Olympus SP-560 UZ Review

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Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Review posted 11/5/2007


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Olympus' new SP-560 Ultra Zoom is a powerful and versatile Super-zoom model, that features an exposure mode for just about every shooting situation. The compact SP-560 UZ blends ease-of-use with an industry- leading focal range (27mm wide-angle 18x optical zoom), an 8-megapixel image sensor and the latest Olympus technologies to deliver superior image quality and performance.

The key component to quality imaging is precision optics, and the SP-560 UZ delivers. This camera's versatile yet compact 18x super telephoto zoom gets users close to the action. At the same time, the wide- angle (27mm) lens captures more in each frame. Its super-macro capabilities capture the subtlest details from as close as one centimeter. The compact lens construction combines high-refractive, aspherical and extra-dispersion (ED) lens elements to deliver edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity. The bright, F2.8-4.5 lens provides the equivalent of 27-486mm focal length with 100x total seamless zoom (5.6x digital zoom).

Shooting outdoors in bright daylight can be tricky because of the extreme contrast between dark shadowed areas and bright sunlit areas - while the human eye is capable of detecting the nuances between dark and light and all the details in between, image sensors traditionally have not been quite as sensitive. The SP-560 UZ addresses this challenge head-on with Shadow Adjustment Technology, which compensates for extreme contrast where the shadow areas are underexposed and lack visible detail. With this technology, users can preview and capture images with the same contrast as their naked eye.

Olympus' enhanced TruePic III Image Processor produces crystal clear photos using all the pixel information for each image to deliver superior picture quality with more accurate colors, true-to-life flesh tones and faster processing speeds. TruePic III also captures sharp images at high ISO settings, which are traditionally associated with increasing image noise or producing grainy photos.

The SP-560 UZ utilizes Dual Image Stabilization technology, which enables users to take crisp, clear pictures in virtually any lighting situation - adjusting for camera shake and a moving subject. Olympus' mechanical Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization keeps images sharp by adjusting the CCD to compensate for camera shake, which often occurs when zooming in on your subject and in low-light conditions when shutter speeds are slower. Digital Image Stabilization freezes the action with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds that prevent blur caused by a moving subject.

Capable of capturing images at an incredible 15 frames per second (image size reduced), the SP-560 UZ offers the highest burst rate of any compact digital camera. The inclusion of Pre-Capture technology, which works in conjunction with High-Speed Sequential Shooting, enables users to capture the action before and after fully pressing the shutter button. Pre-Capture begins working as soon as the focus is locked, automatically archiving five frames in the camera's buffer memory prior to the shutter release - virtually guaranteeing that none of the action will be missed even if the user's reaction time is slow. Perfect for situations where timing is essential, such as photographing a tennis player serving, children playing or a whale breaching.

This model also includes Olympus' Bright Capture Technology. A brightened preview on the LCD enables simple composition; and with specific scene modes for high sensitivity settings (up to ISO 3200) and rapid auto-focus, even fast-action photos can be captured under low levels of available light.

OLYMPUS Master 2 software provides the ultimate in digital imaging management. An intuitive user interface makes downloading to your computer quick and simple, and images are easily organized by folders or albums and searchable by date in Calendar view. Also, with one-click editing tools, such as red-eye removal, images can be touched up before printing or e-mailing. Online support, templates, firmware upgrades and other user services are just a mouse-click away. Use the optional muvee™ Theater Pack to create professional quality slide shows and DVDs from your pictures using any of several built-in templates.


SP-560 UltraZoom Features:

  • 8-Megapixel CCD imager for up to 3,264 x 2,448 pixel images
  • 18x wide angle zoom (27 - 486mm) with Dual Image Stabilization
  • JPEG and uncompressed RAW image formats
  • Shadow Adjustment Technology
  • Accurate AutoFocus system with Face Detection mode
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Hi-res 2.5" color LCD with realtime histogram and 5x playback zoom
  • 33 shooting modes including Auto, Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual and creative scene modes for beginners
  • 15fps High-Speed Sequential Shooting (1.2MP mode only)
  • AVI format movie mode w/sound 640x480 at 30 fps
  • Digital iESP metering, Auto Multi-Pattern TTL, Spot Metering, Center-weighted options
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: iESP2 Auto, 6 presets, custom WB
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2000 second
  • Noise reduction for shutter speeds of 1/2 sec. or longer
  • Selectable ISO settings from 50 to 6400 (6400 @ 3MP only)
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Powered by 4 standard AA type batteries
  • USB Direct-print with any PictBridge compatible printer
  • USB connectivity for PC and Mac
  • 47MB of built-in memory plus optional xD-Picture Card media slot


Availability The SP-560 UZ is available now with an MSRP of US$449, and ships with: Neck Strap, WIN/Mac USB Cable, Audio/Video Cable, four AA Batteries, Manual, Warranty Card and OLYMPUS Master 2 Software CD- ROM.


Physical Views



Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom





Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

The SP-560 compared in size to a standard CD disc.



Olympus SP-560 UltraZoom

The SP560 UZ and the 8-megapixel (also 18x Wide zoom) Panasonic DMC-FZ18.




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Features & Controls


SP-560 UZ Specifications

Imager 8.0 Megapixels (effective), 1/2.35" CCD (1.1cm)
Lens 4.68 - 84.24 mm (27 - 486 mm equivalent in 35mm photography),
14 Lenses in 11 Groups, 4 Aspherical Lenses, 2 ED Lenses
Zoom 18x Optical Zoom + 5.6x Digital Zoom (Seamless to 100x)
Aperture Range F2.8 - F4.5
LCD 2.5" (6.4cm) LCD with Backlight Boost Button, approx. 230,000 pixels
5 Steps Brightness Adjustment
Viewfinder Electronic View Finder with Dioptic Correction
Focus System CCD Contrast Detection
Focus Range Normal mode: Wide: 3.9" - infinity (0.1m - infinity), Tele: 47.2" - infinity (1.2m - infinity)
Macro mode: Wide: 3.9" - infinity (0.1m - infinity), Tele: 47.2" - infinity (1.2m - infinity)
Super Macro mode: 0.4" - infinity (1cm - infinity)
Focus Mode iESP Auto, Spot AF, Face Detection AF, Full-Time AF, Selective AF Target, AF Lock, Predictive AF, Manual
Shutter Speed Auto: 1/2000 sec. -1/2 sec. (up to 4 sec. in Night Scene mode)
Manual: 1/2000 sec. - 15 sec.
Bulb: up to 8 min."
ISO Auto, High Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 (equivalent)
Metering Mode Digital ESP Metering, Spot Metering, Center-Weighted Metering, Face Detection AE (when Face Detection AF is selected)
White Balance iESP 2 Auto, One-Touch, Presets (Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, and 3 Fluorescents), White Balance Compensation
Exposure Compensation ±2 EV steps in 1/3 EV steps
Recording Modes Still Image: JPEG, RAW
Movie: AVI Motion JPEG
Adjustment Resolutions 3,264 x 2,448 (RAW/SHQ / HQ,) 3,264 x 2176 (3:2, SHQ/HQ)
2,560 x 1,920 (SQ1)
2,304 x 1,728 (SQ1)
2,048 x 1,536 (SQ1)
1,600 x 1,200 (SQ2)
1,280 x 960 (SQ2)
1,024 x 768 (SQ2)
640 x 480 (SQ2)
1,920 x 1,080 (16:9)
Shooting Modes 33 Shooting Modes;
Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, My Mode, Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization, Scene Modes (1. PORTRAIT, 2. LANDSCAPE, 3. LANDSCAPE+PORTRAIT, 4. SPORT, 5. NIGHT SCENE, 6. NIGHT+PORTRAIT, 7. INDOOR, 8. CANDLE, 9. SELF PORTRAIT, 10. AVAILABLE LIGHT PORTRAIT, 11. SUNSET, 12. FIREWORKS, 13. CUISINE, 14. BEHIND GLASS, 15. DOCUMENTS, 16.AUCTION, 17.SHOOT & SELECT1, 18. SHOOT & SELECT2, 19. BEACH, 20.SNOW, 21. SMILE SHOT, 22. UNDERWATER WIDE1, 23. UNDERWATER WIDE2, 24. UNDERWATER MACRO, 25. QUICK SHUTTER), Movie
Panorama Modes Up to 10 frames automatically stitchable with OLYMPUS Master software when using Olympus brand xD-Picture Card™
Sequential Shooting High-speed2: 15 frames per second, 40 frames in SQ2 mode
High-speed1: 7 frames per second, 23 frames in SQ1
Normal speed: 1.2 frames per second, 7 frames in HQ mode
Bracketing: Exposure Bracketing, 5 Frames
Interval Shooting
Shooting Assist Functions Shooting Guide, Perfect Shot Preview, Histogram, Frame Assist, AF Lock, AE Lock
Movie Mode AVI Movie with Sound;
640x480/30fps (SHQ)
320x240/15fps (HQ)
160x120/15fps (SQ)
Image Processing TruePic™ III Image Processor
Noise Reduction Set automatically at shutter speeds of 0.5 second or longer
Image Playback Still Image: Single, Index Display (4/9/16/25), Up to 10x Enlargement, Slideshow, Rotation, Calendar, Histogram

Movie: Normal, Reverse, Frame-by-Frame, Index

Playback Edit Effects Still Image: Red-Eye Fix, Lighting Fix, Resize, Rotation, Black & White, Sepia, Frame, Label, Calendar, Layout, Expression Edit, Face Focus, RAW Edit

Movie: Frame Index, Movie Edit, Still Image Cropping

Flash Built-in
Flash Modes Auto (for low light and backlit conditions)
Red-Eye Reduction
Fill-in
Fill-in + Red-Eye Reduction
Slow Synchro Off
Flash Working Range Wide: 0.98ft (0.3m) - 21ft (6.4m) at ISO 400
Tele: 3.9ft (1.2m) - 13.1ft. (4m) at ISO 400
Selftimer 12 Seconds
Memory 47MB Internal Memory
Removable Media Card xD-Picture Card™ (1GB, 2GB)
Outer Connectors USB Connector, Audio/Video Output, DC Input
Auto-connect USB USB 2.0 High-Speed (USB Mass Storage)
System Requirements Auto-Connect USB: Windows® 2000/XP/VISTA with USB port, Mac OS X v10.3 or later with USB port
Software: Windows® 2000PRO/XP/VISTA, Mac OS X v10.3 or later
Operating Environment Operation: 32° - 104°F (0° - 40°C), 30% - 90% humidity
Storage: -4° - 140°F (-20° - 60°C), 10% - 90% humidity
Power Supply 4 AA Batteries, AC Adapter (C-7AU)
Size 4.6"W x 3.1"H x 3.1"D (116mm x 78.5mm x 78mm)
Weight 12.9oz (365g) without batteries and media card




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