Sitting mid-way up the Olympus range of travel-friendly compact cameras, the Olympus SZ-14 sports a good range of features for a pocket-friendly price. A 14-megapixel CCD sensor should provide ample resolution, even for large prints.
Although CCD sensors generally don't perform as well as the newer backlit CMOS technology found in cameras higher up the Olympus range, sensitivities up to ISO 1600 are available.
The headline feature that draws the most attention is the huge 24x zoom range, providing an angle of view equivalent to a 25-600mm lens on a 35mm camera, in a body only 39.5mm thick.
This range is perfect for those on the move, with the 600mm equivalent telephoto zoom being perfect for picking out distant details, whereas the 25mm equivalent wide angle should be ample for shooting in claustrophobic environments and for squeezing plenty of the scene into the image.
A Panorama mode is also included for capturing even wider scenes.
Because holding such a long telephoto lens steady can be difficult at the best of times, the Olympus SZ-14 comes equipped with Dual Image Stabilisation. A sensor shift system keeps things steady when shooting still images, and electronic image stabilisation takes over for video recording, which should help to tame the effects of quivery hands.
In addition to iESP metering, advanced face detection and shadow adjustment technology have both been employed to aid accurate exposures in tricky lighting conditions.
A 3-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 460,000 dots provides a clear image for composing and reviewing images, too.
Although many cameras now sport 1080p HD video recording, Olympus has stuck with 720p footage for the Olympus SZ-14. This can be viewed on a suitable HD-ready television via the built-in HDMI interface.
If you have a 3D TV you can also take and view three-dimensional images on the television via the same HDMI connection, although the HDMI cable is not included.
Finally, a range of 11 'Magic' picture-taking modes are included, which create popular special effects in-camera. These range from traditional and popular effects such as Pin Hole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus and Miniature, to more exotic ones, such as Punk, which reduces the photo to a pink and black high-contrast image. These modes give more scope for creativity.
With a UK price of £199.99, the Olympus SZ-14 is in the same price bracket as the Olympus SH-21, which was announced at the same time, and the Canon IXUS 125 HS, Fuji FinePix F600 EXR and Nikon Coolpix S6200, to name a few