Olympus SP-810UZ Brief Review


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  • 14 megapixels
  • CCD sensor
  • 36x optical zoom
  • 24mm wide angle
  • 3-inch LCD, 230k pixels
  • 720p HD video
  • Creative effects and filters
  • 0.7 fps continuous drive
  • Captures to SD/SDHC media cards
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: 2011-09-30
  • Final Grade: 86 4.3 Star Rating: Recommended

Olympus SP-810UZ Editor's Preview
The SP-810UZ sports the longest zoom range on the market, but not much else to woo potential superzoom buyers.
By , Last updated on: 9/29/2014

Olympus jumped headfirst into the superzoom arms race of 2011 with the SP-810UZ. It packs a humongous 24-864mm (36x) zoom lens -- that’s the longest telephoto setting on any fixed-lens camera anywhere, and it’s tied with the Nikon P500 for the longest zoom factor on the market. Yowza.

It’s the clear leader in terms of sheer telescopic power, and that’s no small feat. But otherwise, the SP-810UZ’s specs are pedestrian. Unlike most of the current hot-to-trot premium superzooms, the SP-810UZ is built around a last-generation CCD sensor. In practical terms, that means it will be less capable in low light and slower in general compared to most of its peers (Nikon P500, Sony HX100V, Fuji HS20EXR, et al).

That isn’t a deal-breaker, necessarily. The Canon SX30 uses a CCD sensor and generally gets good marks for image quality. Panasonic just announced the FZ47, their second tier superzoom, which squeezes some decent speed out of its 12 megapixel CCD sensor. But with the SP-810UZ, there’s no burst mode to speak of, just a continuous drive mode that ekes out less than one shot per second.

The SP-810UZ’s frame is surprisingly svelte, considering the mammoth lens it supports. It looks similar to the SZ-series long-zoomers that Olympus announced earlier this year, though those cameras never seemed to hit shelves in any great numbers -- they may have been testing the design for this larger release. As thin as the chassis gets, the lens barrel is still massive, so it still won’t fit into any pockets. Other shortcomings include a low-res LCD and lack of a viewfinder.

This camera is set to hit shelves in September 2011 for $329. To its credit, that’s a chunk cheaper than most of the speedy premium superzooms out there, and by the time the holiday season rolls around, the price will probably be somewhere in the $250 range. The price and massive zoom range should tempt plenty of buyers, and we could end up being pleasantly surprised with the results, but we have modest expectations.

Official Press Release:

Have Lens Will Travel: Olympus SP-810UZ™ Boasts The World’S Longest Zoom In A Compact Camera

Amazing 36X Ultra Wide Zoom, 3.0" Wide LCD and New Magic Filters Maximize Performance, Flexibility and Creativity for All of Life’s Adventures

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., July 27, 2011 – Travelers looking for a camera flexible enough to get up close for beautiful macro images of flowers while exploring exotic islands or to capture the magnificence of the Old Faithful geyser from hundreds of feet away without changing lenses, now have the ultimate camera with the introduction of the new SP-810UZ. Featuring a wide 1:2.9-5.7 24-864mm* zoom lens and a 36x optical zoom, this S-series camera is one of the smallest compact cameras currently on the market with a zoom of 36x**, providing further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.

“The SP-810UZ is the best zoom performance Olympus has ever delivered,” said Jennifer Schmell, product manager Olympus Imaging America Inc. “No compact camera from Olympus has ever offered such impressive wide-angle zoom performance. As the most powerful camera in Olympus’ ultrazoom category, it succeeds the prestigious SP-800UZ.”

Expert Still and HD Movie Performance

From the sidelines of the soccer field to bird-watching on a riverboat, engage AF Tracking technology to lock focus on your fast-moving subjects and keep them in focus, even while they move in and out of the frame. The fast, wide 1:2.9-5.7 24-864mm* zoom lens combined with Dual Image Stabilization, enhanced ISO sensitivity, Shadow Adjustment Technology and TruePic III+ image processor guarantee tack-sharp photos and virtually eliminate blur in high-definition (HD) videos. With HDMI Control, you can use your HDTV’s remote to control playback functions and navigate the camera’s menus from the comfort of your couch.

Be Creative and Express More

Ten Magic Filters apply your own creative vision to movies and stills for greater artistic freedom. New Miniature Filter narrows the depth of focus and enhances color and contrast to convert your real-life images to look like a magical toy world. The new Reflection Filter adds a reflection to your subject as though it were standing over a glassy, still lake. In 3D-mode, the SP-810UZ combines two photos of the same subject from different angles to generate dynamic 3D images that can be viewed on a 3D-compatible monitor or television. Another creative highlight is In-Camera Panorama, which helps you capture a super-wide angle photo simply by panning the camera across the scene to combine three shots into one inside the camera.

Easy Operation

By eliminating time-consuming manual settings, the SP-810UZ frees you to concentrate on your subject. Intelligent Auto Mode recognizes the five most common photo scenarios and automatically optimizes settings such as focus and lighting. Don’t forget the family pet! Activate Pet Detection mode to automatically capture your furry friend’s face when it looks at the camera. The SP-810UZ is also compatible with an optional Eye-Fi SD card, adding Wi-Fi capability so you can automatically upload images to your computer as you take them. Be the life of the social media party by uploading your shots immediately.


The Olympus SP-810UZ will be available in black, starting in September 2011. It will ship with a Lithium-Ion Battery (LI-50C) & Charger, USB Cable, USB-AC Adapter, Audio/Video Cable, Protective Lens Cap w/ Strap, Camera Strap, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card, Instruction Manual and [ib] Software CD-ROM.

U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations

Olympus SP-810UZ Estimated Street Price: $329.99

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Olympus is a long-time camera manufacturer, but lately they've been offering innovative, compact imaging options that are well worth a look. While Olympus doesn't have a camera in every category like Nikon or Sony, their focus on the cameras they offer shows.

Olympus' main, and best, cameras are their mirrorless line. The OM-D line offers mirrorless cameras that rival professional results while their PEN options offer the most portability and affordability. Most of their mirrorless cameras have simple, retro designs that work really well. Their kit lenses are often a bit higher quality than most. The Olympus mirrorless cameras we've been able to test have shown excellent image quality and usability.

While most of Olympus' focus seems to be on their excellent mirrorless line, we haven't been disappointed with any of their compacts we've put through our tests either. The TG-3 and TG-4 are among the best waterproof compacts on the market. And when we put the super zoom SP-100 to the test, we were quite happy with the image quality and performance.

Olympus may not have a camera in each and every category, but they've really put a lot into their existing cameras, making them excellent options.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.