Olympus SZ- 14

8/7/2012 3:08:49 PM

A powerful yet compact superzoom with an artistic edge and plenty to offer beginners

Olympus has graced the scene with a compact tele- zoom camera. The powerful lens reaches across a 24 x optical range, which goes as wide as 25 mm and as far as 600 mm. this gives plenty of scope when confronted with challenging scenery, although there were times when focusing did not quite make the grade and blurry shots were something to get used to. But as the camera gives you control over ISO (as low as 80) we were able to help speed up the shutter times to reduce blurring. The three- inch LCD display gave lots of room to compose images, whichever scene mode was being used. The ease of use and readily available quick- help guides make the camera ideal for beginners. Modes such as the fun Magic Filter give you a choice of effects, which include shooting with a fish- eye style lens, a drawn effect, water colour, the ‘miniature’ effect and a reflection mode for creating perfect symmetry in your shots.

Description: Olympus SZ- 14

Olympus SZ- 14

Modes such as panorama and 3D are helpful additions, however the latter is only useful if you have the right device to view it on after recording. Shooting panoramas in done by taking frames one by one. This can also be done in an auto mode where you pan across your scene to capture a long vista, and the camera does the rest of the work. Manual options do not go as far as aperture and shutter controls, but ISO, white balance and metering choices are all available.

In terms of overall image quality, purple fringing is strongly visible along lines of contrast, which tended to be a distraction. Noise is dealt with substantially, and with ISO ratings starting as low as 80 the camera is good enough for everyday use, with its buttons and switches feeling firm to the touch. The SZ- 14 is available in deep red, solid black or metallic sliver, and looks every bit the part with a practical twist.

Hands- on …

The camera feels secure to hold, with a comfortable grip and bumps in all the right places for fingertips. It is weighty and just about pocket- sized, making it portable too, so you can take it almost anywhere.

Flash is operated by a button on the side of the lens, so it is easy to access when you want it.

The enormous 24x optical lens zooms smoothly from wide to tele, and neatly tucks into the body.

Magic Filters transform normal shots into artistic effects, such as pin hole and Tish eye.

Description: Program modes keep hold of manual controls for adjusting setting

Program modes keep hold of manual controls for adjusting setting

How good is it for


Portrait, self Portrait and Beauty modes help capture clear portraits


Versatile zoom range and magic Filter make for creative landscapes


A choice of three burst modes for up to 10fps to capture all the action

Low light

Not’s the best night shooter, as images turn out fair soft


Super Macro mode works very well to focus on close objects

What is good about it

A large optical zoom means sharpness is kept through focal lengths

Magic Filter modes allow room for extra creativity with shots of various subjects

What could be better

Forcusing could be quicker to react, especially in low- light scenes and indoors

Image quality could be better when coping with high- contrast scenes

Description: A powerful yet compact superzoom with an artistic adge and plenty to offer beginners

A powerful yet compact superzoom with an artistic edge and plenty to offer beginners

We answer your questions

Does the camera have any modes to improve my portrait shots?

Yes. There is the beauty mode that works to reduce skin flaws and redness. Also, in playback you can apply Beauty Fix options such as Clear Skin and Sparkle Eye, for multiple finishing touches, which can all help to give better portraits.

The info

Price: $305

Megapixels / 14 MP

Enough for good- quality A4 photos

Zoom / 24x optical, 4x digital

The wide- angle to long telephoto zoom range is equivalent to using a 25- 600mm lens.

Shutter speeds / 4- 1/ 170 sec

Ideal for night- time shooting with a four- second blub mode

ISO sensitivity / 80- 1600

A decent range that gives low noise in images in normal conditions

Exp. Modes / 16 scene modes, plus i- Auto, Magic Filter, Program, Panorama, Movie. 3D

Program mode lets you adjust ISO, exposure, white balance and more

Aperture:  f3- 6.9

Flash modes:  A, RE, FI, SS, FOff

Weight: 216g with battery

Dimensions: 106.5 x 68.7 x 19.5 mm

Batteries: Lithium- ion

Storage:  SD / SDHC / SDXC

Screen:  3 inches



Features: 4/5

Design and handling: 5/5

Build quality: 4/5

Image quality: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5

A good all- round superzoom camera that takes fine images and will be best for the action photographer, but also has a versatile array of beginner- friendly features: 4/5

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