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Olympus SP-570 UZ - Olympus SP-570 UZ
This DSLR-like quality is enhanced by the comfortable grip (which, incidentally, houses 4xAA batteries) and the hotshoe, which accepts Olympus external flash units. It also has wireless flash capabilities, making the camera stand out amongst its competitors.
The camera buttons are generally well positioned, and easy enough to operate, though the power switch is a little cramped and could be improved, but that's a minor flaw. More importantly it took me a long while to work out how to focus manually - the quick guide has no clues and the full manual is a PDF on disc. This is a pet peeve, I don't want to carry a laptop with me to check camera instructions.
Olympus is really hitting its optical limits with the SP-570 UZ. The lens struggles to perform well and there are countless instances of chromatic aberration, or purple fringing, throughout the pictures. Similarly the AF and image stabilisation struggled at the far reaches of the telephoto end and I had several out of focus/ blurred shots. Considering the quality of other similar lenses on recent models this was a disappointment. Colour is pretty good on the whole, though in natural mode a little muted - vivid mode provides more saturation and punch. This isn't helped by the camera's tendency to slightly over expose, leading to several wishy-washy images.
Noise is very well controlled up to ISO 200, from ISO 400 it becomes visible and goes downhill from there. The noise reduction can help in the mid range of the sensitivity but becomes too soft for higher ISO settings. Incidentally the top two settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 record at 5MP.
The Olympus SP-570 UZ is a pleasant camera to use, with some nice handling features such as a decent EVF, good zoom ring and plenty of control. It's Raw capabilities are interesting, but it lacks the finesse of some competitors, particularly when it comes to the images, Apart from exposure, which is easily remedied, the fringing from the lens is appalling, while the noise is average. You may be buying the longest super-zoom available but it's hardly the best.