by Mike Pasini, Mike Tomkins, and Zig Weidelich
Review Date: 10/12/2010
The Olympus SP-800UZ is based around a 1/2.3″-type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of fourteen megapixels, coupled to a 30x optical zoom lens. Images have dimensions of 4,288 x 3,216 pixels or below. The Olympus SP800UZ’s lens offers actual focal lengths ranging from five to 150mm, equivalent to a useful 28mm wide angle thru a very powerful 840mm telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from f/2.8 to f/5.6 across the zoom range. Importantly, given the reach of the zoom lens, the SP800 does include mechanical image stabilization — specifically, a sensor shift system. There’s no optical or electronic viewfinder, with all interaction taking place courtesy of a 3.0-inch LCD display with 230,000 dots of resolution.
The Olympus SP-800UZ uses a iESP Auto contrast detection autofocusing by default, with the ability to switch to spot AF if desired. Both AF tracking and face detection functions are also included. Exposures are metered with Digital ESP metering by default, and both spot and face detection metering modes are also available. 2.0EV of exposure compensation is available, in 1/3EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to four seconds. Seven white balance settings are provided, including automatic and six presets. Manual white balance isn’t possible with the SP-800. As well as Intelligent Auto and Program modes, the Olympus SP-800 offers a generous selection of 17 scene modes that provide a modicum of control over the look of images.
The Olympus SP800UZ stores images in JPEG format, and is also able to record movies at high-definition 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) resolution or below, using MPEG-4 compression. Images and movies are stored on SD or SDHC cards, or in an extremely generous 1,783MB of available built-in memory. Connectivity options include both USB 2.0 High Speed data, and standard definition video output. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary LI-50B lithium-ion rechargeable battery, rated as good for 200 shots.
The Olympus SP-800UZ began shipping in the USA from March 2010 with pricing of about $350.