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Olympus goes ultra-small with 20x zoom SP-565 UZ
by David Rasnake -  8/24/2008

Olympus has taken the performance and specs of one of our favorite ultrazooms, the SP-570 UZ, and put it all in a more compact, carry-able package: the Olympus SP-565 UZ.

Olympus SP-565 UZ

Utilizing the same 10 megapixel sensor and 20x, 26-520mm equivalent zoom lens seen in the larger SP-570, the SP-565 measures only 4.6 by 3.3 by 3.2 inches and weighs in at 13.2 ounces.

Olympus SP-565 UZ

According to Olympus, the SP-565 was developed in an attempt to make the performance of an ultrazoom camera more "portable and approachable." The resulting device is not much larger than a conventional compact digicam, but packs in one of the most wide-ranging zoom lenses currently available on any camera regardless of size.

Olympus SP-565 UZ

Although it retains the SP-570's manual controls (including aperture and shutter priority modes), the SP-565 emphasizes a more point-and-shoot user experience, with 33 scene presets, face detection capable of tracking up to 16 faces in a single frame, Shadow Adjustment Technology that compensates for high-contrast and backlit scenes, and a Perfect Shot Preview function that allows shooters to preview the effects of settings changes and processing options before shooting.

The SP-565 is also the latest camera capable of capturing images before the shutter release is pressed. A new Pre-Capture system works in conjunction with the SP-565's high-speed shooting mode, beginning to buffer reduced resolution frames in the 13.5 fps High-Speed Sequential Shooting mode as soon as focus is locked. The camera automatically preserves the last ten frames recorded before the shutter release is pressed, making it possible to capture action unfolding prior to actually snapping a picture.

Olympus SP-565 UZ

A 2.5-inch LCD with 230,000-dot resolution and an electronic viewfinder work in tandem to provide visibility for shot composition in any light. Olympus's Dual Image Stabilization, which includes a sensor-shifting mechanical stabilization system, is essentially a requirement for utilizing the SP-565's full zoom range without a tripod.

Olympus has yet to completely abandon its proprietary xD-Picture Card memory type, but as with most recent releases from the company, the SP-565 includes an adapter for using the more common, mobile device friendly microSD memory format as well. Four AAs continue to provide power for Olympus's latest ultrazoom, with an advertised 410-shot life promising some fairly serious power consumption improvements compared to previous models in this series.

From where we sit, the reworking of Olympus's flagship ultrazoom into the smaller and lighter SP-565 UZ makes a lot of sense for a company that's actively working to return to its heritage of building compact, high-function photographic equipment (the E-420 DSLR and Olympus's joint-venture Micro Four Thirds compact sensor/lens mount technology being two recent examples). Expect some solid head-to-head competition with Fujifilm's recently reworked compact ultrazoom, the FinePix S2000HD, as well when both these cameras make it to market.

Expect a street price just under $400 when the SP-565 UZ hits stores in October.

Olympus SP-565 UZ Specifications:

Sensor 10.0 megapixel, 1/2.33" CCD
Zoom 20x (26-520mm) zoom, f/2.8-4.5
LCD/Viewfinder 2.5", 230K-pixel HyperCrystal LCD
Sensitivity ISO 64-6400 (ISO 3200-6400 at reduced resolution)
Shutter Speed 15-1/2000 seconds
Shooting Modes Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, My Mode, Scene, Movie
Scene Presets Portrait, Landscape, Landscape with Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene with Portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select 1, Shoot & Select 2, Beach and Snow, Pre-Capturing Movie, Underwater Snapshot, Snow, Smile Shot
White Balance Settings iESP 2 Auto, One-Touch, Daylight, Overcast, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3, Incandescent, White Balance Compensation
Metering Modes Digital ESP, Spot, Center-Weighted
Focus Modes iESP Auto, Spot AF, Face Detection AF, Full-Time AF, Selective AF, Target AF, AF Lock, Predictive AF, Manual, Macro, Super Macro
Drive Modes Not Specified
Flash Modes Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill, Forced Off
Self Timer Settings
12 seconds, Off
Memory Formats xD-Picture Card (microSD with included adapter)
Internal Memory
48 MB
File Formats JPEG, RAW, AVI
Max. Image Size 3648x2736
Max. Video Size
640x480, 30 fps
Zoom During Video Not Specified
Battery 4 AA batteries
Connections USB 2.0, AV output, DC input
Additional Features Dual Image Stabilization, TruePic III processor, Face Detection, Perfect Shot Preview, Shadow Adjustment Technology