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Olympus SP-570 UZ - Olympus SP-570 UZ
For sports fans Olympus offers shooting at up to 13.5 frames per second, and there's also a pair of shoot and select modes for shooting fast subjects and only saving the best of the bunch.
On the digital front the camera offers two colour modes, Normal and Vivid, with the option to change the usual parameters of sharpening, contrast and saturation. You can also adjust the white balance via a common set of presets or manually.
I can hear shouts of joy from the enthusiast camp now. Yes the SP-570 does offer Raw shooting, as well as Raw+JPEG and JPEG only. Raw images are supplied as Olympus ORF format and the Olympus Master 2 software offers conversion, or you could use a third party converter. In-camera image processing comes courtesy of Olympus True Pic Turbo III processor. Olympus has also added a host of post-processing options including Raw editing, black and white conversions and colour corrections, as well as novelty effects such as adding calendars, frames and so on.
Using the SP-570 UZ is a typical Olympus experience, with similarities to the DSLR range. Notably the 2.7in LCD offers quick access to a host of functions, such as metering, AF, colour modes and many more. Personally I like the system and having used millions of Olympus cameras find it intuitive, however I have spent time with readers using a similar system and they couldn't get to grips with it. Make of that what you will, but I think it's different but effective.
The other menus system is a little more conventional and well laid out, while the clear descriptions in the scene and Guide menus are easy to follow.
The Electronic Viewfinder is perfectly acceptable, as EVFs go though, as always, I hate having to switch between EVF and monitor during operation. You can, of course, view menus in the EVF, but this is fiddly too. Ultimately, it's the way all these systems work and until someone comes up with a better idea, we have to put up with, but don't have to like it.
A nice thing about the camera is the zoom control, which uses a good old-fashioned zoom ring on the lens, allowing precise stepping of the focal range. This is a refreshing alternative to zoom buttons and makes the user experience far more DSLR like, as does the top plate command dial for changing exposure settings. This also doubles as the function settings dial and to zoom in and out on image previews.