The Olympus SH-25MR has 16 megapixels and a 12.5x zoom lens. With GPS tracking and the ability to shoot Full High Definition Movies this type of camera is popular with people taking holidays or travelling owing to the flexibility its features offer in a relatively compact body.
Compared with other travel type cameras the SH-25MR is somewhat cheaper than a lot of the competition. One of the reasons for this is that the more expensive models tend to have longer zoom lenses.
The SH-25MR has the following:
The SH-25MR is a cheaper option if you are looking to buy a digital camera that gives you some extra zoom power. It also has a few features such as USB charging and multi framing that are difficult to find with other brands.
Megapixels and Zoom
The SH-25MR has 16 megapixels and a 12.5x zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 300mm in 35mm format.
You can use SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. In addition to these standard memory cards the S-25MR is also compatible with Eye-Fi cards. These give you the ability to transfer images by Wi-Fi.
As with the vast majority of digital cameras power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. Olympus supplies both a battery and a charger with the SH-25MR. One advantage over cameras from other brands is the ability to charge the camera via a USB computer port.
The SH-25MR can shoot full High Definition Movies at a resolution of 1080 60p. Stereo sound can be recorded. Olympus have equipped the camera with Image Stabilisation for movies as well as for still images. This comes in particularly useful if you are shooting a video while walking. You can also take a still image while shooting a movie.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
Olympus have included the following predefined shooting modes: Portrait, Landscape, Hand-held Starlight, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Pet (cat), Pet (dog), 3D and Backlight HDR.
There is a super macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject for close up shots.
GPS tagging will record where you were in the world when a picture was taken. There is also an electronic compass available.
Touch Screen for Focusing
To quickly select a point in a scene you wish to focus on you can touch the LCD screen.
10 Frames Per Second Burst Mode
Olympus have added a fast burst mode. This comes into its own if you are photographing a fast moving subject.
As well as standard 2D photos you can also create 3D still images.
Multi framing is a relatively new feature and one that it not widely available on other models. When multi framing is turned on two pictures of the same scene are taken. One with the lens zoomed right out to give you the widest possible view of the scene and one with the lens zoomed right in on a distant part of the scene.
Picture Quality Summary
With this type of digital camera picture quality tends to be a clear step up on more basic, cheaper cameras. There is not usually a great deal of difference in the quality offered by cameras in this category, but if you increase print size or view images at full size on a computer screen you will see subtle differences.
I reviewed this camera at the same time as the Canon Powershot SX260 HS and Panasonic Lumix TZ30 and the SH-25MR was the weakest out the three for overall quality. Perhaps that is not surprising as it is a fair bit cheaper than the other two models.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The SH-25MR gets off to a solid start. The shot is sharp and the level of detail showing where the sun strikes the boats is good. Definition is also above average in areas of light shade such as around the names of the boats.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
When the zoom lens is zoomed all the way out a lot of digital cameras find it difficult to keep focusing sharp from edge to edge. In this instance quality is a little bit below what I am used to seeing from the better cameras in this category, although quality is still good enough to make reasonable sized prints.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Using the full capacity of the zoom see an improvement in image quality. There is a small amount of purple fringing showing in the shot, but this is unlikely to be to a level that will be seen unless you are making extra large prints.
When the lens of the SH-25MR is not pushed to its limits it performs at its best. In this test shot it produces a sharply focus shot showing plenty of detail. The levels of sharpness are more or less retained as you move out towards the edges of the shot.
The SH-25MR struggles with the lighting and produces quite a dark picture. It is not often that a digital camera struggles with this portrait shot.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
This shot is noticeably brighter than a lot of cameras produce. There is a downside to this as the light from the flash washes some of the colour from the face. So you have a choice of going for a camera that brings out a bit of extra brightness or one that shows a bit of extra colour.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Some cameras can produce a blue tint when working in artificial light. It is good to see that the SH-25MR is able to compensate for the lighting used and ensure the background colour is accurate. You will need a fair amount of light when using your camera indoors to avoid flash being required. This camera acts performs well in these conditions.
Macro quality with this type of camera is usually good. That is the case with the SH-25MR. You should be able to take pleasing close up snapshots.
Colours are slightly softer than some other brands produce. This can help to give your photos a more natural look. How vivid you like your colours to be is a matter of personal taste, so if you would prefer more punch you may be better suited with a camera from Panasonic, Canon or Sony.
On the whole noise levels are controlled well. As mentioned with the first test photo the detail showing in areas of light shade is good. Noise does creep in when working in lowlight and when ISO is increased to ISO 800, but as long as you are using your camera in reasonable light you should not see much evidence of noise.
Nikon Coolpix S9300 Rating 86/100
For a camera that is small enough to take anywhere the Nikon Coolpix S9300 has a lot of features packed into it. If you are planning to take a holiday GPS tracking will tell you where you were when a picture was taken. The length of the zoom lens also gives you plenty of scope when it comes to picture opportunities. Although there is plenty of completion in this category the picture quality on offer here combined with the features makes this camera very attractive indeed. Recommended.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix S9300 Review
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Rating 86/100
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is one of the very best digital cameras in this category. In fact if you are happy to miss out on features such as 3D photography and 360 degree panoramas it is very hard to beat. It has a great set of features packed into its relatively compact body size and picture quality helps to make it stand out from the competition. Although it is one of the more expensive cameras in this field it still offers good value for money.
Read Review: Canon Powershot SX260 HS Review
Sony DSC HX20V Rating 85/100
There is a lot to like about the Sony Cybershot DSC HX20V. As well as being crammed with features it is a very reliable when it comes to taking pictures. It can handle most photo opportunities without breaking sweat. The amount of zoom power and other features available gives you a great deal of flexibility. Competition between similar cameras is very tough, but this model performs very well when put up against its main rivals. I would happily own this camera.
Read Review: Sony DSC HX20V Review
Review Date: May 2012
The Olympus SH-25MR has a lot going for it. It is cheaper than most other cameras in this category. There are compromises that have been made to keep the price down, but it may be a case that some of the compromises are unimportant to you.
To start with there are no manual exposure controls. Although you lose the ability to take full control over the way your photos look, the upside is that if you are looking for straightforward operation then you are not paying for features you will never use. Another compromise is the amount of zoom available. With this camera the amount of zoom does not match up to the more highly priced models. For example some similar sized digital cameras give you 20x zoom as opposed to the 12.5x zoom available here.
Picture quality is good enough for making snapshot sized prints and the SH-25MR performs perfectly well in most situations, but if you are looking for ultimate picture quality you will need to be prepared to pay more.
The big plus points are that you get features such as GPS, and High Definition Movies at a lower price.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
109.2 x 61.8 x 30.6mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
Although the SH-25MR is a relatively compact model it is that bit larger than a typical pocket sized digital camera. This means that there is that much more room to get a hold of the camera. There is room on the back for your thumb and a grip on the front to further enhance handling.
Flash pops up on the top of the camera. This can get in the way of your left hand, but it is easy enough to arc your hand over the flash unit.
LCD Screen Quality
The LCD screen is easy to view. You have the option of displaying the main function settings on the right hand side of the screen. This means you can quickly check how the camera is currently set up and makes it very quick to change a setting.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Response times are one of the SH-MR25's strengths. It compares very well against rival cameras with similar features. Single shot times with and without flash are very impressive indeed. You can also improve the response times of multiple shots by utilising the fast burst mode.
Design and Build Quality
The SH-25MR looks a little like a more traditional camera. There is certainly something about it that set it apart from the typical small digital camera. The camera feels solid and well made.
On the top of the camera is the on / off button, control dial, shutter button and a zoom ring. On the back of the camera is a button to record movies, one to review images and one to access the menu. There is also a circular control area that you can use to change the information displayed on the LCD screen, confirm a setting and delete an image.