Although the Olympus SZ-14 doesn't sport the latest backlit CMOS sensor technology, it puts in a fairly respectable performance, with noise levels being kept acceptable for sharing on the web and printing at small sizes throughout the ISO sensitivity range.
Images taken between ISO 80 and ISO 400 display good detail and sharpness, and images taken at higher sensitivities are softened due to the effects of noise reduction.
With default settings, colours can sometimes be a little muted. Picking the appropriate scene mode from the menu can give punchier results as required.
Auto white balance does a good job of reducing the effect of strong colour casts under artificial light, just leaving enough of a cast to retain the atmosphere of the scene.
The iESP metering used on the Olympus SZ-14 tends to err on the bright side, leading to many images looking washed out due to overexposure, unless appropriate exposure compensation is applied.
High-contrast scenes in particular tend to fool the metering system, often leading to unpredictable results. With face detection enabled, exposures for people portraits are much more consistent, so it pays to leave this feature enabled.