Olympus SP-100EE review

Olympus's 'dot sight' helps long-distance composition

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Our Verdict

The SP-100E's dot sight is an interesting innovation for framing distant subjects, but the fixed rear screen and lack of raw files hold the Olympus back.

The SP-100E's principal claim to fame is its dot-sight gadget to help you frame and track subjects in the distance – it's the only camera in the world to have one, and it's built into the pop-up flash. If you have trouble keeping your subject in the frame at high magnifications, then this could help. Unfortunately, the SP-100E sadly doesn't feature too many other enticing features.

The 50x zoom range is good, though no longer exceptional, and while you can shoot in program AE, aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes, the SP-100E can't shoot raw files for higher-quality editing later on.

That's not all. The rear screen is fixed, where most rival bridge cameras come with tilting or articulating screens, and while there is an electronic viewfinder it's a little on the small side. Not only that, there's no eye sensor, so you have to switch between the LCD and viewfinder manually.

On the plus side, in good light, images are bright and punchy directly from the camera – though if you examine closely, you will some image smoothing, something which many cameras like this are guilty of. It's caused by the combination of small sensors and high megapixel ratings – the photosites (pixels) on the sensor are so small they produce a lot of noise, which the makers then have to try to process out.

You may want to avoid shooting low light situations, though, if at all possible, because the quality falls at higher ISO settings.

Verdict

The SP-100EE's dot sight is an interesting innovation and could be useful if you're into wildlife photography. The maximum aperture is f/2.9 at the wideangle end of the zoom range, which is good, though this does drop to f/6.5 at full zoom.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

News Reporter

Amy (Twitter, Google+, blog) is a freelance journalist and photographer. She worked full-time as the News Reporter / Technical Writer (cameras) across Future Publishing's photography brands and TechRadar between 2009 and 2014 having become obsessed with photography at an early age. Since graduating from Cardiff Journalism School, she's also won awards for her blogging skills and photographic prowess, and once snatched exhibition space from a Magnum photographer.