Pros flexible, convenient, great pics, ease of use, not bulky at all
Cons small for big hands
Summary This is my first Olympus. After having cameras that were too simple with not enough options (point and shoot) and too complicated and beyond my skillset (digital SLR), this is the perfect blend of each. In fact, what I was doing for a while was carrying both my Fuji 2800 and my Nikon D70. Now, in one small convenient package, I can use the manual settings when I have the time and inclination, but the auto settings are a cinch for quick photos -- and in both cases the pictures are outstanding! If you need the capability to be able to take quick auto photos at a moment's notice, but also want carefully and precisely composed creative shots at other times, then this is the camera for you. I'm looking forward to the results when I get a hold of the available macro and tele lenses. I've had some great cameras, but picture-taking across the board has never been easier in one powerful product. Excuse my exhuberance, but I'm really pleased with how well this camera fits my needs.
Pros resolution, dimensions
Cons power supply, autofocus
Summary Of course, as a Pro, I’ve shot quite a bit in digital but this is my own…so...having been bitten by the digital bug I got myself the Olympus SP-350 (over the A-620 and S3-IS). My priorities were Image Quality and Resolution.
Serious power-supply issues forced me to return the digicam. The power indicator blinked red after just 20 shots (hi-res RAW mode) even with 2300mAh Ni-MH rechargeables (Canon NB-2AH). The “large” LCD screen sucked most of the juice. Reviews on Cnet also pointed in the same direction. A week later I took it back from the shop and upgraded the camera's firmware through Olympus’s website. The power problems simply vanished! In fact I’ve been running this camera for the last 5 days on the same pair of Ni-MH rechargeables in fairly intense shooting schedules.
Autofocus is inadequate even in moderately lit areas. It appears the SP-350 needs a proper contrasty subject to latch on to, even if there’s sufficient brightness. This proved very troublesome for macro shots and I always switch to MF, at the closest (2cm) setting. The optical viewfinder is useless for accurate framing, showing less than what the lens actually captures…coupled with irritating parallax error!
One very good point with Olympus is the total lack of colour fringing around the highlights and contrast edges... backlit shots come out crystal-clear. Fringing is very apparent with compacts from other manufacturers (including D-SLRs), even at low magnifications. Fringing ruins edge clarity and is very noticeable in large prints.
Why is no one's talking about it? Or are they simply not experienced enough to detect such anomalies in the images...
I wonder which other compact digicam offers the RAW format. I shoot RAW as far as possible, then convert directly to tiff. A plugin is available to process the RAW files (.orf) directly in Photoshop but Olympus’s own software gives better results.
Macro limit is 2.0cm. Canon's models are much better here (S3-IS has 0.0 cm macro). This 2.0cm limit is inadequate for true macro but, with a usable resolution of 8mp, the SP-350 allows you to easily enlarge parts of the image (during post-production), achieving an amazing close-up.
Another interesting feature the 50-ISO setting. This gives near-noiseless images. The hotshoe is a boon for flash work. I connect my ring flash for superb macro shots and use regular flash units for bounce lighting.
The smallest aperture is f/8 which is inadequate. DOF is insufficient for detailed shots but works fine for portraits. f/8 doesn’t cut flash enough - had to dampen the ring flash with x-ray sheets to reduce intensity!
Pros Small, good quality pictures.
Cons Devours batteries faster than you recharge them.
Summary We use rechargeable batteries, but that is not even enough to keep this thing going. We have had several digital cameras (my wife is a writer and photographer).We have used this thing for 4 months, but want to take it back. Cannot travel with it unless you carry a suitcase full of batteries. You'd better do a search on this camera and its battery usage before you plunk down your money.
Pros The design, easy to use contorls and large screen
Cons Storage card not included and no Olympus case
Summary A wonderful litle gem that carries many flavors of a 35mm camera. Ammenities such as flash attachment, built in lens cover, focus/zoom/shutter on one button, a large lcd screen, one hand grip (non slip and easy to use) make this camera a best buy. Picture quality is tops and pictures can be taken using the built in view finder (can any one say sun light) or the large 2.5 lcd. A must have in the 8 mega-pixel market.
Pros Tons of features for a mini Prosumer
Cons Battery life, focus times, redeye!!
Summary Thought I'd try Oly's, had 2 Kodak's and a Canon. 8yrs of digicam ownership. Some features concerning battery life on Nimh's and inability to focus indoors on stationary objects WITH an assit lamp are not allowable. Redeye is very bad,unusable,expensive flash unit only fix. Feel this camera was released before it was fully developed.
Do not trust brand for that reason.