How many people have said in our very own comments that these high-zoom cameras should have wider-angle starting points? Olympus' SP-560 Ultra Zoom ($450) does just that, with an 18x optical zoom lens ranging 27 to 486 mm (that's 35 mm equivalent). And that's not all this chunky funky camera has going for it.
It features some of the newest attributes of Olympus cameras out this fall, including face detection and perfect shot preview, where you can view several different exposure, metering and white-balance options at once. It's got sensor-shift (mechanical) image stabilization as well as digital image stabilization. For people who want it, it also offers full-manual control.
The 8-megapixel camera will be available in October.
OLYMPUS' GROUNDBREAKING 18X OPTICAL ZOOM DIGITAL COMPACT CAMERA JUST GOT SMARTER
New Camera Offers 27mm Wide-Angle Lens, Face Detection,
Shadow Adjustment Technology, TruePic III and Other Innovative Features
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., August 23, 2007 - Olympus introduces the new SP-560 Ultra Zoom digital camera, the all-in-one solution for consumers looking for power and versatility for any shooting situation. The compact SP-560 UZ blends ease-of-use with an industry-leading focal range (27mm wide-angle to 18x optical zoom), an 8-megapixel image sensor and the latest technologies to deliver superior image quality and performance.
These new innovative technologies include:
Face Detection Technology: tracks faces within the frame and automatically focuses (Face Detection AF) and optimizes exposure (Face Detection AE) for sharp, brilliant portrait pictures. Even if your subjects are moving, the camera continuously tracks your subjects' faces without having to press the shutter button;
Shadow Adjustment Technology: allows users to preview and capture their images as they see them with their naked eye. Shadow Adjustment compensates for difficult lighting situations, increasing the detail in highlights and shadows, to produce more balanced photos;
TruePic III™ Image Processor: reduces graininess in images to deliver sharper, more vivid photos even at high ISO settings;
Perfect Shot Preview: enables users to preview and select various photographic effects on the LCD screen before snapping the shot; and
Dual Image Stabilization: combines the benefits of Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization and Digital Image Stabilization to ensure beautiful, blur-free images in any situation.
"The SP-560 UZ can capture more with one lens than most other cameras capture with two or three lenses," said Mark Hoffman, director, Product Marketing, Olympus Imaging America Inc. "This versatile compact camera will literally expand your photographic horizons, allowing you to capture everything from sweeping landscapes to the intricate details of a wildflower. Robust features such as Dual Image Stabilization and a variety of new technologies will appeal to everyone from photo enthusiasts looking for more creative control to first-time users looking for an easy-to-use point and shoot camera."
Amazing Focal Length Far and Wide
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).
Face Detection Technology
Face Detection Technology tracks faces within the frame and automatically focuses (Face Detection AF) and optimizes exposure (Face Detection AE) for sharp, brilliant portrait pictures.
Shadow Adjustment Technology
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.
TruePic III Image Processor
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.
Perfect Shot Preview
The SP-560 UZ features a Perfect Shot Preview mode that enables users to preview and select various photographic effects on a live, multi-frame window on the LCD before snapping the shot. This feature allows users to see precisely what the image will look like when adjustments are made, ensuring users are capturing the exact image they want. It's a great way for novice users to learn about the effects of different photography techniques, such as exposure compensation, white balance and metering.
Dual Image Stabilization
Dual Image Stabilization technology enables users to take crisp, clear pictures in virtually any shooting 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.
High-Speed Sequential Shooting and Pre-Capture
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.
High-Resolution 2.5-Inch LCD and Electronic Viewfinder
Compose and display incredible images on the camera's bright 230,000-pixel LCD. The high-resolution screen enables you to review pictures, scroll through menu options and treat friends and family to a digital slide show with ease. The SP-560 UZ also features an electronic viewfinder with dioptric correction.
33 Shooting Modes Including TV-Quality Video with Sound
The SP-560 UZ makes it easy to take great photos in a variety of scenarios and lighting situations with 33 shooting modes, including TV-quality video with sound (640x480/30fps). Simply select the desired mode for portraits, landscapes, night scenes, fast-action, macro and more.
Bright Capture Technology for Easy Low-Light Photography
Low-light photography has never been easier thanks to Olympus' revolutionary 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.
Full Manual and Automatic Control
The Manual, Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes give 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, or just sit back and let the camera do the thinking through the use of the automatic settings.
Underwater Housing and Accessory Lenses for Expanded Capabilities
An underwater housing (PT-037) works with the SP-560 UZ, enabling great images to be captured while scuba diving to depths of approximately 130 feet (40 meters) beneath the surface. The SP-560 UZ also features a threaded lens barrel, which enables easy attachment of the TCON-17 teleconversion lens for more than 30x optical zoom (requires CLA-10 Lens Adapter). Olympus also offers a nylon ultra-zoom carrying case.
OLYMPUS Master™ 2 Software
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.
The SP-560 UZ will be available in October 2007. It will also include: Neck Strap, WIN/Mac USB Cable, Audio/Video Cable, four AA Batteries, Manual, Warranty Card and OLYMPUS Master 2 Software CD-ROM.
SP-560 UZ Estimated Street Price: $449.99 (U.S.)