Review: Olympus SP-550UZ Good Camera, Faulty Marketing

Olympus SP-550UZ

We got an inordinate number of page hits when we posted the news about the Olympus SP-550 UZ, giving us a hint that it was destined to become a popular camera.

Well, has gotten hold of that camera and put it through its paces. They examined the SP-550 UZ minutely and held it up against the mirror of its promises.

“In many ways, the Olympus SP-550UZ represents both the best and the worst of digital camera marketing,” writes Jack Howard of, observing that some of its features come with asterisks and footnotes.

It’s still a good camera, overall, offering real full manual control, long 18x optical zoom, RAW capture, image stabilization that really works and a solid build.

But there are disputable claims. For example, its vaunted 15fps burst rate turns out to be possible only at a lower resolution. ISO 5000? Forget about it! There are noise issues above ISO 400 and images taken at ISO 3200 and 5000 have to shed pixels and drop resolutions to be decently viewable.

But Jack says Olympus has made a pretty impressive camera. It even did well in the lab. But its marketing hype sucks.


Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.