Olympus SH-21 review

A compact camera with a 12.5x wide zoom lens and a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor

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Olympus SH 21 review

Noise at high sensitivities is handled well by the Olympus SH-21's backlit CMOS sensor. No significant noise is present until ISO 800, and even then what noise there is takes on a fine granular appearance.

Olympus SH 21 review

Softening due to noise reduction starts to affect images noticeably at ISO 1600 and beyond, with images taken at ISO 3200 showing less vibrant colours than images taken at lower sensitivities.

Pictures taken at ISO 1600 and beyond should certainly be suitable for reproduction at normal high street lab sizes and for sharing on the web.

Convenient as the 12.5x zoom lens may be, images taken at the telephoto end of the zoom can appear slightly soft, which is a little disappointing.

Olympus SH 21 review

Colours reproduced by the Olympus SH-21 can often be quite subdued when compared to the output from similar cameras from other manufacturers. Choosing the appropriate automatic scene option, such as Landscape mode, can give colours a lift.

Auto white balance performs well under artificial lighting, correcting colour casts just enough to retain the atmosphere of the scene.

It may pay to familiarise yourself with the exposure compensation feature when shooting with the Olympus SH-21. The iESP exposure system tends to err on the bright side, resulting in blown highlights.

Olympus SH 21 review

Using face detection for portraits dramatically improves the accuracy of metering, as well as focusing. High-contrast scenes in particular will fool the iESP metering, often with unpredictable results.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution16 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedEye-Fi Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical, Digital
Optical Zoom12.5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesSelf-timer, Pet Detection, Face Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)184 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height59.4 mm
Width105.4 mm
Depth30.6 mm
Focal Length4.20 mm to 52.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelSH-21
Product NameSH-21 Compact Camera
Exposure Control

Program Automatic

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV107010GE000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

Rich colours, low picture noise, excellent contrast - the SH-21 is all about tremendous picture quality. The ultra-slim design ensures it never looks out of place at more sophisticated occasions and when you want to be sure to capture a one-off event like a wedding, it's good to know your camera has a 16-Megapixel Backlit CMOS sensor with the high sensitivity to perform in dim-lit interiors. For wide-angle shots, you can call on a high-grade super-wide 24-300mm lens and there's a 12.5x optical zoom for razor-sharp close-ups.

Package Contents
  • SH-21 Compact Camera
  • LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
  • F-2AC AC Adapter
  • CB-USB6 USB Cable
  • CB-AVC3 Audio/Video Cable
  • Hand Strap
  • Instruction Manual
  • World Wide Warranty Card
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty2 Year