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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This really is one fantastic camera; it's one of the most comfortable cameras I've held to date, it looks really swish and of course it being able to take some really good photos (although for those who like to have the Raw photo files I would like to clarify that this camera doesn't have an option to take them and will only take photos in JPEG format).

If you're the type of person who doesn't like to mess around with settings then you will be pleased to know that this camera has a mode called "Intelligent Auto"; on this mode the camera literally tries to guess what kind of photo you are taking be it a macro shot, portrait or landscape, most of the time it will choose the right one and will deliver a good result.

However, like every other camera, their is only a certain amount it can do by itself and you may find in some cases you will have manually tweak some settings on manual photo mode which surprisingly isn't that scary, or why not select one of the pre-set settings in "Scene" mode, it covers a huge range of different photo scenarios like "Sport", "Portrait" & "Landscape" etc...

One of the biggest features of this camera is of course it's 24x optical zoom, which I have loved from the very start but would like to point out that when you are zoomed in from a certain point it can be tricky to not shake the camera, although the camera has a good image stabiliser, using a tripod and putting the camera on something sturdy will give you the best results.

I have listed some settings/modes below and have explained a little about them which I hope will be helpful:

*Intelligent Auto; This mode is great for those who aren't comfortable in playing around with settings, the camera will try to recognise the type of scene you are in and will adjust the settings for you, in most cases the camera will do a good job.

*Manual Photo Mode; This option is great for those who are more comfortable in knowing what settings they want to change, you can change the type of flash (which you can only access if your flash is out, to do this there is a little switch on the front side of the camera), or edit other settings such as macro, exposure, whitening balance and ISO settings.

In this photo mode you can also choose different burst options which will be nicely grouped when in playback (certain bursts are limited to 5MP). Also note that there are three different types of auto focus's, don't be afraid to play around with these.

*Photo with video clip; Records a video before and/or after the picture taken, I couldn't really see the point of this mode though.

*Multi-Recording Mode (MR); This option gives you the choice of taking a picture/video with a special effect whilst also keeping it's original file, take a picture or video in two different sizes at the same time or take a video/picture in two different angles, this is a great feature for this camera.

*Magic Mode; This setting is more for fun photos, it offers 8 different effects to choose from (Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish Eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle & Watercolour).

*Panorama; One of the best features this camera provides, it's so easy to do, just click down the shutter and move the camera from the left to the right at a nice slow pace and once done the camera does the piecing together for you. You can either do a normal panorama or a 360degree one, which ever you choose, to get the best results make sure that you take the picture outdoors (moving objects may hinder the image).

*3D Mode; Take pictures or record video in 3D, I can't comment on this feature as I don't have any 3D equipment in my home.

*Scene Mode; A bunch of pre-set settings adjusted for certain scenario's such as 'Portraits', 'Landscapes', 'Night-Landscapes', 'Documents', 'Cuisine' + more!
I have achieved great results from this mode.

**Video/Recording:
This camera has amazing recording abilities, not only can you record in a whooping 1080p resolution in fine detail which looks FANTASTIC, you can also zoom in WHILST recording up to 24x optical.

The camera automatically focuses as you zoom in, sometimes it may need around a second to full focus after zooming but even at full zoom it delivers great results.

If you're going to be zooming in all the way, a tripod or something sturdy for it too rest on is advisable to avoid a shaky video.

Now for those who love too edit videos this is very important, all videos taken by this camera is in MP4 video format and has no option to change to a different type, so make sure your editing software can support this because my main issue was 'Windows Movie Maker' & Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 (PC) could not support this file and I had to use a video converter before I could even edit it, this was the biggest let down about the camera.

I have included a video but it is rather long (9 minutes 18 seconds), in the video you will see:
00m:00s - 01m:00s Look at the camera & putting the SDHC card/battery into it also.
01m:06s - 08m:30s Run through of all the different modes.
08m:35s - 09m:18s Example of the zoom in record mode.

Overall this is a top quality camera that can take some really good photos, it does come with a big price tag but it has so many good features which makes the money well spent.

** EDIT - 04th August 2011: I have recently received Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 (PC) and can safely say this specific video suite DOES support this cameras video file output, but still check your current video software as not all of them support this format! **
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4141 comments|135 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 June 2011
This is an initial review on the first day of purchase to give you my first impressions. An update will follow later. (PLEASE SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM)

Firstly the camera is way better in the hand than it looks in the photos. I ordered the black version not realising there was an alternative colour but I don't care because it looks great. The main part of the body is gloss black with the top in a dark chrome. The camera is amazingly small and light. It looks a very classy piece of kit. The only downside is it shows every finger mark and will need regular cleaning so have a soft cloth handy.

It doesn't have a viewfinder. Everything is taken through the large screen on the back. The screen is huge and very clear. Like watching a mini HD tv. I was worried about bright light but it copes with this very well and I was able to see it in very bright sunlight. The camera is very well designed and built. Every piece feels very high quality. It fits in the hand nicely and all the controls are easy to reach. It has a comprehensive menu but I was able to set it up without looking at the manual.....but use the manual to learn about what it is capable of.

It does not have a neck strap only a wrist strap. There is no carrying case so you will need to buy one. It is vital you buy a large memory card. This will eat data. I bought an 8GB SD card which will give you around an hour of HD video (on max quality without photos) and I suggest a minimum 8GB card.

I have taken a few photos and one video. Initial impressions of the photos are very good with excellent detail and colour but I want to experiment with the settings before I know just how good it can be. The MP4 video was transferred to my pc and played back using 'VLC player' which you can download off the internet for free. The video was good quality with a bright picture but there was some motion blur. I have not tried the video direct to a tv via HDMI which may be better.

Both photo and video have many capture settings of varying quality...the lower the quality the more you can capture etc.

Don't bother installing the software off the cd. My pc (Vista) recognised the camera immediately and you can just transfer the data straight off without all the bloated Olympus stuff.

The camera comes with all normal settings set to default ready to go. This means that once the battery is charged you can start using it but take time to read the manual because there are many many settings you can choose for optimum results. Because the screen can sap power I turned the 'power save' option on which turns the screen off after 10 seconds. A prod of the shutter button wakes it up again very quickly.

Turning the camera on is very quick with the lense popping out very quickly so you can get snapping with minimum delay. By default there is a shutter noise but this can be turned off in the sound menu. Photos and video can be played back on the screen immediately without having to wade through menus. Despite the many options Olympus have succeeded in making this very easy to use.

The image quality appears to be excellent with a very strong optical zoom and a clear screen. First impressions are very good.

Once I have had chance to experiment with the settings and take some decent photos and test battery life etc I will post a further review.

UPDATE: Having just returned from a holiday in Crete I have now had a chance to properly use this camera.

Despite operating in 100f heat and very bright sunlight the rear screen has still been very clear and easy to see and the camera operated prefectly. The photos are very acceptable when viewed on my 1080P 32" LCD and colours are reproduced very well. Maybe lacking a little vibrancy but that's all.

It is easy to accidentally turn the setting wheel on top of the camera when getting it out of the bag so always check that first. What I liked was that the 3 main settings - full auto/semi-auto and video - were all next to each and easily memorised so you could swap settings on the wheel quickly and easily.

I left it mainly on semi-auto using sunlight white balance and 100ISO and by experimenting with the many other settings have managed to find a good balance for most circumstances. The zoom is excellent but I found the spot focusing hit and miss on small objects in the sky so plane fans beware, It wasn't always good and focussing on small objects in the sky. But for landscape/portrait etc this isn't a problem.

As I said before the body and screen does get finger prints all over it very quickly so carry a soft cloth. It soon comes back up like new. Despite being very glossy and having a large screen I have managed to avoid damaging it in any way so it is still like new despite being used heavily during the holiday and chucked around a bit. It is more robust than it looks but just treat it with a bit of care.

Battery life is very good and I was able to use it all day without it running out and re-charged each evening. BUT...watch how much HD video you take as this uses the most battery.

All in all I am very pleased with this camera. Despite being heavily featured it is very easy to use and the results are very good. Just be prepared to read the manual and test all the settings to find the ones that suit your needs and remember to take a mobile mains charger with you when you go away of course.
22 comments|173 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 23 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had been debating getting a digital camera for the past few months so the opportunity to try this Olympus SZ-30MR was a nice coincidence.

The first thing I noticed was how much smaller the camera was than it looked in the pictures I was expecting it to be much bigger.

I'm not a great technical person but I found the camera fairly easy to use. The large screen at the back gives a clear crisp view of the picture you want to take the zoom is very good too I was impressed with the clear image you got at quite a decent distance.

The various modes like panoramic and low light enable you to get much more from your photos than you used to.

Like all technologies the rapid advances in recent years means you can get a lot more from your camera. The ability to take movies and pictures on one unit and play them back on your computer/laptop or TV is a great plus I well remember the days of travellers being festooned with multiple straps and bags and different equipment for different mediums where as now days it is all contained in one small compact unit.

As a non techie person I will say many thanks to some of the other reviewers whose advice on card sizes and cables etc was a great help as I would not have had an idea as to what I should get.

This camera is at the more expensive end of the spectrum but as with everything you get what you pay for and this is a well made and excellent quality camera which will last you. Its small size makes it easy to carry about in a pocket or bag and has the capacity to store a lot of images with a decent MB memory card.

All in all I am very pleased with this camera and look forward to getting some excellent pictures with it.
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on 29 July 2011
An excellent camera which is small enough to carry in your pocket but has all the functions and more of a DSLR without having to change lenses. The zoom is amazing although you do need a mini tripod to use it at 24x or you get blurry shots. Definitely a brill holiday camera when weight and space are an issue.
22 comments|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 July 2011
I am very pleased with the purchase. As a previous reviewer mentioned the camera is VERY light, and smart in black.
Picture quality is excellent and the 24 zoom is useful. Controlling the zoom is difficult because the toggle does not operate smoothly ie I shoot past then back and evenually get the picture I want but not a real problem.
The camera suffers like all cameras without a view finder in taking pictures in bright sunlight, at certain angles the screen is invisible. I have not done much with the Video as I have a good HD video camera. Yet to experiment with all the manual options , but pleased the pictures so far. Bought an 8GB memory card, to view HD on TV requires a special HD cable about £8. No faults so far will update later.

1. The HDMI link does not work. It worked once then failed so I gave up videoing, but see below.

2 VIDEO RECORDING - I never bothered with video until I read that someone had uploaded their film to SONY Vegas HD Plattinum ,which I have. So I experimented by using it to film my golfing mates. and edited via Sony. I was very impressed. ZOOMING dont try to zoom out to max not, surprisingly the auto focus has problems but excessive zooming is never recommended a bit like panning use with caution. Also use a support to prevent camera shake.

The wide angle for video is very useful for interiors etc.

For a little camera it is amazing. My friend has just bought a Nixon DSLR with extra telephoto lens, A lot of kit I bet I get more out my little camera
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on 3 August 2011
Looked at a couple of reviews, ..They did not do justice to the camera. It fits in a shirt pocket,as far as I am concerned fantastic..The optical zoom is beyond belief.For a pocket camera totally great..loyal to Olympus right back to MJU300.This will take some beating.
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on 21 September 2011
I love this camera because it does everything my old Olympus SP-560UZ and Sanyo HD1010 did, with better image quality and in a much smaller unit. There are reviews out there saying that the image quality isn't as sharp as it could be - maybe true if you're a professional, but for most people I think it's good enough.

Particular things I like:
1. the sweep panorama.
2. the ability to take two shots at once - for example a still and a video, or two stills with different settings.
3. The magic effects settings. Ok most of these are just gimmicks, but I do actually find the sketch and watercolour settings useful. As a very amateur artist trying to improve, taking a view normally and with these settings has helped me with my composition a lot.
4. Its size. Anything that reduces weight on a hike is welcome.
5. The ability to do a 16:9 format shot at a decent resolution, which is useful for converting pictures into a video.

There's only really one downside I've found - the battery life. All of the features above eat power so I'm finding I'm draining the battery in a single day and so need a spare. My old cameras would both go for days without needing a charge. But that's not enough of a problem to affect my rating.
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VINE VOICEon 17 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Olympus have always had a realy good reputation and with this camera they do not dissappoint, the image quality is superb and is up there with some of the best SLR and Bridge Cameras out there today.

Just took this on a family holiday and chose this over our normal Nikon D60 and the images we took combined with a variety of HD and SD video were excellent, it's easy to move between stills and video thanks to a dedicated video button on the back which still allows stills to be taken while recording. The zoom level was fantastic as we got some photos of the kids when they thought we weren't looking which (thanks to a good image stabliser) are in perfect focus and only blurred when we were trying to move with it.

the flash is automatic, but only when it's turned on... if you don't pop the flash up the camera will not override you. also if you hold the camera sideways and do a video it won't adjust that for you, so i would recommend using it in it's normal way.

Given all these features it still fits into a pocket with ease.
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on 3 October 2011
I'm ashamed of the number of cameras I've owned and used since 1962! Presently I own an Olympus Pen with three lenses, a Fuji Bridge camera and this little Olympus. I love it because it's so easy to carry, it has a fine lens, has good controls, and takes sharp and colourful images. For a camera that almost fits into the palm of your hand it has an astonishingly wide range of zoom power from excellent wide angle to very long telephoto. It's become my favourite.
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on 22 October 2011
Purchased as a small, very light alternative to my very heavy Canon 10D, I am very pleased with the utility of so small a camera and it's performance.
With 16 M pixels, reproduction is superb, the zoom facility covers just about the maximum usable by anyone and apart from the small buttons I find the whole package terrific value and the most usable on a daily basis of all the six cameras I have!
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