Olympus SP-720: New Ultrazoom digicam offers 26x zoom


posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 12:17 AM EST

Olympus' SP-720UZ digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp.Launching a slew of camera models that--while they debuted alongside the Consumer Electronics Show--aren't slated for US availability, Olympus Europe launched the Olympus SP-720UZ.

Closely related to the SP-620UZ, one of the models being alongside which it was announced that will be shipping in the US, the SP-720UZ differs from the other camera in several important ways. Its image sensor is a slightly lower-res but much faster 14 megapixel CMOS chip, capable of shooting at seven frames per second for as many as eight frames. It also has a more powerful 26x optical zoom lens, and can manage Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) movie capture. Finally, the SP-720UZ offers one extra Magic Filter called 'Dramatic', and includes an HDR mode, although it isn't currently clear if this is multi-shot or simply an HDR effect.

The Olympus SP-720UZ ships in Europe from late March 2012, priced at €249. More details can be found in our Olympus SP-720UZ preview.

Olympus SP-720UZ
Olympus' SP-720UZ digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Mid-Sized
Manufacturer Olympus
Model Number North America: SP-720UZ
Dimensions 4.2 x 2.9 x 2.9 in.
(107 x 73 x 73 mm)
Weight 14.3 oz (405 g)
Planned Availability March 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type CCD
1/2.3" (approx. 0.43 in. diagonal)
14.40 megapixels (total)
14.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
Image Dimensions 4288 x 3216 (13.8 megapixels)
4288 x 2416 (10.4 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)
Capture Speed Continuous: 7.0 frames per second for 8 frames
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal
460,000 dots (approx. 153,000 pixels)
Playback Zoom 10.0x max
Lens Type Olympus lens; 13 Lenses in 10 Groups, 4 Aspherical and 3 ED elements
26x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 4.7 - 121.2mm (actual)
26 - 676mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.2 (wide) / f/5.6 (tele) - ???
Focusing System Contrast Detection; iESP, Face Detection AF, Spot, AF Tracking
Has AF assist lamp
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - infinity (30 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.0"
ISO Sensitivity Auto, High Auto,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/1300 second
Exposure Modes Program
Metering Modes Digital ESP Metering, Spot Metering
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1, Custom (2)
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off
Range: 0.3 - 2.1 m (ISO 100) 8.5 m (ISO 1600); 1.6 - 2.5 m (ISO 400) 4.9 m (ISO 1600)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 0.0EV
Scene Modes Scene Modes (Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, 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, Fragmented, Dramatic), Panorama, Movie, 3D Photos, Beauty & Make-up
Digital Zoom Up to 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2, 12, Pet Auto Shutter seconds
Movie Format QuickTime Motion JPEG with audio
Max. clip length: 1,740 seconds ()
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (EXIF 2.3)
Video High definition: Yes (HDMI)
Standard definition: Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other DC input, Combined AV/USB, Micro (Type D) HDMI
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary LI-50B
Product Bundle
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary LI-50B Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 59.0MB Internal
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control No
Notes Dual Image Stabilization, Full HD 1080p Movies, Magic Filters, HDR Backlight Adjustment, AF Tracking, 3D Photo Shooting, In-Camera Panorama, High Speed Continuous Shooting. Available in black or silver.
More Photos
Olympus' SP-720UZ digital camera. Photo provided by Olympus Corp. Click for a bigger picture!


Press Release

Olympus lets its zooms do the talking

New UZ duo promise another decade of dominance

Hamburg, 10 January 2012 – An Olympus Ultra Zoom 'Traveller' camera wears its class on its sleeve – there's no mistaking the huge optical zoom lens on the front, nor the extraordinary character and quality of the images it delivers. That's what makes the new SP-620UZ and SP-720UZ Travellers the cameras of choice for anyone with the ambition to step up from a pint-sized point-and-shoot to a powerful, great-value, go-anywhere compact that can capture genuinely challenging shots. Both offer impressive wide-angle capability for shooting landscapes, interiors and crowds. But it's the extreme telephoto potential that really stands out. Notwithstanding its super-slim, compact design, the SP- 620UZ comes with a 21x optical zoom while the top-of-the-range SP-720UZ delivers fully 26x magnification. That gives you the flexibility to zoom in and capture the expressive energy of wildlife, competitive sports and other unapproachable subjects without having to carry interchangeable lenses. The outstanding optics are matched by some of Olympus' very best automatic aids and components, including Multi-Motion Movie IS (on the SP-620UZ) and HDR Backlight Adjustment (on the SP-720UZ) that achieves perfect exposure when you're shooting against the light. The SP-720UZ is available from late March for €249. The SP-620UZ goes on sale for €189 in mid-January. Both cameras come in silver or black.

Performance to be proud of
More than ten years ago, with its first SP Ultra Zoom (UZ) camera, Olympus laid down a marker for first-class specifications, versatility and sheer telephoto performance. On the evidence of the latest editions to the Traveller family, in this specialist segment they remain the cameras to beat. The powerful optics are all the more impressive given the modest dimensions. In fact, they take up most of the camera, especially on the SP-620UZ, which is incredibly slender and light for a camera of this zoom potential. It comes equipped with a 21x wide-angle optical zoom lens (25-525mm*) while the SP-720UZ has a spectacular 26x wide-angle optical zoom (26-676mm*). In addition to close-quarter wide angles, expansive panoramas and nose-to-nose close-ups, these lenses give you the flexibility to experiment with intermediate zoom settings – from portraits to still lifes and holiday movies in Full HD (720p HD on the SP-620UZ). Image quality is excellent on both cameras, thanks in part to the 14-Megapixel CMOS sensor on the SP-720UZ and a 16-Megapixel CCD on the SP-620UZ. You can look forward to radiant colours, low noise and razor-sharp edges. Blur is conspicuous only by its absence.

Assistants you can trust
Olympus' Traveller Series has a history of ingenious electronic aids and the latest generation is again packed with technical wizardry. Like Multi-Motion IS on the SP-620UZ which cuts out camera shake even when the user is moving, allowing you to record movies in the best quality available in a compact camera today**. Another unique feature is HDR Backlight Adjustment (on the SP-720UZ) that captures the scene just as you see it, no matter if you're shooting against the light. Instead of recording just one shot, it takes multiple images very quickly at different exposure settings then creates a collage of ideally exposed photos, blended seamlessly into one perfect shot.

With a host of creative Magic Filters, Olympus again steals a march on the competition. Unlike most rival filters, the majority of these spectacular effects can be applied to movies as well as still photos. Eye-Fi card compatibility, 3D photo shooting and a 3" LCD are just some of the other features that make it simple to capture and share stills and HD movies with outstanding character and quality.

The SP-720UZ is available from late March 2012 for €249. The SP-620UZ costs €189 and comes out two months earlier.

Outstanding features:
Image Quality:

  • 26x wide angle optical zoom lens with 26-676mm* for superb close-ups and group shots (SP-620UZ: 21x wide angle optical zoom with 25-525mm*)

  • 14 Megapixel CMOS sensor for high-resolution, superb-quality full-size movies, stills and prints, even in low light (SP-620UZ: 16 Megapixel CCD sensor)

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

  • 1080p Full HD Movie with sound for capturing movies in the best image quality currently available in compact cameras** (SP-620UZ: 720p HD Movie)

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

  • Multi-motion Movie IS for capturing HD movies with reduced blur while walking (SP-620UZ only)


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

  • 3" colour LCD (460,000 dots) for easily framing, reviewing and sharing shots (SP-620UZ: 230,00 dots)

  • HDR Backlight Adjustment for perfectly exposed pictures of inanimate objects even when shooting against the light (SP-720UZ only)

  • Advanced Face Detection and Shadow Adjustment Technology for capturing people's faces just as you want them (SP-720UZ: regular Face Detection)

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

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

Creativity & Flexibility:

  • 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, Miniature, Fragmented (photos only) and Dramatic (photos and SP-720UZ only)

  • Beauty Make-up Mode for adding fun make-up effects to three people and hiding blemishes before you shoot

  • 3D photo shooting mode for striking stills

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

  • High-speed sequential shooting for a dynamic series of fast-moving objects

  • Macro shooting for beautiful, detail-rich close-ups (SP-610UZ: Macro Mode works as close as 10cm)

Other key features:

  • Slim body for an attractive, highly portable design

  • 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

  • In-camera Panorama for quick and easy panorama shots

  • SDHC and SDXC memory card compatible***

  • Built-in flash

  • In-camera manual and in-camera help guide (SP-720UZ: in-camera help guide only)

  • USB battery charging (SP-720UZ only)

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