Olympus SP-800UZ Review

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Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Good build quality
    • Versatile lens
    • Accurate color reproduction
  • Cons

    • Blurry images at telephoto
    • Slow shot-to-shot time
    • AF problems in dim light

Quick Take

The SP-800UZ is a versatile tool with a 30x optical zoom lens. Enthusiasts will be put off by the lack of a viewfinder and manual controls, and images at full telephoto are often blurry.

The Olympus SP-800UZ is an SLR-like ultrazoom which, like most of the cameras in its class, has a large lens and built-up right hand grip. However, unlike many ultrazooms, which are often referred to as “hybrid” cameras because they have many of the functions of a DSLR in a smaller package, the SP-800UZ is strictly a point and shoot, as it lacks a viewfinder, mode dial and manual control over shutter speed and aperture.

Olympus SP800 Sample Image

This is a departure for Olympus, as its previous SLR-like ultrazooms have all been of the classic “hybrid” type. But even though the SP-800UZ lacks some of the attributes of other ultrazooms, it does have a very long zoom lens with a focal length of 28-840mm (35mm equivalent), or 30x optical zoom. The only other ultrazoom currently available with a 30x optical zoom is the Fuji HS10, covering a focal range from 24-720mm.

Olympus SP800 Sample Image
Wide Angle, 28mm

Olympus SP800 Sample Image
Telephoto, 840mm

In my “First Look,” which appeared a couple of weeks ago, I said I was pleased with certain aspects of the camera but noticed some problems. Now that I’ve had a chance to thoroughly explore the SP-800UZ, let’s see if my initial impressions have been borne out.

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