Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Olympus 08/29/05 Press Release


Press Release - August 29, 2005

Olympus Launches Latest Ultra Zoom Digital Camera And Demonstrates The Versatility Of New SP-Series

New SP-500 UZ Ultra Zoom Offers Powerful 10X Optical Zoom, Large 2.5-Inch Premium Size LCD, 6-Megapixel CCD and Advanced Manual Controls

Melville, New York, August 29, 2005 – With the release of its eagerly awaited new ultra zoom digital camera, the SP-500 UZ, Olympus pleases advanced and amateur-level camera aficionados alike. The powerful 10x optical zoom provides users with the focal range to capture stunning close-up shots. Designed with a large, easy-to-view 2.5- inch premium size LCD, both manual and automatic settings and optional add-on accessory lenses, the SP-500 UZ is a highly versatile camera, powerful enough to satisfy the creative needs of the advanced user, and expansive enough to grow as users develop their talent.

"The SP-series cameras are designed to offer an all-in-one camera solution for photographers of all skill levels," said John McGuire, product manager, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "The beauty of the SP-500 UZ ultra zoom digital camera is that it packs a wealth of manual and automatic features and an incredible focal range into a compact, light-weight body design."

Ultra Zoom

Thanks to years of experience crafting Ultra Zoom digital cameras, Olympus is able to deliver a superior designed-to-be-digital 10x optical zoom lens (38mm – 380mm equivalent in 35mm photography) to bring the action closer. The bright, high quality optical system is comprised of eleven elements arranged in seven groups and includes two aspherical lenses, plus an extra-dispersion (ED) glass element typically found exclusively in pro-level SLR cameras.

6.0-Megapixel Image Sensor for Large-Format Prints

The 6.0-megapixel CCD image sensor delivers super high-quality images that are consistently sharp and vivid even in large-format prints.

2.5-Inch Premium Size LCD

Composing and reviewing images is far easier when you don’t have to squint. The 115,000-pixel anti-glare LCD enables you to view images in large and vivid detail. What’s more, you don’t have to download and print images each time you want to share them – you can treat your friends and family to a slide show right on the back of your camera. With the large 2.5-inch LCD, the SP-500 UZ is a veritable walking photo album!

PictBridge Enabled – No Computer Necessary!

The power of PictBridge technology enables photos to be printed directly from the SP-500 UZ to any PictBridge-enabled printer without using a computer. And the new one-touch printing button makes printing a single-step process. Printing and sharing images has never been easier!

Manual Settings for Added Creative Control

The addition of manual Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes gives users versatility and control for optimal performance in any situation. Users can express their creative vision – adjusting the f-stop for detailed portraits with softened backgrounds, or slowing the exposure speed to create the blurred effect of motion.

27 Selectable Shooting Modes

The SP-500 UZ makes it easy to capture great images in a variety of lighting situations with 21 pre-programmed scene modes, such as Night Scene, Indoor Portrait or Cuisine Mode. And with its QuickTime® Movie Mode, the SP-500 UZ can record QVGA (320x240 pixels at 30/15 fps) movies of any length, limited only by the size of the internal memory or xD-Picture Card in the camera.

Accessory Lenses for Expanded Capabilities

The SP-500 UZ features a threaded barrel, which enables easy attachment of add-on wide angle or telephoto conversion lenses for even more creative control. Compatible accessory lenses include the WCON-07 and WCON-08 wide angle lenses, which enable a wider field of view for shooting skylines, landscapes or group shots, and the TCON-17 telephoto conversion lens, which extends the camera’s magnification capability to a 17x optical zoom for bringing subjects dramatically closer, great for shooting sports events, concerts or wildlife.

TruePic TURBO™ for High-Speed Response

Olympus’ exclusive TruePic TURBO™ Image Processor enhances image quality and delivers faster overall processing speeds for rapid startup, shutter release and playback. TruePic TURBO enables the SP-500 UZ to capture information from all 6.0 million pixels with pixel "micro-smoothing" that delivers clearer and more color-accurate photos, even at lower resolutions. The fast startup of less than one second and nearly instant shutter release time ensures a high-speed response so you are always ready to take great pictures. Two Continuous Capture modes: High speed; 1.75 frames per second up to 3 frames and Normal speed; 1.2 frames per second up to 13 frames in HQ mode.

High Quality Olympus Lens Elements

Olympus photos are known worldwide for sharp, vibrant image quality. This is achieved through a number of key technologies, such as Olympus’ new high-refractive-index aspherical lens elements, designed specifically for digital cameras. The lens provides the equivalent of 38 to 380mm focal length, f2.8 – f3.7 in 35mm photography, with 50x combined total zoom (10x optical and 5x digital) to bring the action closer, and a Super Macro Mode that captures details as nuanced as the iridescent petals of a flower, from as close as 3 cm.

In-camera Editing

With in-camera editing features such as Red-Eye Fix, color brightness and saturation adjustments, users can edit photos on the fly – no longer do you have to tool around with computers and editing software for simple image touch-ups!

Style and Ergonomics

With the SP-500 UZ, Olympus returns to the traditional, compact appearance of its traditional range-finder cameras. At a compact size of just 4.2" W x 2.9" H x 2.8" L and only 10.1 ounces, the camera tucks away easily into a pocket or backpack. The addition of an ergonomic grip makes it easy to hold with one hand, for capturing those photo ops when you are, literally, on the run.

Easy USB Auto-Connect

Connecting the SP-500 UZ to a computer is easy with the USB Auto-Connect feature, which connects directly via USB 2.0 cable and requires no software.

OLYMPUS Master™ Software

OLYMPUS Master™ software provides the ultimate in digital imaging management. An intuitive user interface makes downloading to your computer quick and simple, and images are searchable by date or keyword in the Calendar View. And with one-click editing tools, such as red-eye reduction, images can be touched up before printing or emailing. Online support, templates, firmware upgrades and other user services are just a mouse-click away.


The SP-500 UZ will be available in October 2005. It includes: Wrist Strap, Camera WIN/Mac USB Cable, Video cable, 4 AA batteries, Quick Start Guide, Basic Instruction Manual, Warranty Card, CD-ROM with OLYMPUS Master Software, and Camera Advanced manual.

U.S. Pricing

SP-500 UZ Estimated Street Price: .99 (U.S.)


Olympus Imaging America Inc is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.

Olympus Imaging America works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances peoples lives every day. These include:

  • Digital and film cameras

  • Professional SLR Imaging Systems

  • Digital and Microcassette recorders

  • Digital Music Players

  • Personal Photo Printers

  • Digital Print Kiosks

  • Digital Video Projectors

  • Digital Media

  • Binoculars

SP-500 UZ Specifications

Imager6 megapixel effective, 6.37 megapixel gross, 1/2.5" CCD
Lens6.3 - 63 mm (38-380mm equivalent in 35mm photography), 11 lenses in 7 groups, 2 aspherical lens
ZoomSeamless to 50x (10x optical and 5x digital combined)
Aperture Rangef2.8- f3.7 (adjustable in 1/3 EV step)
LCD2.5" color LCD, approx. 115,000 pixels
ViewfinderElectronic viewfinder
Focus SystemCCD Contrast detection
Focus RangeNormal: (W) 0.6m (23.62 inches) - infinity, (T) 2m (78.74 inches)- infinity
Macro mode: (W) 0.07m(2.76 inches) - 0.6m (23.62 inches), (T) 1.2m (47.24 inches) - 2m (78.74 inches)
Super Macro Mode: up to 3cm (11.12mm) (1.18")
Focus ModeiESP auto, Spot AF, Selective AF target, Manual
Shutter Speed1/1000 sec –15 sec., Bulb
Metering ModeDigital iESP multi-pattern auto TTL, Spot metering, Center Weighted metering
White BalanceiESP2 multi-pattern auto TTL, Pre-set, (One-touch, Overcast, Sunlight, Evening sun, Tungsten,(3) Fluorescents) WB compensation +/–7
Exposure Compensation+/- 2 EV steps in 1/3 EV steps
Recording ModesDCF Exif 2.21, JPEG , PIM 3
Adjustment ResolutionsRAW 2816 x 2112
SHQ 2816 x 2112
SHQ (3:2) 2816 x 1880
HQ 2816 x 1880
HQ (3:2) 2816 x 1880
SQ1 2592 x 1944 high, normal
2288 x 1712 high, normal
2048 x 1536 high, normal
1600 x 1200 high, normal
SQ2 1280 x 960 high, normal
1024 x 768 high, normal
640 x 480 high, normal
Shooting Modes27 shooting modes
AUTO, Program Auto, A, S, M, MY, Scene Preset (Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Night Scene, Sport, Night + Portrait, Indoor, Candle, Self-Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Behind Glass, Cuisine, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select1, Shoot & Select2, Beach, Snow)
Panorama ModesUp to 10 frames automatically stitchable with Olympus Master software when using Olympus brand xD-Picture card
Custom Settings4 My Mode
Sequential ShootingHigh speed; 1.75 frames per second up to 3 frames
Normal speed; 1.2 frames per second up to 13 frames in HQ mode
Shooting Assist FunctionsHistogram, Frame assist
Shooting Edit EffectsN/A
Image Quality Adjustment(Adj. ±5) sharpness, contrast, saturation
Movie ModeQuickTime Movie with Sound, JPEG, HQ 320 x 240 30fps/ SQ 320 x 240 15fps
Image ProcessingTruePic TURBO Image Processor
Pixel MappingPixel Mapping via menu setting
Noise ReductionSet automatically at shutter speeds of 0.5 seconds or longer
Image PlaybackSingle/ Index/ Enlargement/ Slide show/ Calendar/ Album
For Movie: Normal, Still (frame by frame), FF/Reverse, Index Jump
Playback Edit EffectsStill Image; Black & white, sepia, resize, crop, raw data edit, compose, red eye reduction, brightness, saturation
For Movie: still image edit, index
Direct Printing OptionsPictBridge EASYPRINT and DPOF
FlashBuilt in Pop-up
Hot ShoeNo
Flash ModesAuto (for low light and back lit conditions), Red-eye Reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in + red eye, Off
Flash Working RangeWide: 0.3~ 4.5m Tele: 1.2 ~ 3.4m
Selftimer12 seconds
Setting MemorizationOn/Off (hold changes/Reset to default settings)
Date/Time CalendarSimultaneous recording into image data, Automatic up to 2099
Memory10MB internal memory
Removable Media CardxD-Picture Card (16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512MB or 1GB)
Outer ConnectorsMulti-connector for USB and A/V, DC input
Auto-connect USB2.0 Full Speed
System RequirementsWindows 98SE/2000PRO/ME/XP, Mac 10.1 and higher
Operating EnvironmentOperation: 32 - 104F (0 - 40C), 30 - 90% humidity
Storage: -4 - 140F (-20 - 60C), 10 - 90% humidity
Power Supply4 AA batteries
Size4.15" W x 2.93" H x 2.80" D
(105.5mm x 74.5mm x 71.0mm)
Weight10.05 oz. (285 g) without batteries and media card

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