The Olympus SP-620UZ is a bit different to a lot of super zoom or bridge digital cameras. It is basically a simple point and shoot camera with an extra long lens. So if all you want is plenty of zoom power, but you don't want lots of advanced features the SP-620UZ could be a good choice for you. Why pay for features you may never use?
Aside from the long lens key features include High Definition Movies, 16 megapixels and a 3 inch LCD screen. This is all fairly standard stuff for this type of camera.
Compared with other super zoom or bridge digital cameras the SP-620UZ has the following:
The SP-620UZ is a good camera to buy if your main requirements are plenty of zoom, ease of use and keeping the price down.
Megapixels and Zoom
The SP-620UZ has 16 megapixels and a 21x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 25 - 525mm in 35mm format. What this means is that the lens gives you great flexibility. It is able to cover more or less any typical photo opportunity from wide scene landscapes to distant subjects.
Images can be stored on SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. You can also use Eye-Fi cards. These give you Wi-Fi capabilities to other devices.
Power comes from four AA batteries. This is an area where this camera is different to many others. Most cameras use rechargeable lithium ion batteries.
You can shoot High Definition Movies at 720p. The maximum recording time is 29 minutes for each video clip. To record HD video you will need to use either SDHC or SDXC memory cards of class 6 or above.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
Olympus have built in a number of pre programmed scene modes. These are: Portrait, Beauty, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Pet (cat) and Pet (dog).
For close up work there is a super macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject.
Panorama and 3D
If you are looking for something different you can try either the panorama mode or some 3D photography.
Image Stabilisation will work for both still images and for movies. When taking still pictures this should help to reduce any blur. In movie mode it helps to make the movie look smoother.
Picture Quality Summary
Picture quality is very good for this level of digital camera. It coped well with all the tests.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The SP-620UZ handles the glare from the sun well. This helps it to show a bit more detail in the reflective areas of the boats than is often seen. Focusing across the photo is good. Any noise in areas of light shade is also kept to a minimum. This improves the definition showing in those areas.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Zooming right out to squeeze in the widest possible scene is always a tough test. Parts of this scene are very distant from the camera. The SP-620UZ copes admirably with the scene and produces a shot that is sharper than average. There is also a lot less fall off in focusing away from the centre than a lot of cameras show.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
If you look at your shots taken with this camera on a computer screen and expand them to full size you will probably notice some purple fringing. This is where a purple line is added to the side of objects. Although this is more obvious with this camera than it is with a lot of others it is not to the level where it is likely to show up in prints.
Taking the first four test shots into account the SP-620UZ has produced a set of sharp photos. In this shot focusing is maintained as you move towards the edges of the shot.
Moving in much closer for the portrait shot the SP-620UZ does a good job. The majority of digital cameras are able to focus perfectly in these conditions. That is the case here and the camera also manages to add a touch of colour too.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
Pop up flash units tend to have extra power and range over ones that are built into the camera body. Despite having extra power at its disposal the SP-620UZ dos not overpower the picture with too much light. It is able to accurately work out how much light is required.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
This is another very impressive shot. The camera manages to make the most of the light that is available. It is a much brighter picture than many cameras mange to produce in these lighting conditions.
Cameras like the SP-620UZ with physically larger lenses tend to perform better in macro mode than smaller compact cameras. That is true with this camera. If you are very serious about close up photography you would be best advised to buy a Digital SLR. If on the other hand you are looking to take some decent close up shots now and again this camera is perfectly capable of that.
The colours produced by the SP-620UZ have a lighter look to them than a lot of cameras produce. Looking through the test pictures this is most noticeable in the second outdoor shot and the picture of the building. In the second test shot the sky is a lighter blue than other cameras tested at the same time. The brickwork on the building has less colour to it as well. Colours are a matter of personal taste, so you may prefer the more understated colours this camera produces.
You are unlikely to see any noise in outdoor photos taken in good lighting. Noise is only likely to show up in areas of heavy shade or when you are using the camera in lowlight.
Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
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Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100
The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.
Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review
Canon Powershot SX40 HS Rating 85/100
Your decision to buy the Canon Powershot SX40 HS is likely to be based on whether or not you prefer the simplicity and lower price of a digital camera with a fixed lens or whether you prefer the ultimate flexibility of a Digital SLR. If you prefer a camera where one lens covers just about all photo opportunities then the Powershot SX40 HS is hard to beat. There are no real issues with picture quality and it has a set of features that few other models can match. Recommended.
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Review Date: July 2012
The Olympus SP-620 is a very good buy if you want lots of zoom and ease of use. It may not have many frills, but it takes a decent picture in reasonable light or within flash range. You get a lot of lens power for the price. It does its job with a minimum of fuss.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
109.7 x 74.3 x 73.7mm
SD / SDHC / SDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
Olympus have based the design on a Digital SLR. There is a large rounded grip area on the front to wrap your fingers round. If you place your left hand around the lens barrel you should find the camera is supported perfectly. All of this helps you to keep the camera steady. This should lead to sharper, blur free pictures.
The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera. There are two advantages to this. The first is that the flash is well out of the way of stray fingers. The second is that this increases the distance between the flash and the lens. This can reduce red eye in portrait photos.
LCD Screen Quality
The LCD screen quality is about average. There was no problem viewing the screen during testing.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
Compared with other digital cameras the SP-620UZ is quite rapid when it comes to taking single shots. This is true when flash is used as well. It is also fast to turn on and take the first picture.
Build quality appears to be fine. Sure it is not the greatest quality camera ever made, but Olympus have produced a fairly solid camera.
On the top of the camera is the on / off button, the shutter button and a ring for controlling zoom.
On the back of the camera is a button for shooting a movie. Further down is the main control area. This has controls for reviewing images, changing the information displayed on the LCD screen, confirming a setting, deleting an image, accessing the menu and getting help. There is also a wheel to speed up selecting menu options.