Sure, the compact Olympus SP-590 is the hot ticket these days when it comes to Olympus's ultrazoom collection. But interest in the manufacturer's newer, smaller long-lens technology has recently resulted in some fantastic clearance and used deals on last year's full-scale version, the Olympus SP-570 UZ.
With a 20x wide-angle lens and a 10 megapixel sensor, the SP-570 offers all of the typical features of a modern ultrazoom: manual exposure control, a large LCD and electronic viewfinder, even a flash hot-shoe. No, it doesn't serve up the ultra-long lenses of this year's crop of serious point-and-shoots, and you won't be capturing any HD movies, either. Other than some finnicky controls and a general concern for the camera's noise suppression in the upper reaches of its sensitivity range – hardly a problem unique to Olympus, we should note – the SP-570 impressed us considerably when we reviewed the camera around this time last year.
Sure, performance expectations can change a lot in the camera world over the course of a year. But if you can find a deal on one, the SP-570 might just be your ticket to 590-like performance at a recession-beating price.
But as always, don't take our word for it. See what the following contributors to DCR's user opinions had to say on the subject.
Submitted by felix on 6/2/2008
PROS: Excellent macro. Good color. Wide zoom starts at 26 mm. RAW. Hotshoe. Electronic zoom ring. Good stabilizer. In camera RAW development.
CONS: Face recognition hinders instead of helps (can be disabled). Electronic zoom ring should be moved gently with small movements, not fast. Wobbly zoom lens; I would not trust to attach a filter to it. xD H card or M+ card needed and they are not yet [readily] available.
OVERALL SCORE: 7/10
Submitted by Burt Armstrong on 5/8/2008
PROS: Good image quality (much improved over SP-550). Image stabalization is very effective. Great quality movie clips. Color banlance very nice for a P&S camera. If you expect results like [those] from the Olympus E-3 or Nikon D-300 [from the SP-570] you will be disappointed, but for what it is, the results are extremely good. Great red eye reduction tool as well.
CONS: No option for filters. Small diameter lens picks up more atmosphereric distortion at full zoom for far away objects when compared to a long DSLR lens.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10
Submitted by Graeme Shaw on 4/20/2008
PROS: Long zoom is handy and the camera is fairly small and portable. LED at back is large and easy to use.
CONS: IQ is quite terrible IMHO. Lower light situations produce noise quickly as the ISO rises. Image stabilization is really not effective and images are almost all somewhat soft or blurred. Color balance out of the box is far from accurate. Blown highlights, blue fringing at high contrast margins in shots, and hunting for focus in low light situations add to the grab bag of issues optically. The electronic zoom ring is a lagging pain in the backside to operate. It is totally useless in action situations. [...] If you are looking at a long zoom camera this seems a poor choice [...].
OVERALL SCORE: 6/10
Submitted by Randy Browning on 4/18/2008
PROS: Zoom, display quality, wide angle, clear and precise images at any resolution, movie features, high speed ability at 3M, image stabilization, face recognition, hot shoe, true pix III processor, raw mode and camera body size. I had the Lumix FZ18K for three months, and although a good camera it was weak in areas where Olympus has filled many of those holes. My main camera is a Canon 5D, so I don't worship in the cult following of any specific manufacture, I just buy the most full featured for the dollar. Prior to my Canon I owned the Nikon D80.
CONS: Plastic feel, no threading on lens to allow for filter, XD card only. Come on Olympus, either expand the card size or add CF.
OVERALL SCORE: 8/10