Billed as the world's longest zoom, the Olympus SP-570 UZ is a model bound to catch the eye. The 10.1 million pixel model boasts an impressive 35mm equivalent zoom range of 26-520mm, or 20x, beating the 18x range of recently reviewed models from the likes of Nikon and Sony.
The camera continues the Superzoom tradition of offering an alternative to DSLRs with it's inclusion of manual controls, including Aperture and Shutter Priority AE modes and full manual mode. There's also Program AE and full auto as well as an extensive of 23 scene modes. A Guide mode has been added, which lists a set of photographic effects, such as ‘Blurring Background' for example, and then adjusting the relevant settings to achieve that effect. It's essentially scene modes by an alternative approach. The scene modes menu, incidentally, is illustrated with photographic examples of the type of subject, eg fireworks, or beach.
A long lens requires image stabilisation, and the 570 has dual IS using a combination of high ISO and sensor shift to counteract the effects of both camera shake and subject based movement. Speaking of high ISO, the camera covers a range from IS O 64 to 6400, with the option of auto selection and user selected noise reduction (on or off).
Despite the long lens Olympus has managed to provide a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.5, and the camera offers shutter speeds covering 15sec to 1/2000sec and up to 8 minutes in Bulb mode. Super macro mode meanwhile allows close up shooting down to 1cm.
Amongst its other attributes the camera offers Face recognition AF, alongside Olympus' iESP autofocus, spot and wide focusing and selectable area AF covering 143 AF points. The camera also comes equipped with continuous AF, predictive AF and manual focus.
Similarly the metering comes via Olympus ESP multi zone evaluative system, along with centre weighted and spot metering. There's also a shadow adjustment feature which levels out the contrast to bring out shadow detail at the point of capture (unlike Nikon's D-Lighting for example, which is applied after capture). Exposure compensation and bracketing is also available.