Olympus SZ-14 Review - Digital Photography School

Olympus SZ-14 Review

This review camera dropped out of the box — in bright red! Talk about making a statement!

I’m not sure how you all feel about CICs — cameras in colours. It’s not that important to me, except for the benefit of making the control IDs more visible.

Olympus_SZ-14_RED_RIGHT.jpg

Otherwise, the Olympus SZ-14 is delightfully small, which makes the rear 7.6cm LCD screen amazingly large by comparison. It’s also surprisingly light and slim, easily tucked into a shirt pocket.

Olympus_SZ-14_RED_BACK.jpg

Olympus_SZ-14_RED_TOP.jpg

On another front, you may have noticed the newly emerging tussle between smart phones able to take half-decent photos and compact digicams such as this one. I’m betting on compacts such as this one to head the battle, bringing with it the ability to shoot still images as large as 4608×3456 pixels or 39x29cm as a print.

Full wide 1.JPG

Full tele 1.JPG

Lenswise, the 24x zoom is the 35 SLR equivalent of 25-600mm. Try to find a smart phone with that range! As an optical zoom!

Menu 1.JPG

Menu 2.JPG

Menu 3.JPG

Admittedly, your exposure options are limited to auto or Program AE but there are 16 scene modes (night portraits, candlelight, fireworks etc). Added to this is the 11 option Magic Filter array: similar to Art Filters found in upper range Olympus cameras, this collection of image effects includes a pinhole camera effect, fisheye lens, water colour, punk look etc. I have often found these to be useful in transforming a mundane scene into an image with ‘resonance’ and, for many, an easier way to be creative than to battle with the complexity of Photoshop and the like!

In movies the camera can shoot 1280×720 pixel MPEG4 clips … not Full HD but still quite useable for many purposes such as placing video clips on YouTube: I speak from experience!

The camera offers three methods of shooting panoramas: three frames are taken and combined in-camera, requiring you line up the shots using target markers … the camera does the combining; three frames are shot, lined up by the user; three frames are shot and combined later using PC software.

Macro is well treated: normal macro handles subjects between 10cm to infinity or, in super macro, 3mm to infinity.

Startup Time

It took two seconds from button press to first shot, then a surprisingly long two seconds ‘tween shots. A tad slow methinks.

Distortion

I was really surprised to find no signs of distortion at either the wide or tele ends of the zoom. This is a highly corrected lens!

Olympus SZ-14 ISO Settings

Olympus SZ-14 ISO 80.JPG

Olympus SZ-14 ISO 400.JPG

Olympus SZ-14 ISO 800.JPG

Olympus SZ-14 ISO 1600.JPG

Noise began to appear at ISO 800, then further appeared at ISO 1600. Still useable.

Olympus SZ-14 Verdict

Quality: only average snapshot quality and sharpness; poor detail due to over-aggressive JPEG compression.

Why you would buy it: small and light; easy to use functions; chunky speed grip makes holding the camera an easy task.

Why you wouldn’t: you want more exposure control; you need Full HD.

Available in black, red or silver this camera will find some admirers, partly for its useful range but also for its image manipulation modes like scene modes and Magic Filters.

And the downside: this is the smallest digicam I have encountered that’s furnished with a maxi zoom and, frankly, it’s a bit of a monster; it’s impossible to shoot handheld shots with the zoom at full tele. I figure that its small size in the hand works against it. Tripod territory if you want sharp shots at (35 SLR equivalent) 600mm!

Olympus SZ-14 Specifications

Image Sensor: 11mm CCD; 14 million effective pixels.
Lens: f3.0-6.9/14.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Metering: ESP averaging, spot.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE.
Shutter Speed: 4 to 1/1700 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Eye-Fi cards and an unstated amount of internal memory.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4608×3456 to 640×480.
Movies: 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240.
Viewfinder: 7.6cm LCD screen (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, MPO (3D), MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: 80 to 1600.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 106.5×68.7×39.5 WHDmm.
Weight: 216 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Olympus SZ-14 at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Olympus SZ-14
Author Rating
2

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • mmx

    >> 14.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).

    Should be 4.5-108 I think, given a 5.55.. crop factor.

  • http://disney-photography-blog.blogspot.com/ Alexx
  • Barrie Smith

    >> 14.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
    Should be 4.5-108 I think, given a 5.55.. crop factor.

    Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/olympus-sz-14-review#ixzz1rlsOzFEi

    Quite right. My apols! Barrie Smith

  • Sabir

    good nice camera !

  • Marilyn Crosbie

    I got this camera on sale for $169 at London Drugs in Canada on August, 2012. I have derived a great deal of pleasure from it and am constantly trying out all it’s features. For the price, I think it’s a great little camera, especially the 24 zoom. I would love to own a DSLR camera with more features, but for the time being, I am really enjoying this camera. I use PaintShop Pro x6 to edit my photos.

Some older comments

  • Sabir

    December 4, 2012 10:33 pm

    good nice camera !

  • Barrie Smith

    April 12, 2012 07:52 am

    >> 14.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
    Should be 4.5-108 I think, given a 5.55.. crop factor.

    Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/olympus-sz-14-review#ixzz1rlsOzFEi

    Quite right. My apols! Barrie Smith

  • Alexx

    April 11, 2012 03:06 am

    Nice tele!

    http://disney-photography-blog.blogspot.com/

  • mmx

    April 11, 2012 01:01 am

    >> 14.5-108mm (25-600mm as 35 SLR equivalent).

    Should be 4.5-108 I think, given a 5.55.. crop factor.

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