Most helpful critical review
60 of 71 people found the following review helpful
A bit too bulky for me, but not a bad camera
on September 18, 2013
I like the old school look, particularly the pop up flash, but the plastic feels a little cheap. Also, for a point-and-shoot, it's fairly bulky. I couldn't fit it in any of my other point-and-shoot cases. The biggest problem is with how far the lens sticks out, even when fully reclined. It also doesn't use a standard Mini or Micro USB connector. You have to use a special cable by Olympus (provided) to connect the camera to your computer/charger. This means one more miscellaneous cable to keep track of.
The controls are simple, but the menu system is a little messy to navigate. The 24x zoom provides excellent reach for distant shots. The macro option was a little disappointing; it forces the lens/zoom at a fixed position so you are stuck using predefined settings. I also had a hard time taking a handheld macro photo that wasn't blurry, even with a fair amount of light on the subject; you pretty much need to use a tripod (or a steady surface). Not so good for moving subjects. However, the camera was able to use autofocus fairly close to the subject, I measured about 1" from the lens, which is about 3" from the camera body/image sensor.
There are no aperture and shutter priority modes, but you can somewhat tweak the settings under the manual mode. I'm being generous using the word somewhat. The shutter speeds go from 1/2000 to 15", the ISO from 125 to 6400 (expect lots of noise higher up the scale), but the f/stop for aperture is useless. Instead of moving up and down stops, you get two options depending on the zoom. Zoomed in, you get F3.0 and F8.7. Fully zoomed out you get F6.9 and F20. Nothing in between. And because you can't set the priority mode, changing one value doesn't auto-set the other, so you need to manually tweak each setting. On the positive side, the preview screen does show you approximately what the picture will look like as you are making your adjustments.
Overall, the camera feels a little cheap to me and is limited on options (no GPS, for example). It's bulkier than I like a point-and-shoot to be, and 16MP isn't the highest quality you can get for this price range. The best thing this camera provides is the 24x zoom, but for the bulk, I'd rather go with something a little smaller. For example, the Sony DSC-WX300/B is 18.2 MP with a 20x Optical Zoom and is half the size. Not to mention a better build, longer battery life, and a smaller price tag (currently $278.00 on Amazon). Granted, the Sony has even less features than this camera does, such as no macro or manual mode, but it's a lot more compact and easier to carry around. When looking for a camera, it really depends on how you're planning to use it. I like the Sony DSC-WX300/B for quick out-and-about family type shots, the Sony Alpha SLT-A99V for more professional shooting, the Canon EOS Rebel T3i for full control and good quality photos without having to lug around the A99, and the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 for the best overall full control/features on a point-and-shoot. I just don't see where the Olympus Stylus SH-50 iHS fits into my arsenal. That said, if it's your only camera, and you don't do anything overly complicated with it, it's not a bad choice.