Olympus SH- 21

8/6/2012 5:29:29 PM

A sleek and practical super zoom that is suitable for all types of photography

The Olympus SH- 21 is an all- round camera that will help you take great photos of any subject, from landscapes with vivid colours to portraits with pleasing skin tones. It standout features are a generous 12.5x optical zoom to get you in close to the action, 16 MP for high quality print and 1080p full HD video.

Description: Olympus SH- 21

It is a conventional- looking camera with a nice finish and sturdy build quality, with an easy- to- use control wheel on the back and a crisp LCD screen. The menus are simple to use, with key settings easily accessible down the side of the screen, and it even comes with touch- shooting and touch- autofocus too.

Movie mode is easily switched to and Multi- motion Movie IS works to combat any camera shake. There is also a 3D photo shooting mode and Smart Panorama to let you take creative shots. An interesting feature is the Hand- held Starlight mode to halo reduce blur in low light; this works by taking four photos and merging them in- camera. The high ISO range lets you take shots in low light, coping with noise until around ISO 800.

There are plenty of options here to help you take more creative shots, including Magic filters like Pinhole, Fish- eye and a nice effect that adds in a reflection of your subject. You can also edit your images in- camera too, with cropping, red eye and shadow adjustments and a beauty Fix option to improve your portraits.

More advanced users will enjoy being able to set their own ISO, white balance and the exposure compensation option, as well as the presence of a histogram, but there is no manual mode. It is also compatible with Eye- Fi memory cards so you can instantly upload photos to your computer via Wi- Fi. Overall, considering it budget price, the image quality is high and the range of features make this an excellent camera for beginners wanting a bit of everything.

Hands on …

The SH- 21 has a grip on the front and an easy- to- operate mode dial and zoom at the top. Its is comfortable to hold and is compact enough considering the zoom it is packing.

Face Detection and Beauty scene modes will help you take perfect portraits. Add a fish- eye effect for a quirky attractive.

There is au AF Tracking mode that will help you focus on fast- moving subjects, ensuring you keep up with sports and action shots.

You can view images in- camera with a slideshow, or use the Photo Surfing option to filter your browsing

Description: Live Guide  mode lets you change things such as saturation and see the effect your changes have on screen

Live Guide mode lets you change things such as saturation and see the effect your changes have on screen

How good is it for


With face detection, portrait mode and beauty fix, portraits are easy


A wide- angle lens and panorama function result in great landscapes


There are menu features included to help you freeze the sporting action

Low light

There is Hand- held Starlight mode and a good ISO range


The camera has minimum focusing distance of 1 cm in Super Macro mode

What is good about it

It has a large optical zoom for getting you up close to your subject

The filters and art modes allow you to take some creative shots

What could be better

A small amount of noise crept into images, but it coped until ISO 800

A manual mode would benefit more advanced users

We answer your questions

Is this camera good for sport photos?

With a 12.5x optical zoom you can get in close to the action. AF tracking and the 7fps high speed continuous shooting means you will not miss a moment and the Dual Image Stabilisation will reduce camera shake, making this camera ideal for sports photography.

The info

Price: $289

Megapixels / 16 MP

Large prints are possible, but files will take up a lot of space

Zoom / 12.5x optical, 4x digital

This is a large zoom with a 24- 300 mm equivalent reach

Shutter speeds / 1/4- 1/ 2000 sec (4s in Night Scene mode)

A big range for long exposure and freezing movement

ISO sensitivity / 80- 3200

This high value will let the camera function well in low light

Exp. Modes / 16 scene modes, plus iAuto, P, 3D photo, Hand- held Starlight, Panorama, Movie

A wide variety of modes that cover every subject well

Aperture: f3.0- 5.9

Flash modes :  Auto, RE, FI, FOff

Weight: 184g with battery

Dimensions: 105.4 x 59.4 x30.6 mm

Batteries: Lithium- ion

Storage:  SD / SDHC / SDXC / Eye- FI

Screen:  3 inches



Features: 4/5

Design and handling: 4/5

Build quality: 4/5

Image quality: 4/5

Value for money: 5/5

A versatile camera for taking great pictures in most situations. It has plenty of features and creative settings with a high image quality, all for a budget price tag: 4/5

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