Pros long zoom and stabilization. fast burst mode,RAW(for you picky people)
Cons In M mode(manual) you cant control exposure compensation but thats its only flaw.
Summary Its a really good camera. It has a huge zoom range of 1cm macro to 18x zoom(100x with digital). The performance is exceptional. At full zoom in dim light performance is still great. The Image Stabilization is great. I had good pictures at 4" shutter lag. It has great burst mode. At 3mp it does 7fps and at 1.2mp it does 15fps. You sacrifice some resolution but its still usable. It also shows you shutter lag before you take the picture and highlights bad settings in red. You should stick to ISO 50 there is no need for higher ISO or using flash(unless pitch black)as long as you turn on stabilization. There are many features ranging from an alarm clock to underwater modes. Overall its a good extremely versatile camera. The EFV is also good for those who were wondering but you should try out yourself, I dont know what your standards on that are.Updated
One thing I forgot was that you sadly need an adapter tube to put on a filter but if you just want to protect the lens the included lens cover will work fine.Updated
The camera is a bit noisy but you shouldnt have to go to a high ISO.Theres no need. The camera shouldnt have 1 second lag. Its usually faster unless its at the extreme Telephoto in very dim light. The camera tops lag at half a second anyway unless you manually change it or are using slow flash. If its slow the IS should take care of it. As posted above Ive used it at speed as slow as 4 seconds without blur(but its hard). 1 or 2 seconds should be easy. As for start up you can make it faster if you take off the start up screen though.
Pros Amazing zoom, macro, high sensitivity ISO
Cons Soft image, slow focus lock in low light, no printed manual.
Summary This was a replacement for a Canon S1IS and I have found the zoom to be exceptionally good. Excellent macro performance. You only have to handle the camera to fall for it. The menu system is very easy to use, fewer buttons than the S1 and the large LCD is very clear. Sadly it does nor swivel. Excellent video performance.
Pros Camera Has Everything I Need. Pictures are great!
Cons Included Strap is very cheap. Use your own hands instead!
Summary This camera is a winner. Much better than Olympus FE series. I am very happy with this camera even with the big price. It is a great value for the dollar.Updated
Excellent Camera, I had a Olympus FE 200 which I trades back to Olympus. Camera was no where the camera the SP 550 is.Updated
I found out the string and lense cover gets in your way when shooting. Do not follow the instructions that comes with this camera when installing the lens cover. I purchased a ring holder that slips over the included strap, and can be removed easy, and then, the cover can be put in your pocket for safe keeping. Its called a Slip Sleeve Key Ring. You can find them a any of the popular hardware super stores.
Pros Zoom ratio is amazing. Great to see a camera that 'starts' at 28mm, ...and then all the way to 504mm? Amazing!
Cons Menu system needs improvement. Sequential shooting, temporary blacks out the screen.
Summary This camera replaces my old Panasonic which had a 12times zoom lens. Most of these cameras with the long zoom lens, starts off at 35mm or 38 mm lens. Having a 28mm on THIS camera opens up a 'wider world', providing you with more options.
Make sure you 'opt' for the 'xd memory card', with 'H' on the front of it. This is the only type of card that will let you use every feature on this camera. If you choose the basic card, which sports an 'M', then you'll loose out on Full Video mode, and the card is much slower. It's well worth the extra $20 or so. Also, make sure you opt for the largest card (which is a 2Gig), as it'll give you a total of 492 pics, at the highest setting.
Camera feels solid, flash is great and colors are very accurate. Stabilization feature on this camera works wonders as well, I was very impressed as my former camera had set a very high standard for me.
This camera works on AA batteries. I personally think this is a major benefit. The best rechargeable batteries (2600 mAh) should provide over 600 shots before the need to recharge. Also, AA batteries can be found anywhere if your rechargeables run out.
I do miss a button on the camera body itself, to take multi pics. To do this, you have to go into the menu of the camera. Also, when taking multi pics, the screen goes dark until you're finished. I'm sure this would be corrected in next years upgrade.
All in all, it's a great camera. With such a large lens, and with a 7mp camera, the possibilities are endless.
Pros Addresses many shortcoming of similar units
Cons Some minor chroming at maximum zoom - NO MANUAL
Summary Having moved from a Olympus C5050 Zoom (which broke!) to the SP550 I was not expecting this much of a leap forward in ability. The zoom is smooth and fast enough considering it's range. If you have the settings correct, which is not a hard task, it will perform admirably in virtually any setting. Advanced features like manual shutter release and RAW push it close to DSLR capabilities and the 7.1MP zoom mean that the digital zoom is more than useful at the extremis of application.
The old C5050 zoom would get upset if you turned it on with the lens cap on. This unit just pushes it off itself. The battery life is amazing with a capability of more than a couple of hundred shots even from 1700mA Nicads. The feel of the unit is sound and the buttons are pleasantly tactile. The LCD is a great size although the digital view finder with Diopter allows me to use it comfortably even though I wear glasses.
Picture quality is seriously good with faultless ability to acurately capture images as diverse as the surface of the moon (yes really) to the fine fur of a Meerkat. I have grinned at the shiny hide captured on a hippo and been impressed at the ability to capture the deep lush pinks of a rose at super macro which are so deep, you cold just sink into them.
Seriously, I cannot imagine what more you might expect from a product in this category. If you want interchangable lenses, buy a DSLR, dont expect a compact pro-sumer model to jump hoops. The only thing really missing, and this really irritates me, is a full manual. Once again you are expected to spend hundreds of dollars only to then have to print the manual off from the PDF file on the accompanying CD rom. As a new user it would be great to take this with me on shoots to find my way about the many features but carrying about a lever arch file with 90+ sheets of instructions is hardly convenient. PLEASE Olympus, stop insulting your customers with this cost saving inconvenience!