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Old Monday 5th February 2007, 20:31   #1
David Smith
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Super Zoom-when is it available ?

I was advised it would be in the shops in February. According to their web site it will now be March. Has anyone (in any country) purchased one and if so what are your thoughts ?
I read a good report but it was on a pre-poduction model with no actual photos or comparisons.
I have posted on the previous thread but hopefully someone is now in the postition to give fact based opinion.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2007, 17:51   #2
aomcm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Smith
I was advised it would be in the shops in February. According to their web site it will now be March. Has anyone (in any country) purchased one and if so what are your thoughts ?
I read a good report but it was on a pre-poduction model with no actual photos or comparisons.
I have posted on the previous thread but hopefully someone is now in the postition to give fact based opinion.
Hi David,

Everything I have heard says it will be available in late March. I doubt anyone will have a production model before then.

The biggest concerns about this camera I have heard (that will have to be answered when a production model is available) are:

1) the optical quality of such a wide range zoom lens,
2) the effectiveness of the sensor based IS,
3) the noise levels and/or noise reduction artifacts in such a small sensor
4) shutter-lag and general performance sluggishness that has plagued recent Olympus UZ models (500 and 510).

The Australian Olympus site has put up two sample images. However, neither of these images is very useful to judge the image quality and they were presumably made by a preproduction model. At least one is of a bird!

http://www.olympus.com.au/component/...d,69/task,gfx/

Mike
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2007, 20:17   #3
David Smith
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Mike
Thank you for that. The main worries I have (as a novice) are:-
In continuous mode it drops from 7.1. to 1.2 megapixels-quite low if you need to crop.
It takes over 3 seconds to 'zoom out'.
Over 1 second to focus.
Being new to DSLR I'm trying to decide between a full DSLR (maybe the Sony Alpha with 70-300)(equivilent 100-450) @ £600? or the Olympus with built in 28-500 @ £350.00.
Am I reading it correctly that the Olympus at full zoom is F4.5 - this seems impressive ??
Thanks again
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Old Thursday 8th February 2007, 01:00   #4
aomcm
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Originally Posted by David Smith
Mike
Thank you for that. The main worries I have (as a novice) are:-
In continuous mode it drops from 7.1. to 1.2 megapixels-quite low if you need to crop.
It takes over 3 seconds to 'zoom out'.
Over 1 second to focus.
Being new to DSLR I'm trying to decide between a full DSLR (maybe the Sony Alpha with 70-300)(equivilent 100-450) @ £600? or the Olympus with built in 28-500 @ £350.00.
Am I reading it correctly that the Olympus at full zoom is F4.5 - this seems impressive ??
Thanks again
I do not use continuous mode very much, but there is an intermediate mode that uses 3 MP. No idea what the quality of this would be however. I agree that 1.2 MP is not much use for birds, which almost always need cropping.

All your performance issues are genuine concerns and we will have to see reviews before we know. All "superzooms" are relatively sluggish, but I would not want to use the most sluggish for birds.

If you can stand the weight and the cost, any DSLR will blow away any superzoom in image quality, especially at high ISO. Main advantage of superzoom is its small size. I carry mine all the time but would not do that with a DSLR. You will find the 450 mm of reach to be on the short side for birds. I find at least 600 mm is needed (a 300 mm prime with 1.4X TC is one way to go - this gives 620 mm equivalent).

I use a 1.7 TC, thus I am interested in the Olympus because it would give me an IS f4.5 856 mm lens that weights about 25 oz total. Still probably a bear to hand hold, but I can zoom it back to around 600 for everyday use and use the longer reach when I need it and have enough light for a high shutter speed. I am mostly trying to document rare birds so ultimate image quality is not as important to me as portability. You will have to decide for yourself about the tradeoffs.

Mike
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Old Thursday 8th February 2007, 11:48   #5
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Originally Posted by aomcm
I use a 1.7 TC, thus I am interested in the Olympus because it would give me an IS f4.5 856 mm lens that weights about 25 oz total.

Mike
Mike brings up an interesting feature of super-zooms with front-attaching teleconverters - you do not lose any light with such a setup. This is one area (about the only one except weight) where a superzoom is better than a DSLR (teleconverters for DSLRs mount behind the lens and you do lose a lot of light).
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Old Wednesday 14th February 2007, 19:01   #6
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bristol cameras are listing it at £285 and w/express £329
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Old Thursday 15th February 2007, 02:50   #7
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Talking

There is a good review here:

http://scaredofthedark.typepad.com/b...sp550_r_4.html

Looks like a good deal to me.
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Old Thursday 15th February 2007, 11:42   #8
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Interesting to finally read something from someone who actually has the camera. Interesting review too, although the reviewer sounds like he may never have used a superzoom before. For example, he says about the EVF:
"Not something I thought I’d tend to use too often (due to its lower resolution and tiny eyepiece) but I’ve found it to be useful so far when the sun is too bright to view the LCD accurately."
I think most superzoom users use the EVF most of the time, as if they were using a DSLR.
Anyway, the camera sounds nice! :-)

Last edited by RAH : Thursday 15th February 2007 at 12:12.
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Old Thursday 15th February 2007, 14:53   #9
David Smith
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Dates now confirmed

I telephoned Bristol Cameras-they are taking orders but have no date for release. I telephoned Wildings who came back to me quite quickly-they are expecting delivery in 3-4 weeks.
I am advised that a lot of manufacturers deliberately create a shortage in order to get people to panic buy-to do that they deliver small quantities.
I think I will go for this-of course it means having to pay or put a deposit down-the alternative is to wait to see/hold it but they will likely have sold out. Difficult choice.
No doubt when I get it and post my 1st photos on here the people with the Cannon 500mm 2.8's will be selling them or offering to swap me for my Olympus -but maybe not!
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