The Olympus SP 550 UZ is a digital camera that falls under the Super Zoom style of cameras that feature optical zooms of 15x or more. With the 550 UZ Olympus sat down and decided they were going to try and be the top of the game for all the headline key features. This results in class-leading specifications: 18x optical zoom with a wide angle lens that is the equivalent of 28-504mm, ISO5000 capability, and a 15FPS continuous shooting mode. Olympus has also thrown in a large variety of features and shooting modes. However, because this camera is SLR-like and not a real SLR, all of the controls for managing these features are accomplished through button presses on the back and not by control dials on the lens itself.
At such high zooms, the tiniest amount of movement will cause a dramatic amount of blur. As a result Olympus has incorporated a two stage form of anti-blur with the first stage being a mechanical method that shifts the image sensor accordingly. While the high-level specs are impressive some of them come at a high cost. To gain access to the 15FPS shooting mode the image resolution is capped at 1.2MP. Slower shooting modes allow the resolution to be increased. At full resolution the frame rate is 1 frame per second, for 3 frames.
For storage the SP 550 UZ utilizes the xD Card storage format which was developed by Olympus and Fujifilm. xD cards have a maximum storage capacity of 2GB, with slower transfer speeds the more common SD cards. As a result of using xD cards the time between successive shots at normal resolution can reach up to 4 seconds.
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