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Digital Camera Review, Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera

Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera
A retro digital look back at the 7.1MP CCD Olympus SP-510UZ, a compact 10x superzoom digital bridge launched by Olympus in 2006.

The 7.1MP CCD Olympus SP-510UZ, launched by Olympus in 2006, the last model of the SP-series (Special Performance), updates the 6MP CCD Olympus SP-500UZ, which was launched earlier in 2005. The camera features an Olympus ED 1:2.8~3.7 6.3-63mm 10x optical and 5x digital zoom lens (equivalent to 38-380mm on a full-frame 35mm model), a shutter speed range from 30 to 1/1000 second, ISO sensitivity from 50 to 4000, an electronic viewfinder, and a 115,000 pixels 2.5-inch LCD display.

The SP-510UZ features Olympus's BrightCapture technology with ISO sensitivity ranging from 50 to 4,000. At ISO 2,500 and above, though, the camera's resolution drops to 3 megapixels. The camera comes with Digital Image Stabilization, a system that uses a gyro sensor to detect the amount of camera shake and software to select a higher ISO and a faster shutter speed while tweaking image sharpness to reduce blur.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Front

The camera sports a comfortable handgrip/battery chamber on the right of the body. The top plane control layout, and shutter release button, are easily accessible with the index finger. The thumb rests beside the Monitor/Viewfinder toggle switch on the left, while on the right it touches the edge of the Mode Dial. To the right of the main power switch is the Digital Image Stabilization button, which can be used for shooting both in still and movie modes.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Top

Shooting modes available on the SP-510UZ include Auto and P, A/S, M, a customizable My Mode setting, Scenes, and Movie. Scenes, with an illustrated text guide, allow selection for Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Night Scene, Sport, Night + Portrait, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Behind Glass, Cuisine, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select 1, Shoot & Select 2, Beach, and Snow.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Back

The mode dial on the top plane of the camera also carries a Guide, and Playback (Green Arrow) mode selection. The Guide page lists a selection of pointers on how to set up the camera for shooting in varying lighting conditions. The Playback button displays the last image taken. Use the Zoom lever to switch to close-up playback, index, or calendar display.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Bottom

The compact and lightweight digital bridge, which is only available in silver, measures 106 x 75 x 70mm and weighs 325 grams. The camera is powered by a set of 4x AA batteries capable of capturing up to 630 shots and has a body form that is a cross between a compact and a digital bridge, a manual pop-up flash, and a lens that extends forward when switched on. The camera stores images on xD-Picture cards or 21MB of internal memory

The SP-510UZ was later replaced by the SP-550UZ, which has a longer 18x optical zoom lens.


Menus and Displays

The multi-faceted menu and display options of the SP-510UZ are something you might want to go through with the help of the instruction booklet. The main display, depending on the shooting mode you are in, is a selection for image Quality, Reset, Camera Menu, Setup, Scene, and Silent Mode options.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Menu and Function Selection

Navigate to the Camera Menu selection, for example, and the display will list the options available for setting or adjustment.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Menu and Function Selection

Scenes display the options to choose from, and a short note is displayed after a couple of seconds delay.


Early Images

Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 01
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 02

My almost standard first shots with cameras I am testing, a closeup of Mr. Smiley's coffee mug, and a look across to the ensemble on the dining table.

Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 03
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 04
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 05

An early evening out at one of our local pop-up eatery corners. Images were post-processed with a 100% increase in Noise Reduction.

Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 06
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 07
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 08

Close-ups in the garden rewarded me with these photos.

Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 09
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 10
Olympus SP-510UZ 7.1MP CCD Digital Bridge Camera 11

Testing the zoom extents of the lens.

Olympus SP-510UZ, Top View

While the SP-510UZ might not be the better of digital cameras fitted with CCD sensors, a low-cost start might be the best comparative approach to start your adventure with CCD imagery. Beyond the SP-510UZ, Olympus also introduced the SP-550/560UZ, in 2007, with 18x optical zoom lenses, the SP-565/570UZ in 2008 (20x optical zoom), SP-590UZ in 2009 (26x optical zoom), SP-600UZ in 2010 (15x optical zoom), SP-620UZ in 2012 (21x optical zoom), SP-720 UZ also in 2012 (26x optical zoom), SP-800UZ in 2010 (30x optical zoom), and SP-810UZ in 2011 (world's longest 36x optical zoom).

Working with a rather small 1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm) sensor while going up the MP scale may not actually result in better image quality which might be infused with noise, chromatic aberration, and unwarranted edge definition.



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