Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Support me by shopping at B&H!
Olympus SP 550 Ultra Zoom Gordon Laing, March 2007

Lenses and image stabilisation
/ Screen and menus / Sensor and processing

Olympus SP-550UZ screen

 
Olympus SP-550UZ screen

The Olympus SP-550UZ is equipped with a 2.5in colour monitor with 230K pixels. In use it looks big, bright and sharp, although sadly it’s a fixed design which doesn’t flip out and twist. We say sadly because a flip-out screen could have taken the SP-550UZ to a completely different level of flexibility. As it was we found many situations where we held the camera at low or high angles and struggled to see what was on the screen. The viewing angle’s certainly no worse than other fixed-screen models, but they’re just no substitute for a fully flip-out screen.

Olympus SP-550UZ shooting display

Olympus SP-550UZ gridlines Olympus SP-550UZ live histogram
   

Like most compacts, the Olympus SP-550UZ offers a choice of on-screen shooting information and guides. Pressing the ‘DISP’ button cycles between a clean image, one with a choice of two different guidelines for framing, a live histogram, or just the main exposure and shooting details. It’s possible to disable the guides and or the histogram in the menus so the DISP button cycles through fewer options. The histogram can also be switched to constantly show clipped highlights and shadows on the live image in red and blue respectively.

 
Olympus SP-550UZ shooting menu
 

As mentioned in the Design section, pressing the OK / FUNC button presents instant access to White Balance, ISO, drive and metering options which we’ll detail on the next page. Pressing the Menu button presents six labelled icons to access further option pages; depending on the shooting mode, some of these may be greyed-out and inaccessible.

Along with the usual setup and image quality menus, one of the more unique icons sets the SP-550UZ’s into silent mode. In practice this works just like a TV mute button, silencing the various startup sounds, beeps and shutter clicks. It’s a clever idea to offer this with a single press, although if you prefer you can individually enable or vary the volume of the different system sounds.

 
Olympus SP-550UZ playback histogram


Olympus SP-550UZ playback display

Playback mode on the SP-550UZ can either be entered by pressing the Play button on the back of the camera, or turning the command dial to Play; the latter allows you to power-up the camera in Play mode without extending the lens. Pressing the DISP button cycles between full screen views of the image with or without shooting details, or a thumbnail view accompanied by a brightness histogram and basic shooting information.

   
Olympus SP-550UZ thumbnails 4 Olympus SP-550UZ thumbnails 25


Twisting the zoom ring clockwise allows you to zoom-in on an image and scroll around, while twisting it the other way presents a series of ever-decreasing thumbnails: first four, then nine, 16, 25 and finally a calendar view which shows you what days you’ve been taking photos on.

   
Olympus SP-550UZ edit menu  


Once again pressing the Menu button presents a screen of icons to access further option pages – there’s nine in Playback mode, although two take you straight to the thumbnails or calendar views, and two more enter the Silent or Setup modes also seen when shooting. An Edit section allows you to perform basic manipulations on your images, including crops, resizing, red-eye fix and a variety of frames, labels and colour or tonal options.


Olympus SP-550UZ features continued...

Lenses and image stabilisation / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs