on December 17, 2013
I just received my camera today. This review is actually to correct an answer I received from someone. There is no list of what you get in the camera box. Here's what you get:
1. the camera
2. camera safety cord - long enough to wrap around your wrist - not your nect
3. 1 Li-ion battery (not charged when you get it)
4. CD ROM with 84 manual about the camera; software to view the pictures / video you've taken; software link to register your camera with Olympus
5. a. USB AC Adapter cord - install the battery which is not charged in the camera. Connect the cord to the AC adapter and let it charge the battery inside the camera. It takes about 3 hours to charge.
5. b. USB AC Adapter cord is also be used to download pictures and video from camera to your computer. This is also used
6. Quick start printed instructions
7. Warranted from Olympus printout
I wanted this information before I bought and it wasn't available. I hope it helps you.
on January 17, 2015
First, let me say that this camera fills a very specific niche. Its not a compact pocket camera, and its not a super zoom (by current standards) bridge camera either. It is in between, a mid-size, if you will.
This camera is an upgrade for my Olympus VG-180 (originally purchased for only $59 on Amazon which actually costs quite a bit more now), which was my favorite compact among others i have had including a Canon powershot, Nikon Coolpix, and Kodak EasyShare.
The reason I ended up with it is because I was looking for an "upgrade", but something smaller than my bridge camera for portability on walks and runs...but given that these nature runs are outdoors, i did not want to sacrifice a long zoom or 1080p video (both features lacking on my VG-180). Many of the less expensive compact cameras still have CCD sensors and are limited to 720p video. The more expensive ones have CMOS sensors and will allow for 1080p...and most of the less expensive compacts typically have a 5x to 12x zoom.
At the time I am writing this review, I can say that there is just simply no better bang for the buck in a camera that I could find with these features. For $140.00 you get a camera with CMOS sensor that does 1080p video and has a 24x zoom...in a comparatively small form factor. Also you get the intuitive Olympus interface, and excellent outdoor performance, that I have long been a fan of after trying so many compact cameras.
*Excellent Picture quality for the price
*Audio recording only mono
* No View finder
*Screen Resolution is middle of the road by todays standards
*Charger included plugs in the wall and uses a cable connected to the camera to charge, instead of standalone charger.
*The lens "fit" is a bit loose, and tends to "move around" a bit when the camera is shaken (noticed this while running with it)
*Does not save RAW format
I am attaching some images taken with the camera. These images were all taken around the same time of day, before sunset. The image of the duck was from across the lake almost at full zoom and my camera hand stabilized against a railing. I am also attaching an image taken of a tree in the sunlight so you can see the dynamic range and how the camera handles sun flares.
All images are using default settings (except i switched to "fine" compression, the default is "normal"), and no images were post processed. Also keep in mind, I do not claim to be a pro photographer by any stretch...but I do like to get creative.
on May 10, 2013
It was probably a stupid thing to do, but I'm glad I did it. I'd been looking for a new camera for a while, but no matter what brand or price of camera, the reviews all had a few negative comments that made me reconsider my purchase. So when Amazon posted the Olympus Stylus SZ-16 for advance purchase months before it's release, I decided to take a chance - no reviews meant there couldn't be any negative ones.
I'm really very please with the camera - the zoom is amazing, the shutter is fast, it does really well in low-light situations - I've rarely need the flash. Plus it has some fun features, for taking "dramatic" or "pop art" photos. Also has setting for fireworks, sports, and two pet modes (Camera automatically snaps a pic when it recognizes the face of a dog or cat - I mention this because this feature amuses me, I haven't tried it yet.)
Way back in high school I bought a Pentex SLR which I used for years, and took great pictures, but it was difficult to lug it, plus the lenses and flash around, and when digital came along, I switched to point & shoot. My pictures where never as great as those taken with my SLR, and I had assumed that I had lost whatever "it" was that helped me take great photos. With my new Olympus Stylus, I have "it" back. Turns out that the right equipment helps make a great photographer. (And how lucky are my all my Facebook friends to be regularly treated to my awesome photos? - Actually, I'm appreciative of their indulgence of me.)
My one little quibble is that the USB cable port is behind a small door on the side of the camera that has a rubber hinge. I'm not optimistic about that hinge lasting the useful life of the camera.
on September 1, 2013
My husband wanted a small camera that he could use to take photos (as well as video) on a trip to Hawaii, some upcoming weddings, and to shoot reference photos for paintings that he would create at a later date. He is notorious for not wanting to spend much money on something, and then later regretting that he chose something that didn't have enough of the features that he needed.
On this occasion, I was happy that he didn't just go for the cheapest thing out there - he actually did a tremendous amount of online research and spent a little more than his normal budget, and he is THRILLED with this camera. Part of his joy comes from that fact that this camera performs as well (and sometimes better) than cameras on which we have spent far more in the past (including a semi-pro digital video camera we spent over $1,000 for about 12 years ago).
Granted, the video function has some drawbacks: the zoom is VERY harsh (not smooth/subtle at all), and the sound drops out momentarily during the split second zoom. However, that being said, the digital stabilization is VERY good, which is a big help in situations without a tripod. (Obviously, the farther out you are zoomed, the shakier your shot will be no matter what you do.) The zoom feature is surprisingly robust, with very good quality - great for nature shots, and at weddings where you are far away from your subjects. My husband loved the fact that there is a grid feature for the viewer that allows you to keep a straight horizon line (for video and photos), which has always been a struggle / pet peeve for him.
The settings on this camera are helpful: he utilized the "sunset" setting very successfully in Hawaii and got shots that rivaled (and sometimes surpassed) those from my $1,000+ Canon20D digital. I, personally, find menu-based controls too confusing, and I thought that he would, too (he has very short patience for technical things), but he mastered the menus/functions extremely quickly, so maybe I would be able to learn them, as well, if I was sufficiently awake?
I also thought that this camera would be too small for my husband's hands - I know that I struggled a bit to keep a grip on it, being spoiled to the rubberized grip on my Canon - but he doesn't seem to have a problem. (He DOES keep the long neck strap that he bought for it around his neck at all times for safety.) I noticed at the Olympus website that there appears to be an accessory you can get that provides a grip and attaches to the bottom of the camera - this may be worth investigating...
As with all digital camera preview windows, it is often impossible to see whether you are getting your shot when you are in bright conditions, but we were both astounded when reviewing our photos/video on the computer later at how often shots came out not just well, but beautifully, when the preview window made it seem as if they would be washed out.
One small negative (but not enough to take away from the 5 star rating) is that the latch on the battery door is not spring-loaded, so the door will not stay closed if you do not move the latch to fasten it. I am spoiled to my Canon's spring latch, so I have to be VERY careful when loading the battery into the Olympus. And as will most digital cameras, the door hinges on the compartments for the ports are very delicate/tricky, but if you are sufficiently patient/careful, they aren't a problem.
All in all, my husband feels that this is one of the most satisfying purchases that he has ever made. He recommends this camera without hesitation.
on July 13, 2013
I'd like to start off that the customer service was amazing with very fast responses!
I bought this great camera because I wanted one that had a nice zoom without the bulkiness of a big camera. I was at my daughter's softball game and sitting from the bleachers, I zoomed in close enough to see her face when she was batting. It takes excellent pictures from far away. The pictures don't come out grainy when you zoom in and print them out.
The camera is very light weight and has many options/features. I'm still trying to navigate through those so I can't really comment on it. My main buying incentive was the price, the zoom and overall size of the camera. I bought it in white because I have a white iPhone and iPad and wanted everything to match.
This camera has exceeded my expectations. I hope you find this review helpful. Good luck!
on May 25, 2015
What bothered me most about this purchase decision was the absence of available 1080p video. I love this camera after testing it in a real world environment. For some samples on Facebook go to (search on) Bradley Creek, Mills River, NC Facebook page and see the four videos I shot. These videos demonstrate 24x zoom and effective dual image stabilization while walking. Note the continued low exposure. Many have complained about the camera overexposing on Auto settings. Knowing this, you should use the "P" setting and drop the exposure back to -0.3 to -1.0. The LCD screen on my SZ-16 was set dead center for brightness and I found this setting to accurately view the conditions representative for how the picture or video would turn out. I needed a camera at or near the quality of our 24 Megapixel Nikon D5300 for shooting a commercial video. I didn't want to haul around the Nikon in the North Carolina jungle and run the risk of dropping it in the dozens of river crossings and mid-river tripod video shoots. While stationary the camera generally locks to a target in 1 second. While walking the auto-focus wanders with constant surrounding object changes and updates as one proceeds through the thicket. In the Facebook videos at Bradley Creek you will see individual pine needles on rocks 300 feet away at 24x zoom. You can also make out individual pebbles while panning the river bed and rocks with moss. And, keep in mind that the pictures and video are second generation compression removed from the original versions. Facebook does not do a great job of compression regarding videos. Make sure you view all pictures and video in HD mode full screen. I also purchased and satisfied with "2-Pack LI-50B High-Capacity Replacement Batteries with Rapid Travel Charger for Olympus SH-25MR SP-720UZ SP-800UZ SP-810UZ SZ-31MR - UltraPro BONUS INCLUDED: Camera Cleaning Kit, Camera Screen Protector, Mini Travel Tripod", and, "Transcend 32 GB High Speed Class 10 UHS Flash Memory Card Up to 90 MB/s TS32GSDHC10U1E" in the SZ-16 but also serving as backup memory should the Nikon's' memory chip fail, and, "Co2Crea(TM) Black Semi-Hard EVA Digital Camera Case Bag Cover for Olympus SZ-16/15/14/12/11/10 XZ10 TG-2 iHS SZ30MR SZ31MR with Colorful Neck Strap with tripod mount screw". It's all good stuff. This is a very good camera for the money and nothing can touch this costing under at least $170. It was a good buy at $230. It is an incredible deal refurbished at $84. Comes packaged like new from the factory from Hunts refurbished. Get one or you will be kicking yourself that you let this baby go by.
on October 10, 2014
This is a descent camera. Couple things I found that led me to return was this: 1. The Video recordings the voices were muffled and difficult to hear. 2. The noise /buzz of the telephoto was loud enough to be recorded on the videos. 3. At max telephoto the auto focus often wound up in a constant search trying to focus. To be fair, shooting into tree branches at wild life is a tough get for most automatic telephoto's. Would be nice if there was a manual focus feature to avoid avoid cycling of the focus.
Sensitivity: Great sensitivity in low light situations at all distances. Clarity of night time pics is a real plus performance & delivers great low light pics w/out annoying flash. Pop up flash is perfect & well positioned out of the way (in the middle above the lens) for my taste. Usually did not need the flash in low light situations anyway. I turned off the default reddish fill-in flash which was more annoying than helpful to save battery power.
Size: It is compact & tough for my hands to hold onto but still doable give the great camera features. Does have the nice right hand handle which helps, but it also makes the camera thicker than slimmer competition. But I like the small size & portability so handling the camera just takes some practice.
Speed: Camera comes up ready to shoot quickly shot after shot. The handy menu option has choices to save power. These features are worth setting to save batt & menu was intuitive. After 15 minutes of playing around with the menu options I pretty much had it down.
BAttery: Does not last long. After about 30 minutes I was down to about 66%,...and that was mainly just playing with the menu function & taking 10-15 photos & repeating to get a feel for the camera features. For occasional shooting you'll be fine, but any more serious use you'll want an extra battery or two. Especially since some batt brands will often just quit as other reviewers have reported.
Batteries II: Nothing happens without good batteries. To try & avoid failure issues some reported with off brand batteries, I bot original Panasonic batteries avail on Amazon for about $22 each. A genuine Panasonic charger is a bit pricy at $29 new. But when it comes to batter power safety, reliability & performance, you get what you pay for. Some buyers had good luck with off brands and some had bad luck. I'd rather not take a chance and miss a good shoot.
Memory Card: you'd need one. I used a Transcend 32 GB High Speed 10 UHS Flash Memory Card TS32GSDU1E (up to 45 MB/s, 300x) which is a faster than most level 10 cards & good reliability. Processing wait time between pics is short & downloads to my Apple is FAST. Great card and friendly price.
Strategy: Will probably look for a newer generation, lower profile stronger telephoto 30x or 50x optical zoom which are starting to come out. Also one with stronger video performance.
BOTTOM LINE: Nice compact camera. Technology feels a bit dated but still a good value. Menu is straight forward & intuitive especially for anyone using cell phones or computers. With all options turned on to conserve battery power, run time is rated at about 180-200 pics,...but just leaving it on & reviewing pics eats up significant power & shortens that time. Too much of a hassle constantly recharging or carrying extra batts....& expensive. Including a basic camera case would be a plus. A tiltable viewing screen would be a GIANT plus,... but prob out of the price point for this camera at a point-n-shoot. Overall, a good value & OK performance. But poor video performance kills it for me. Focus tends to search /cycle at times. No camera is perfect but a few too many issues for me. It's an OK camera & EARNS 3-STARS from me.
on January 5, 2014
The Olympus Stylus SZ-16 has good and bad features.
1. Excellent zoom quality for such a relatively small camera.
2. Great image stabilization.
1. One can take rapid fire pictures; however, there is a recording delay
of 2 -3 seconds before one can take another shot if you are taking single shots.
2. It requires six steps to delete an image.
3. No printed manual included. Only a CD is included.
on April 12, 2014
First, I am a home inspector and use my camera a lot, I mean, a very lot. It's not uncommon for me to take 150 pictures a day, six days a week. I have owned four different models of the Panasonic Lumix cameras with optical zooms from 12X to the latest 20X. The Panasonic takes good pictures, however, after about six months of use, all of the cameras had issues focusing when zooming past 12X. Two have gone back for repair and were not much better when returned. I switched to the Olympus for the zoom and price point. This has been a great camera. The zoom and focus works flawlessly, all the way out to 24X. I have not had one issue with focusing and the pictures are very clear. I estimate I have 2,000 pictures on this camera so far without a issue. If you are looking for a good, affordable point and shoot camera, give this camera a look. I don't think you will be disappointed. Last thing, pick up any other point and shoot camera and hold them like you were going to take a picture. They are terrible, nothing to hold onto. Then pick up this camera, it's easy to hold, point and shoot. Enough said. By the camera, you'll like it.
on March 10, 2015
I received the camera on Monday and have put it thru its paces. I have an SLR and three other point and shoot, including another Olympus. I purchased this camera because of the telephoto lense. So far I am very happy. However, just so you know, there is no view finder so everything is seen on the display panel. We haven't had a lot of sun, so I can't say how well that works.
If you have used a point & shoot before you will have no problem figuring this out without having to download and opening the instruction book.
There is a delay between pictures that seems a bit long compared to the other cameras I have.
The telephoto is phenominal! My current SLR lense is 250mm, this goes up to approx. 600mm when using digital telephoto. Be forwarned, tho, that this camera is very sensitive to any movement when using telephoto. You either will need a tripod or put it on a stable place. I have been using the top of the grill! It is very light weight.
The pictures downloaded are as follows: 1) Standard default when camera is turned on 2) Full normal telephoto 3,4,5: Full digital telephoto
All were taken with the camera sitting on top of the grill so they would have the same distance.
Having a second battery may not be a bad idea. They seem to drain fairly fast if the camera is left on. I haven't noticed if it turns itself off like my others.
4/7/15 Ok, had this for a bit. I still like it, but it will not be my camera of choice for telephoto simply because of the sensitivity to shake and needing a tripod.
I did order a shade for the display screen (see my review on that).
I did just take a set of pictures of a nesting bird but again, had to use the top of something for stabilization.
I will say this camera does a heck of a job with light adjusting. Even the dog's eyes look good w/o flash.