"Not so fast..."4.0 starson by greeneyes0154
Pros: FULL Manual Controls, MANY options
Cons: XD of course and batteries
Summary: I think we need to call this camera by what it truly is; an enigma in a realm of copycat point and shoot cameras out there.
When I began my quest to replace my Canon S70 (which I LOST at the beach) I found that I had two must-have parameters; RAW format and full manual controls. That’s actually why I chose not to buy the S80…no RAW. Since I S80 costs around $500 I rationalized that I could actually purchase TWO cameras if I wanted if they came in under the $500.00 budget.
Like the SP-350; I too am an enigma of sorts in the Digital Cameras community. I want everything but don’t realty want to spend too much or commit yet to a DSLR with 4 or more lenses that I have to lug around with me like some photo-dork. And by the way, having owned a film SLR in the 80’s and shot and spent days in darkrooms over the years – I’ve been there done that already with my old SLR film camera – I truly feel that is no longer necessary in this new Digital Era.
Another vegetable that is tossed into my salad is that I own Adobe Photoshop CS2 with Camera RAW. I also recommend the freeware “RawShooter Essentials” that is freely available online – this software supports the Olympus SP-350 RAW format beautifully and is SUCH a great tool for those of us who can’t give up our old darkroom manipulative ways. If you’re anything like me but don’t own CS2 just buy the SP-350 and download Rawshooter and you’ll be in heaven…have fun, I know you will.
So…all that said. Let’s get down to the SP-350. I would say for some people it may well be a lousy camera that is just plain wrong for them. I really don’t see a huge market for it. I mean – who really needs the hotshoe, control, RAW format, and insane level of control this camera gives? Just people like me – and we’re maybe less than 5% of the DCAM community, right? That’s why I realty consider the SP-350 kind of a gift in this baby-shooting, no control, foolproof market. With the SP-350 you can REALLY screw up your photos if you don’t know what you’re doing….I bet they HATE it back at their service department, haha!
If you want a plain old point and shoot stop reading my banter now and don’t buy this Camera. Do what you’re supposed to do and buy a Canon A620…you’ll be happier with that.
I’m also kind of stubborn. I bought one of these online but it had a bad pixel on the CCD which showed in all my photos. I actually exchanged it for a new one because I really have faith in the features and control this thing offers. Got the new one last week…it is PERFECT for me….perfect. Love it to death.
If there is a feature on this camera you don’t like READ THE ADVANCED MANUAL. In all likelihood you can just program it to the MyMode Button and move on with your photo taking in full bliss!
One of the cons with this thing is XD. Why did they use XD? I don’t have time to care…I bought the tricked out 1Gig FASTEST Olympus card online for $60 total with delivery. Is that too much to spend?! Nope – but it is a little slow. Again – for me – not shooting baby photos and little league all day – I don’t really care if it takes a few seconds to process the beautiful 8MP RAW 11meg photos it shoots. I can fire off 90 of them on my1Gig card at a pop….for a photo dork like me (at heart) that’s kind of like having a little film SLR with 3+ rolls of film per day to fire off…GREAT.
Also – the batteries thing is a serious concern. But…again…for me – I just charge up 4 NiCad rechargeable (good ones from Japan which I already owned) and all is well. Before I updated to the 1.3 firmware (just DO IT if you buy this thing and go on) it WAS pretty bad. Now? I shot photos on my kayaking/fishing trip here all day last weekend with my Girlfriend (whilst also messing around with the camera of course!) and shot off my obligatory 90 shots until the card was full with not even so much as a battery low warning indicator showing itself! Never even had to go to the second set of AA’s… That works for me. BUT – this thing’s battery algorithms ARE goofy and sort of unpredictable. If you need something that shoots 350 shots on rechargeable with flash shots (one set) then get a Canon.
I just want to mention briefly now why I also bought the FugiFilm 5200. The 5200 merges well into my madness with DCam’s. It uses the same XD card and the same rechargeable that the SP-350 uses. It’s everything the SP-350 is (RAW, FULL CONJTROL) plus it’s got a 10X lens and it’s really a better more traditional camera all around. Shoots FAST and is very sharp in detail. And I don’t have to carry a bag of lenses around. I use it when I KNOW that I’m going out that do to shoot photos. I take the SP-350 when I want to have fun but still have the awesome power and control to take some great photos if the opportunity should arise.
Oh – the total costs I paid for my entire arrangement: SP350: $267 - $50 mail in rebate, Fuji5200 $265, XD 1 Fastest 1 Gig Card $60, batteries I already owned but you could buy them with a charger for about $30. That’s $542 out of pocket in my case.
Hope this helps and I hope this reaches some of the lost souls of the Dcam audience like me….if there are any others like me out there.