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on 16 December 2012
I needed a camera that was better than one of the little compacts but not as big as a DSLR. This one neatly fits the bill.

It will fit in a jacket pocket as it is not too bulky, yet can produce excellent results. I am particularly impressed by the 40x optical zoom, the results are fantastic and allow me to stand off quite away from the subject yet it looks like I am next to it.

I took some landscape photos that I have taken in the past with my old film camera and various lenses and the results were what I had been trying to achieve for years.

This camera is packed with functionality, the magic filters (not all of which are that useful to be fair) are very good and I use a couple regularly. The menu system is easy to follow, though do have a read of the manual on the enclosed CD to get the full benefit of the camera.

Finally, battery life. This camera uses 4 AA batteries. Normally this is downer as digital cameras suck the life out of batteries, not this one. The battery life is very good even on bog standard batteries.

This is a superb little camera and is the one I take with me whenever I am going out. My poor old DSLR with the interchangeable lenses has not left the house since I bought.
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on 8 January 2013
Just use the rotating switch on the top to what suits you and your abillity cant be simpler.

What makes a bit more simpler is no matter where you go and what setting or where you are in the menu a description comes up with sample pictures to inform you and show you exactly what it can do, no guessing or knowledge required.

It could be the first time you ever touched a camera and in minutes you are ready to go, no books or manuals to read or learn they made this as simple as it can get yet as advanced as anything else, ideal for the first timer or newbie.

(1)

If you no good at photography and you the sort of person who wants to take good shots and like to have an expert with you to set it up for you all the time then just leave it on auto the intelligent system does it all for you, just point and click.

If you need a flash just pop it up but be warned it is a powerfull flash and it covers some distance more than you expect it to do.

On Auto your functions are limited, including the flash unit.

(2) If you want to do more use P setting if you have little knowledge just leave all the settings like white balance, exposure, shutter speeds etc on auto, and just alter what you want to do you want, like a water fall or fireworks or any moving object alter the shutter speed for different effects what ever your imagination comes up with.

On This setting all camera functions are yours to control.

If you like technical stuff on screen that press the silver menu button 12 o clock position and it gives you photo information on play mode and camera mode tells you exactly your settings press it again and grid lines appear and a histogram which shows you what the camera sensor sees on a bar graph osciloscope type scale press it again it its gone.

Very important point to note If you going to snap close range at night using the flash then you will have the options of
Auto- Always on - Off - and red eye,

Use red eye the flash unit strobes like a disco light very quickly pre emittant flashes before taking the photo, on the on setting at close range its a powerfull flash unit and you could end up with white out, on red eye every shot is spot on, but also be aware it takes extremely good photos at night with out the flash.

It says 40 times zoom but on p using the menu you can switch on the digital zoom and it will go to 80 times zoom, it says the pictures may not be so good but on a clearish day with enough light and if you press gently on the shutter then the pictures you can take can be flawless i taken some fantastic shots on 80, it also has a super res function that improves the quality - apart from that it may say 40 optical - 80 digital - but when you zoom it to its max it goes right up to 160 magnification as you wil see in its viewfinder i wasn't expecting that and is still good enough to take a photo - the anti shake and image stabiliser on this thing really does work at max zooms with unbelievable good results.

Theres loads more it can do, Set it on beauty mode take a photo of somebody forward facing, guy or girl it doesnt matter, soon as it its taken a beauty fix option comes up, if you select it it will take you through an easy to follow picture which is quite a fun looking menu which can give you the giggles.

You can slap various lipstick on your subject in different colours, whiten skin color, eye liner, change eye colour brown to blue to green and a few odd colours, enhance smile whiten teeth, slender and slim the face etc you can air brush you subject quite ideal if you with a partner thats needs a few touching ups to look good on a photo so you can show off to your friends and family while hiding them away from public view.

Panoramic If you like doing these, i was awfully impressed by the galaxy 2 it could stitch 8 photos together so just enough for a complete 360 where most other cameras do 3 and yet no one knows exactly what that can do it has an amazing system and fantastic camera, for a tablet.

I you do the sea front it trips up it stitches as you move it and it cant get lines right on the sea horizon that well you can see the stitching,

i tried this where that failed, it says it stitches 3 together, which is not the case it can do 10 if you use a pc to do it, you can do it manually or on auto, if you use auto go into settings you get 2 choices 180 or 360 you dont have to use the full range you can stop at any angle by repressing the shutter button, take what you want - i used it on auto and its spot on even if you tilt the camera vertically and move it horizontally the picture comes out in the right orientation all the time for deeper views, you dont have to do anything forget manual forget the pc just point and click and turn, press play back and it plays it back like a movie, i found it hard to find errors on them once down loaded to the pc.

The magic settings

There are many the reflection is amazing on landscapes where there is deep blue sky, water of fog about you can make things float in the sky you can take a photo of a pet or person and it will reproduce 2 of them, depending on how you angle it you can have them shaking hands with themselves or a bit more imagination you can angle the camera to half the subject with 1 arm 1 leg in the air so looks like they are flying, theres so much you can manipulate with it, it does drawing of the pictute, pop art is very similiar effect to autumn colours i had on other cameras for bringing out the best in the depth of colours,

minature is also good effect esp on trees in front of a water fall or similiar scene for that gerry anderson thunderbird look -

fragmented a tile effect

dramatic is a very powerfull effect on this camera and can be really over powering in some scenes with some fantastic results, on a cloudy day with lots of cloud detail it can take what looks like the end of the world type photos, it picks up every detail you dont see and enhances it, turns a cloudy day into a storm, theres a lot more it can do on the right scenery.

Pin hole is pin hole but gets better if you use it with a zoom, for that old fashioned camera affect its really good in black and white mode or sepia for that victorian era or wild west effect.

Fish eye how good it is depends what angle you use the camera its like looking through a gold fish bowl great for bending tall buildings or railway tracks and other straight things of considerable length.

Soft focus for that angelic look on pretty things like flowers does not do well on hell angels bikers and wrestlers.

Punk just purples everything cant see no use for it yet.

Sparkle thats a brilliant one anything in a photo that emmits light like xmas lights on a xmas tree or light reflections over water will have a sparkle effect that really makes them stand out its that glint you see on water that moves but you can never capture it so on holiday no one really sees what you see, on this you can it can bring anything to life esp a night scene.

Pictures taken on this setting comes out as a painting

On all these settings you always see the effect in real time so you know what you want and you decide when or if you want to take it.

The scene mode SCN

landscape - Just landscapes as long as it got plenty blues and greens for more rockie terrains just use auto for better results.

night scene - for illuminated scenes at night.

night + portrait - as above but with a subject

sport - fast moving subjects, cars - jets - alien big cats - ufo's etc

indoor - saves a flash blinding everyone esp if you are in a restuarant where every one else there is eating with out wearing sun glasses, or birthday parties where dont want everyone to be dazzled into falling into the cake.

self portrait (yes you photo yourself)

fireworks - slower shutter speed to catch the best in displays also works for water falls where you want to produce fantasy results and other such moving things where you want to introduce time and travel.

cuisine ( i use this for any photo that has a lot of vivid colours it really brings out anything natural to this planet, birds, butterflies, flowers anything thats not a man made colour it really enhances)

documents - it does not require strong lighting on this setting or direct lighting or its dazzling, but take some scenes in this setting it puts a light dramtic effect to it.

portrait - if you fancy yourself as a model photographer or just family portraits

beach and snow - self explanatory

pet mode cat - pet mode dog ( these 2 effects will put the camera into a wait mode and it will only take a photo when the cat or dog through intelligent recognition actually faces the camera then it will take the picture, so you get that most amazing pose, dont stop there you be surprised on how many other things it works on even some people

Sunset - As of this time none have appeared to test it out on but it does take some glare out of any strong colour lighting it does love reds and yellow back grounds so i will have to see what it can do on the big ball in the sky come improvements in weather.

Backlight hdr - For that darken image against a bright back ground it takes a series a photos and combines them intelligently to bring out the best in a subject with optimal brightness clever stuff.

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Photo with a film clip setting for you want a short film clip and a photo at the same time, great for wild life shots, burping babies yes you get audio as well - so if you cant decide at that moment you want a still or a film clip then you can have both.

options are

7/3 i e -

7 second movie a photo then followed on by a 3 second movie

times are as

5/3
3/3
7/0
5/0
3/0

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Starlight mode is fantastic for night time sky photography, with a good tripod you can really zoom up and the photos of the moon are so detailed but use this mode for fun if you want whizzy pictures like traveling through a tunnel at high speed for that warp speed factor.

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Camera main menu in brief

Reset

Compression - Standard Fine takes the best photos on 14 m but uses most memory

Shadow adjust On / Off / Auto

Af mode - Face / iESP / Spot / or AF tracking for moving objects

ESP/ Sets the brightness in accordance to the balance of the screen or to the center of the screen

Digital Zoom On / Off

Image Stabilizer On / Off (leave this on anti shake)

Af Illuminate On / Off

Rec View On / Off

Pic Orientation Leave on if you want you pictures set in 1 direction no matter how you angle the camera.

Icon guide On / Off this is your help guide

Date stamp On / Off

Super res zoom On / Off (leave this on it enlargers the image without deteriotating image quality)

Image size VGA (internet quality) / 60 fps / 120fps movie speeds creating various film speeds for special effects)/ 720 / and 1080 high definition.

IS Movie Mode On / Off (leave this on it prevents camera shake when filming movies if you got unsteady hands)

Mic On / Off

Wind Noise reduction (leave this on it reduces that horrible wind noise on audio)

Slide show goes into 2 menus

Bgm Back ground Music - Off/ music titles are Cosmic - Breeze - Mellow - Dreamy - Urban

Type is the slide show type Normal which is random effects - Fader quick effects as the photo changes or - Zoom which intelligently shoots you in and out of every photo and if it picks up a face it goes in the same photo again slowly great presentation tricks.

Edit functions on the camera

1 creates a low volume image if you need a smaller upload size

2 trims the image

3 you can record a 4 second audio to any photo

4 beauty fix for air brushing

5 shadow adjust this is the great if you got a photo of a subject/s in a dark alley at night and you can barely see them it brings the picture up to a well lit scene perfectly a must have for over darkened night time pictures on this camera it is amazing im more than impressed with this function, late night safaris use it that over dark subject use it it edits in a blink of an eye.

6 redeye fix

7 image rotate

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Erase images

select them its easy takes seconds with its menu sysem you can safely erase selected ones or erase them all.

Print order sets out how you want them to be printed if desired

key symbol you can select some photos in the memory to be protected from being erased

Upload order thats the internet upload picture function via pc, usuall social sites etc.

Format yes / no

Back up

Eye - Fi

Usb Connections
Auto
Storage camera can be used as a card reader
MTP connects as a pc portable device
Print pict bridge printer connection

Power on settings

Sound Settings

File name

Pixel Mapping

Monitor brightness

Tv out

Power save

World time

Beauty settings you can pre load 3 so when you snap a face they can have up to 3 choices in make up effects instantly.

Deadly in the wrong hands esp for the male population - give that rough looking dude an instant make over.

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This is a really good camera,

But it wont power on if you got the lense cap on it will just beep and power off
Sounds nothing but if you just want to browse photos then you got to remember the lense is exposed and unprotected.

The Camera door is not super strong take time with it and carefully change batteries and you will be ok.

Not a lot of information on it as its really new - so i put this up for anyone who struggling to find out exactly what it does offer i couldnt even find sample pictures to judge it on.

It does a lot and has loads of functionality it is not something you will get bored with as it can do and alter any perspective and freshen up a different view.

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This is just the stills the movie functions i yet to try out maybe some one else can review what it does as a movie camera.

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The software well what a really easy to use and highly highly advanced and powerful program it does everything you need and more and you dont need any expertise you can do anything you want - colour-contrast-gamma-text-rotate-crop- tone curve - hue and sateration - tilt - shading compensation - unsharp mask - sharpen and blur - fish eye correction - distortion correction - noise reduction - histogram - light tables photo comparisons up to 4 - color balance and many many other powerfull tools - and unlike other editing software this does not crash.

Its a pleasure to use and i enjoy using it - its prob one of the best i ever used.

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Battery life first use was not great 40 pictures but i was using brand new ni cads which they have to be used a few times before they really become effective, now im taking about 400 to 500 shots and about a week +enough in them to do all the editing i need before changing them.

You do get 4 throw away batteries when you buy it they lasted about a day.

But it does depend on what brand of ni cads what life you get and what rating they are, - iam now using the 2900 mah ones and they go on forever so far and out lasting the 2100 cheaper ones by about 7 times differece in price between the 2 sets about £1.50.

Im using the EXTREME brand in the freezing conditions they really are hard to drain they keep going and going and going.

There are a BTY brand that seems to have bad reviews so i avoided completely.

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No this does not come with a view finder like many want -

Remember yesteryear when 5 times zoom was awesome, any where on a view finder at max zoom yep you subject will always be there.

At 100 times zoom at a far away object on the horizon whacking it up to max if you tried using a view finder you still be looking at a wider and wider
area as distance increases and chances are you be filming something hundreds of feet away like the bottom of some ones boot or a crisp packet not the majestic eagle soaring through the sky, and even in bright light you be still be dazzled anyway thats why they did away with them, if you want something with a view finder try down the car boot sale.
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on 2 December 2012
Absolutely thrilled with this camera. I had the Olympus SP-600UZ before and was very distraught when it got damaged! This has been a perfect update and the extra zoom has been perfect for our safari shots. Highle recommend this camera for its ease of functionality and results.
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on 16 February 2013
Have to say, I'm finding this very easy to get to grips with. Having been a Fuji girl for some years, I found it quite easy to busk my way round the main settings (although it did help that I tried - and indeed bought - this from a Proper Shop with a nice man to talk me through it! John Lewis - thank you very much!)

Someone else commented on batteries falling out - there is a tiny switch on the cover for that which locks it in place, and after emptying the batteries all over the floor in the shop to everyone's surprise, we applied it and it has not happened since!

I'm using "ordinary" superduper strength AA batteries at the moment and they are lasting a whole lot longer than the rechargeable thing in my last (current) Fuji T200 - which sometimes barely lasts two days of use, so I always have to carry a charged spare.

I will add to the review when I've had more use - but the first few photos are very pleasing. Good zoom, good macros; so far the quality of the pics is looking good. Not so enormously bulky and heavy to carry either - not for those of us who carried a film camera with a zoom lens 20 years ago, anyway!

I have a Lowepro case which fits it very snugly, and has a waterproof covering and inside pockets for the important little bits. (This came from John Lewis too who were doing a nice price on it.) Lowepro Apex 100AW Shoulder Bag For Digital Cameras/Camcorders - Black

[update early March 13 - still on the same set of batteries. Haven't used it a huge amount, as the weather's been so lousy, but when I have I think I've easily used one or more Fuji-rechargeables' worth, so I'm very impressed. Also with the help of a tripod and the delay mode, took some good photos of the moon!]
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2013
I was almost put off this bargain by some adverse reviews mentioning issues like the battery compartment opening unexpectedly, slow start-up times and short battery life. I have found none of these to be the case. The catch for the battery compartment, once slid across (which is a bit fiddly), will not open. The camera starts from cold as quickly as I have time to think about the shot I am about to take - it switches between modes instantly, which often gives you several different settings for the same shot. The batteries last well - good rechargeables with a spare set of new Duracells in the case and you are good for a heavy day of photography.
Highly recommended and excellent value if you can't quite afford a real DLSR.
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on 23 February 2014
I bought this camera to replace my Olympus SP800UZ which got damaged after being used hundreds of times. This camera is similar but there are some differences.

The camera starts up quicker, which is a plus. Hopefully I won't lose so many 'moments' while the camera starts up. The camera was cheaper than the previous camera, which I suppose is a plus, though I would rather pay for quality and robustness.

Unfortunately, there are more minuses than pluses.

The camera feels cheaper and more plasticky, flimsier. I don't like the change from lithium battery to 4 x AA batteries. In a test, I was only able to take half the number of photographs on 4 AA batteries than I could take on a fully charged lithium battery. This means carrying more batteries around and more recharging. It used to take me seconds to replace one battery while I was out. Now I need to find a flat surface and it takes minutes to get the 4 old batteries out, figure out which way to put the new ones in and get the awful battery door closed.

The battery compartment is awful, really badly designed. I haven't (yet) had the problem others mention of the door opening, but I wouldn't be surprised as it is fiddly, cheap and nasty.

The camera has new gimmicky stuff, like punk shots, that I can't imagine anyone ever using once the novelty has worn off, but my biggest gripe is that the birdwatching mode, which I used constantly on the SP800UZ is gone. It appears to have been replaced by doubling the number of "pet modes" so that there are now separate modes for photographing dogs and cats. I just can't imagine what anyone thinks is the difference between photographing a dog and a cat. I don't photograph either, so this is a major irritation. I assume it is still possible to reproduce the birdwatching setting by changing some functions, but I know little about photography and was very happy that the camera did it for me.

The camera still takes good photos and is a decent compact size and pretty easy to operate. It just seems that, in order to make the camera cheaper, it has gone a bit downmarket.

The company that supplied the camera did a sterling job in getting it to me quickly, but overall, I wish I hadn't bought this camera. I bought it thinking it would be the same as the SP800UZ. When this camera needs replacing, I will not make that mistake again and will look at alternatives to the Olympus.
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on 15 March 2014
I bought this camera after my latest fujifilm finepix failed and I am so pleased it did!!! This camera is brilliant, it is far better than my previous fujifilm camera which I loved and in the same price bracket. The clarity of the photos is what amazes me most, I have only had it just over a week and I am most definitely amateur but I have had so many comments on my pics. I must clarify that everything I have taken has been using the pre set scene modes and I know nothing about how to manually set a camera up (although that can be done with this model) but my photos look so professional. Not only are there lots of scene modes but you can also have a lot of fun with this camera. There is the 'beauty' function which me and my daughter have been playing with(the blemish fix is fab!!), our results have been mostly weird to say the least but great fun!! There are also the 'magic' functions which enable you to create different effects such as 'fish eye', 'punk', 'sparkle' etc..so great for kids pics. I have also had a play with the video function and again, really clear images. There are still modes on it which I haven't tried out yet such as 'starlight' but so far so impressed! The whole camera is super easy to navigate, feels nice to hold, not too heavy or cumbersome and if you get some good quality rechargeable batteries you have lots of enjoyable hours of use before changing them. Highly recommend!!!
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on 2 December 2013
FOCUS LAGS:
For the price it was a cool gadget! But, but.. Problems focusing with zoom - even when not at full 40x, it already looses the object (i love planespotting, so imagine my frustration when you see a nice white plane with trail in blue skies, but this camera chokes on it and can't focus). Same happens with clouds, hard to focus when zooming, so it's not the problem of camera stearing at on coloured field and not finding where to focus.

SHARPNESS DROPS:
Also - for some reason the sharpness drops just the moment you push the button - on the screen you see perfect sharp image, next thing you shoot it and it comes out softer :( And yes, i do have experience with lots of cameras and settings, and here i did try every possible combination of settings, nothing improves the focus. So why buy a superzoom camera that can't focus when you superzoom in?.. :)

VIDEO FOCUS:
Another "problem" - you can't turn off autofucus when filming, it will change focus during HD video, hard to keep it in focus if you film something other than static object. Other cameras have function to switch off continuous-servo AF, but not this one.

OTHER CONS: as other mentioned, battery cover opens by itself sometimes; it runs on AA batteries; if lens cover is on, it will not turn on; Programmable mode is pretty much as auto mode on other cameras, don't expect a lot to set by yourself.

THE PROS: very wide angle; impressive zoom (when it's focusing where you want it); high-speed videos (no sound); pretty small.

But i'm going to return it, and get me something other that zooms and focuses at the same time :(
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on 19 July 2013
It was my daughter who suggested a bridge camera and I find this one easy for my ageing eyesight and fingers. The results are just lovely. The only problem I had was getting it to talk to my computer which runs Windows 7 Professional. I kept getting messages that Olympus Viewer 2 had shut down and Windows was investigating; it seemed to want to use XP to solve the problem which seemed a bit odd. Windows didn't produce any more helpful answers so I contacted Olympus technical help. Downloading a newer version of the Viewer was suggested and this proved successful.

I delight in taking photos of my beautiful cats, but have always had problems with my blue-eyed Birmans. Their eyes are very sensitive to flash. When I used my Canon compact they would either shut their eyes if I used red eye or I would get awful reflections. The SP 820UZ works at much lower light levels so this problem simply doesn't occur. I now have some truly beautiful cat portraits. The cat face recognition mode in SCN shoots off automatically giving me plenty to choose from.

I have also experimented with the very powerful zoom to take pictures of kids across 3 fields and the river, and with close-ups of flowers.

It is giving great joy to this 80 year old. I have given only 4 stars because of the problem with compatibility with Windows.
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on 21 February 2013
Amazing camera, so many great features and fairly easy to use after a bit of practice. Even I can take great pictures.
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