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on October 9, 2011
I had a 7 year old Olympus and loved it...then I got a Fujifilm 18x zoom..I liked that/but it was too bulky to carry EVERYWHERE......came across this at Wal-you know....and loved the size and feel.So I ordered on Amazon/because price was better....received the camera/loved the "effects" loved the feel/and the zoom is awesome! if you see my posted picture....I zoomed in on a sailboat 3 miles across the lake and it looks pretty good for what is does! I was amazed at how the camera didn't need 4,5,6 or 7 tries to get a focused zoom! I also like the fact you can take several pictures in a row with no special set up/even though the "preview screen" still shows previous shot/you can continue with 6,7 more shoots in a row!easy to use "navigation" button....just wished it took AA batteries..I ended up buying another battery with a wall charger...the "down side"? only charges via usb when connected to computer/unless you get another type of charger as I did...ALSO the "usb" is special type.....not any common usb will connect to camera/the manufacturer supplies the "special" usb cable.....also...the usb doesn't fit "snuggly" when connected and the slightest bump knocks it out of the camera :( but for the price/the zoom/the effects/the portability/it fits into my cargo pant pocket easily as small as a point and shoot/this camera is great!!takes great pictures/but I mostly bought it for the zoom!
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11 comment| 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 11, 2012
I got the SZ-10 because I wanted a pocket-size camera with a lot of zoom and one where I wouldn't have to wait forever between flash shots. After spending way too much time researching cameras on the Internet, I decided on the SZ-10. I've been almost 100% satisfied with the camera and completely dissatisfied with the accompanying software. The camera gets 5 stars. The software would drag my overall rating down if it was needed.

Here are some features that I am especially happy with:
* The 18x optical zoom. This will be great for outdoor shots of wildlife. At 18x, I can get by without a tripod, but if I turn on digital zoom on top of that I will definitely need a stable platform.
* Panorama mode. This is nicely done. In the past, I have used computer software to stitch images together. The SZ-10 does that for you for 2 or 3 shots and it works great. It will take more shots, but stitching then has to be done on a computer.
* I love the flash. It's out of sight unless you want it. Flip the flash up, set the flash mode that you normally use then snap it closed again. When you want to use the flash, pop it up and the mode you set will be remembered. While closed, the flash is automatically set to OFF. When open, the mode is easily changed if you have to.
* Super Macro mode is great for close-ups
* I'm having fun with Burst Mode, especially after I set the sound effects to chirp after each shot.
* The on-screen Help is a nice reminder of what major functions do. It is not a complete user guide, however. For the obscure functions that I will use only seldom, I copied/pasted portions of the PDF user guide onto a single page that I keep with the camera.
* You can turn the camera on with buttons other than the Power button, But when I pull the camera out of its case I tend to hit one of them. That can make the lens pop out as the camera is being extracted and could be a problem. Fortunately, the menu system lets you turn this feature off. I don't know why anyone would need more than one way to turn it on anyway.

Here are some things I'm not so thrilled with:
* The camera zooms very quickly. You do not have fine control. To get the zoom you want, you have to poke the zoom lever, making the camera zoom in short bursts. If you hold the zoom lever over, you probably won't be able to stop it exactly where you want it.
* Some features, like Digital Zoom, automatically get disabled under certain shooting modes. The menu system gives you no clue as to why they are disabled and sometimes it's hard to determine what settings you have to change so you can regain access to the disabled functions so you can change them.
* But the real issue with this camera (and probably all similar Olympus cameras) it the software that comes with it. The user interface is so badly designed that I can't figure out what its purpose is. And it is so badly implemented that I took it off my computer. Their "ib" program (what the heck does 'ib' mean, anyway?) opens automatically when you insert an SD card (I haven't found a way to disable this) and fills your monitor with a black-background screen (ever see that on a company's web site? it's awful to read). If you drag an edge of the window to make it smaller, you will permanently loose the window's Close box. Since there is no other way to close this window (it doesn't respond to the Task bar), you have to use CTRL+Alt+Del to kill it. Yikes! How crappy is that? Fortunately, your computer probably already has better ways to do what the Olympus ib and Viewing software does.

Here are some things that bother other reviewers but don't bother me:
* You can't have optical zoom with a movie if the microphone is turned on. I don't plan to shoot a lot of movies, so this is not a biggie to me, but I can see where it could be annoying. It's not so much that you need 18x zoom for movies as it is that you have to plan your movies in advance. Do I want zoom? How much? Do I want sound? And is my menu system set up for what I want? If you normally have sound ON and digital zoom OFF as I do, then before shooting an 18x zoom movie you have to go into the menu system and turn sound OFF and separately turn Digital Zoom ON (which may be difficult if it has been disabled because of some other setting). This problem isn't unique to this camera; others that I investigated have their own unique (and sometimes more annoying) ways of handling sound, movies and zoom. If you forget to check these settings, you might get home to find the movie you thought you shot with sound doesn't have it.
* Zooming is noisy. Not enough to bother your ears or to make you think the camera is breaking, but enough to be picked up by the mike. Maybe this is why they turn optical zoom off for movies with sound.
* The plastic tab that attaches the HDMI/USB cover is cheap and breaks. Yes, you do have to be careful with it, but I have a Sony with the same arrangement and it is still intact after 8 years.
* The controls are difficult to understand. That's true initially and the PDF User Guide is not presented in the most logical fashion. But if you read the whole thing and play with the camera, you'll get the hang of it. I now actually find the controls rather easy to use.
* It does not come with a printed User Manual. That's true, but it has a CD with the guide on it or you can download it. But the guide is 84 pages long and you're not going to want to carry that around with you. Read through it, learn what you can and then use the built-in help when you are in the field.
* Sound isn't recorded in stereo. True, but the cameras that claim to record stereo sound have their mikes separated by less than an inch. Just because you have two channels of sound doesn't mean you get stereo.

In the end, what's most important is that this camera takes great pictures, has lots of features and zooms more than almost every similarly sized and priced camera. I recommend it.
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on June 28, 2011
This Olympus is ultra compact with excellent zoom of 18x which you would normally find in bridge cameras but is compact like the point and shoot. Loaded with features and video was crisp and sound was better than expected with no additional mic attached. I was well pleased to have purchased an everyday point and shoot yet performs like a bridge camera with tons of shooting options. This is a great camera to go anywhere with. Will recommend highly.
11 comment| 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 23, 2011
Will be returning/exchanging.

Pictures looked good (especially with the nice LCD) but the image stabilization was hit or miss when using the zoom. The Magic Filters worked well but, in the end, I didn't see myself using them much in the future. The deal breaker for me was that video mode did not allow zoom (SZ-30 does). Don't get me wrong, the videos were clear and sound was great (720p is really good enough for me). I'm looking for a camera that takes good quality pictures AND takes decent videos with things that should come standard (i.e. zooming in video mode).

Also, it seemed that the whole camera was heating up (more than normal I guess). User Interface was not very user friendly with the lack of a dedicated, physical mode dial. It took quite a bit of time when focusing on objects near or far (approx 3 - 5 seconds).

Overall, good picture quality without zoom, and sometimes WITH zoom. The lacking areas as mentioned above were enough for me to decide that I did not want to keep this camera.

Hope this helps!
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on November 9, 2011
I am so enjoying this camera. It takes quick clear pictures, has lots of cool functions, and I think it is pretty easy to use. The zoom is amazing, and when zoomed in on something, it still takes a great photo. I am very pleased that I purchased this item.
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on November 27, 2011
First of all, because of the zoom, this camera looks much more bulky in the pictures then it actually is. When it is off, it resembles just a normal digital camera in it's width, which threw me off, cause I like bigger cameras. Anyways, it amazed me at the quality of every picture, I would zoom all the way in on certain things, and you could see all the individual dust that had settled on something,and it wasn't blurry in the slightest, that's how good this camera is. Love love love it. The only con I have is that I wish it had actual batteries instead of the rechargeable one it has. That's all :)
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on August 30, 2011
Good camera with tons of features. Love the zoom lens. HD video is great with smooth playback. The software it comes with is easy and very useful for editing and organizing your pictures. That said, with all the features, one really has to go through the manual step by step. Also one problem is that the flash does not pop up automatically in low light, you have to activate it manually. All in all great value for the price!
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on January 21, 2012
This is a beautiful little camera that is capable of doing a lot, that is, if you can run it. It states 18x zoom, but it was in actuality much less than that except for when in digital zoom. This camera is small and because that is hard to hold still and get non-blurry pictures. I couldn't figure out if I should be focusing it before taking the picture, or if I should press the button and let it focus and take when it was ready. The instruction manual is on a CD that is nasty and hard to read on the computer. It functions by menu and it is hard to find your way around, especially if you are in a hurry to get a shot. I had trouble finding things, but that could just be my problem. I had no end of trouble trying to use the macro; just couldn't get a clear picture.

Pros: Pleasing design, small, lots of options.
Cons: Nearly impossible to get clear shots in any mode but iAuto. No instruction manual. Needs to have a book printed.

I played with this camera for 13 days. I wanted to like it. I loved the size and it was a pretty little camera. But in the end I had to take it back because a camera I cannot get clear pictures on is of no value to me. I was wishing for a small camera to tuck in my purse but this definitely isn't the one for me.
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on November 19, 2011
I can't beleive this camera does not allow you to zoom in while in Movie mode. This is definitely a minus for this camera. The picture quality is good however the image stabilization is also very bad. I tried to take a picture of a small sign accross the street from me about 40 ft away using full optical zoom. I viewed the picture before taking it and it looked great prior to taking the shot. After taking the shot, the final picture looked HORRIBLE as if someone was shaking the camera wildly.
I am returning the camera due to these issues.
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on December 25, 2011
So, I found this camera about three weeks ago, and asked for it for Christmas. Sure enough, my awesome parents purchased it for me. As of right now, I have only had it for one day, but I couldn't be happier! This camera meets above and beyond my expectations. It has many language options, (including Russian!) The zoom is awesome. One of my favorite views is the panoramic view. I didn't even realize this was on the camera! Amazing surprise! It also shoots in 3D, but I think you need a 3D reading device to actual see it. But there are so many other views too, including but not limited to a view that automatically snaps a picture of your animal (select cat or dog in the menu) when it reads its face. Also, you can manual snap the photo to. (I'm a fan of this feature because I love taking pictures of my dog!) This camera is light weight and awesome looking. What really caught me on the camera in the first place was the look. I love how it looks from the top when it is all the way zoomed in.

Now, I am no expert in cameras. In fact, this is my first camera that is not only a video camera (however, this one also shoots videos!) But, the features looked amazing, and I know that the must have been good because my dad would not have purchased this item if it did not look like a high quality device.

I am SO looking forward to using this camera! I have had a hard time putting it down today!

Also, if you decide to purchase the camera, I would recommend also purchasing this kit:

(2) CTA LI-50B Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries + Mini Battery Charger + Tripod + Accessory Kit for Olympus SP-800, SZ-10, SZ-20, SZ-30MR, TG-610, TG-810, XZ-1, Stylus TOUGH 6020 & 8010 Digital Cameras

It is a great starter kit. It also exceeds my expectations!! It is currently only 34.95, and well worth the money. Comes with two extra batteries, extra charger, table tripod, regular tripod, and MORE!! All name brand and good quality!
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