Customer Review

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, easy to use camera with a super zoom and delivers perfect pictures, 15 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Olympus SP-810UZ Compact Digital Camera - Black (14.0MP, 3.0 inch TFT, 36 x Wide Optical Zoom) (Electronics)
I wouldn't consider myself to be a 'photographer', I am someone who gets the camera out a few times a year and charges it up overnight before we go away to a wedding or on holiday etc. I don't often take photo's just for fun, so I appreciate that others will be able to give you a more 'professional' appraisal of this camera. However when I read some of the very few negative reviews about this camera (either by fellow Amazon'ers or on photography websites), that's exactly what I got... a professional photographers view, on an unprofessional camera!

I'm what Olympus and other manufactures apparently call an `armature upgrader', I'm not quite ready for a full Digital SLR Camera but I do want something better than my current compact - at first I wasn't happy about being `put in a box', but on reflection that does about sum it up and subsequently Olympus and others seem to have developed a range of cameras all within my price range offering pretty much exactly what I'm looking for, so great.

I love my old compact camera, it's a Samsung which I've had for about years and it's great, touch-screen, the battery lasts all day and it takes great 14mpix photos. The only problem I have with it is the zoom. I didn't actually find this out until I went to the London 2012 Olympics and noticed that those around me were able to zoom in so far you could see an athlete smiling... when I zoomed in as far as my compact would allow, I could barely make out which country they were from! So I realised that it was time to upgrade and spent much of the next week researching different cameras from Sony, Panasonic, Canon etc...before narrowing it down to just a few, including the Olympus SP-810UZ.

In general I found nothing but praise on any reviews for the SP-810UZ's small size, weight and the fantastic lens with an unrivalled zoom. The bad points highlighted in these reviews tended to focus on the lack of manual professional settings and options where the reviewer felt that they could do a better job than leaving it to the pre-programmed settings to take care of things auto-magically. They might be right. There was also few points about 'noise' and 'range' etc, again I trust that they are right and that a more professional camera would do a better job. But when you look at the benchmarking against rival camera's, it's all swings-and-roundabouts, the Olympus SP-810UZ was better at some things and the Panasonic or Sony at others.

Other criticism, typically from a less professional audience, suggested that with the zoom fully extended it's hard to take a crystal clear photograph. Some said that you can overcome this by using a tripod, suggesting that a shaky hand was the most likely cause of the blurry photos. This worried me slightly, because again I'm sure that they're right, but I don't own a tripod and don't want to have to lug one around just to take a few holiday snaps.

So I bit the bullet anyway, despite the few negative things I'd read, the good points and praise for the camera seemed to far outweigh any of the bad. I've now had the Olympus SP-810UZ for about a week, tried out all the features and tested it out at Dorney Lake for the Olympic Canoe Sprint finals and also at the British Firework Championships in Plymouth.

So here is what I've found...

Bad Points:
Yes if you are videoing something and try to zoom in or out then it's not great, in fact it's rubbish - the sound will cut-out on playback until a few seconds after you've stopped zooming. But if you zoom in first and then video something then it's fine.

It is possible to take a blurry picture if you zoom in really far and take a picture whilst you're moving the camera. But if you zoom in and wait for a second, the camera usually focuses itself and providing you hold it relatively still, will take a crystal clear photograph without needing a tripod etc, I find half pressing the shutter button before taking a picture seems to do the trick.

The strap that comes with the camera is, well, rubbish. It itches and scratches, is too thin to be comfortable but unfortunately, it is necessary! The camera is quite heavy and I'm sure like me you don't want to risk dropping it. I replaced it with a different strap (see below) which fits perfectly and is really comfortable.

The lens is huge, which is great for zooming but not great for picking up dust and the odd fingerprint etc. You'll need something to clean the lens and I can't recommend your t-shirt. Also, because of the lens, whilst the body of the camera is the same size as a regular compact camera, the size of the lens means that finding a case is difficult because a compact case is too small and an SLR case is too big. At the time of writing this and when I bought the camera, amazon was recommending a `waterproof case' to go with this camera for around £10, so I bought one. However the case Amazon recommend is, well, absolutely useless. Should have read the reviews first, mine fell apart after one use and was sent back for a refund. I found a much better case (see below).

Panoramic Pictures can either be taken on an `auto' or `manual' setting, I'd recommend manual, as the auto sometimes get's it right but often fails to overlap the pictures correctly, I've got much better results from manual.

Good Points:
The camera is seriously easy to use, not just to take regular pictures and videos but if you want to experiment then you can apply different effects to photos, reduce red-eye, take 3D pictures and awesome panoramic views and the camera makes it really easy.

The end result is pretty good, sometimes you have to wait for the camera to auto-focus but in using it two times I've been able to take some really great photographs of people, landscapes, even fireworks over the water and night and you can see in perfect detail the ripples on the sea, reflection on the water and each sparkle coming from the firework, it's really quite impressive.

The zoom is amazing, better than I expected. I was able to snap picture, even more amazing when I think back to my old camera (which had a 2x optical zoom) and what I thought was okay, seeing this I can't believe I didn't upgrade sooner.

Even on the highest and best quality settings, photos are coming out at between 4mb and 8mb each, which gives you plenty of detail but leaves plenty of room on a standard sized 2 or 4GB SD Card) for hundreds of photos.

The battery lasts for ages, I was worried about this and actually bought a spare. I'm sure it will come in handy on long days out but so far I've just not needed it, been snapping photos for hours and it's still half full.

Overall it's just better than I was expecting, even after hours of research and comparison I was pleasantly surprised by how good this is. If like me you're looking for a camera which will let you take better pictures than you should be able to, easily, at a great price and be able to zoom in to snap things you can't even see with the naked eye, then you could do a lot worse than the Olympus SP-810UZ.

Below are a list of accessories I've bought to go with this camera which I've found out the hard way, are better than the ones amazon recommend that you buy! In relation to the case, the Lowepro Apex 100AW case comes with a removable shoulder strap, comes with a rain cover which pulls out from the bottom, is the perfect size to find in the camera and has just about enough space for a spare memory cartridge (in a dedicated compartment just for memory!), a spare battery, the neck strap and a cleaning pen.

Lowepro Apex 100AW Shoulder Bag For Digital Cameras/Camcorders - Black
OP/TECH E-Z Comfort Strap - Black
Hama Lens Cleaning Pen
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