IS cuts out camera shake even when the user is moving. Even if you know next to nothing about high-end D-SLR-style imaging, the SH-21 makes it all wonderfully easy. Live Guide shows you in real time how fine tuning key settings will make (or break) your picture. Touch Autofocus tracks moving objects you tap on the LCD while Touch Shutter actually takes their picture for you.

The beautiful SH-21 is available in gold, red and black for €209 from early January 2012.

Outstanding features:
Image Quality:

  • 12.5x super wide optical zoom (24-300mm**) for superb close-ups and group shots

  • 16 Megapixel backlit CMOS sensor for high-resolution, superb-quality full-size movies, stills and prints, even in low light

  • 1080p Full HD Movie with sound for capturing movies in the best image quality currently available in compact cameras*

  • Multi-motion Movie IS for capturing Full HD movies with reduced blur while walking

  • TruePic III+ image processor for ideal colour reproduction and low noise

  • Dual Image Stabilisation for reducing blur with fast-moving shots


  • 3" touch-sensitive colour LCD (460,000 dots) for easily framing, reviewing and sharing shots

  • Touch Shutter for focussing on the subject you touch on the LCD and taking the picture automatically

  • Touch AF for focussing automatically on the subject you touch, even if it moves

  • Advanced Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology for capturing people's faces just as you want them

  • HDR Backlight Adjustment for perfectly exposed pictures of inanimate objects even when shooting against the light

  • Handheld Starlight Mode for shooting blur-free at night without a tripod

  • Beauty Mode for hiding unwanted blemishes

  • Intelligent Auto Mode (i-Auto) and AF Tracking for easy setting and focussing

  • Live Guide for easy slide-bar adjustment of key settings in real time, including background blur, colour intensity, colour temperature and brightness

  • Pet Detection Mode for automatically capturing dog's or cat's faces when they look at the camera

  • Scene Mode for automatic settings that suit specific conditions (e.g., Landscape, Night)

  • High-Speed Continuous Shooting for capturing up to seven full-size frames per second

Creativity and Flexibility:

  • Eye-Fi Card compatibility for automatic wireless uploading of images to a website or PC

  • 3D photo shooting mode for striking stills

  • Magic Filters for adding creative effects to HD movies and/or stills: Punk, Pop Art, Pin Hole, Drawing, Fish Eye, Soft Focus, Sparkle (photos only), Watercolour, Reflection and Miniature

  • Smart Panorama for capturing sweeping stills just by panning the camera

  • Photo with Movie Clip for shooting movies while taking still photos

Other key features:

  • Photo surfing and [ib] software for browsing, organising and viewing images by person, place, location or event

  • HDMI technology for controlling your camera from one remote when it's connected to HD equipment

  • ISO 80 to 3200

  • SDHC and SDXC memory card compatible***

  • Built-in flash

  • In-camera manual and help guide

  • USB charging

* As of November 2011.
** 35mm camera equivalent.
*** SD is a trademark of SD Card Association. UHS Speed Class is not supported.