Olympus SP-620UZ review

Budget priced 21x superzoom suitable for beginners and the broke

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  • Broader than average zoom range
  • 16MP sensor
  • Modest ISO range
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive


  • Can't record sound and use optical zoom together
  • Feels plasticky
  • Over-sensitive scroll wheel
  • Lacks key features of pricier models

Recent bridge camera/superzoom releases such as the Fuji X-S1 might have suggested cameras sporting large, fixed lenses were evolving into luxury items second only to DSLRs. Blowing that theory is the Olympus SP-620UZ, which is resolutely a budget-priced, entry-level superzoom.

Priced at £179.99 in the UK and $199.99 in the US, it is not much costlier than your average 5x zoom pocket model, yet sports a dual image stabilised 21x optical zoom plus 16 megapixel effective resolution from a 16.6MP 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor.

The mini DSLR styling of the Olympus SP-620UZ means it's one for chunky jacket pockets only, but it is one of the smallest in its class.

Olympus sp 620uz review

Dimensions are 109.7 x 74.3 x 73.7mm and it weighs a sturdy feeling 435g, largely just because it's powered by four alkaline AAs out of the box rather than a single rechargeable lithium ion cell.

The equivalent 35mm focal range is 25-525mm, the lens jutting out roughly 2cm from its housing when at its widest setting.

Olympus sp 620uz review

The Olympus SP-620UZ's available with a metallic silver or black body, and is aimed at beginners and travelling types rather than photo enthusiasts per se.

The camera lacks the command dials, dedicated buttons and optical and electronic viewfinders (EVF) of pricier bridge cameras, such as the Fuji X and HS series models, Canon SX40 HS and new Nikon P510.

Olympus sp 620uz review

There are few direct controls - there's not even a shooting mode dial or dedicated button - while users are reliant purely on the fixed, 3-inch, 230k dot resolution LCD for shot composition and review.

It's fit for purpose though, with one of its closest matches for looks and features being Nikon's equally new Coolpix L810, also 16MP, and with a 22.5-585mm reach.

Olympus sp 620uz review

More positively, the Olympus SP-620UZ comes with interesting features. These include a panorama mode that automatically stitches three successive images together, a 3D stills mode overlapping two differently angled stills for viewing on a 3D TV, plus Olympus' trademarked Magic Filters digital effects, most of which can be applied when capturing video as well as stills.

So how does this budget superzoom actually perform?

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedAA
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Effective Camera Resolution16 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilySP
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 Zoom21x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesLive View, Self-timer, Pet Detection, Face Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)435 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
Height74.3 mm
Width109.7 mm
Depth73.7 mm
Product SeriesSP
Focal Length4.50 mm to 94.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelSP-620UZ
Product NameSP-620UZ Compact Camera
Exposure Control

Program Automatic

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV103040BE000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

More than ten years ago, with its first SP Ultra Zoom (UZ) camera, Olympus laid down a marker for first-class specifications, versatility and sheer telephoto performance. On the evidence of the latest editions to the Traveller family, in this specialist segment they remain the cameras to beat. The powerful optics are all the more impressive given the modest dimensions. In fact, they take up most of the camera, especially on the SP-620UZ, which is incredibly slender and light for a camera of this zoom potential. It comes equipped with a 21x wide-angle optical zoom lens (25-525mm). In addition to close-quarter wide angles, expansive panoramas and nose-to-nose close-ups, this lens gives you the flexibility to experiment with intermediate zoom settings - from portraits to still lifes and holiday movies in 720p HD. Image quality is excellent on this camera, thanks in part to the 16-Megapixel CCD and Dual Image Stabilisation. You can look forward to radiant colours, low noise and razor-sharp edges. Blur is conspicuous only by its absence.

Package Contents
  • SP-620UZ Compact Camera
  • 4 x AA Batteries
  • Lens Cap
  • Hand Strap
  • CB-USB6 USB Cable
  • CB-AVC3 Audio/Video Cable
  • Instruction Manual
  • World Wide Warranty Card
  • Software Media
Limited Warranty2 Year