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Olympus Stylus SH-50 review

Sabyasachi Biswas May 22 | Updated on May 20, 2013

Olympus SH-50 camera review

Olympus SH-50 camera review

Olympus SH-50 camera review

The Magic mode in the Olympus SH-50 contains filters like Dramatic Filter, as shot above - this filter exaggerates colours and gives an HDR-like effect.

The Olympus Stylus SH 50 is quick and eager to lock on with its AF in the macro mode, but noise shows in many indoor shots at even ISO 800.

Olympus SH-50 specs

How much can a point-and-shoot digital camera pack in, without losing image quality? And how many of the said features actually work?

The most versatile point-and-shoot camera, in my opinion, is something that should be fast to lock on to faces, quick to respond in terms of adjusting to lighting conditions in Auto modes, and has a host of features that one can play with. Most importantly, it should have good image quality.

That’s just a short checklist of what a point-and-shoot should have. That, and more pointers about what a good point-and-shoot should not have, were kept in mind when I got to lay my hands on the new Olympus Stylus SH50 digital camera.

Design and build

The SH50 seems like a ruggedly built camera. The exterior is mainly metal, making it slightly heavy, but I really didn’t mind it because toughness is something you’d want in a camera that you want to take places with you.

The collapsible 24x zoom tube could’ve been a little more evened out with the rubber grip, because it does get stuck in denims’ pockets. Yes, a pouch is very much needed for this one (which the manufacturer does provide).

On the back is a good touch interface – I say it’s good because it is surprisingly responsive for a resistive touch display. The flash has to be manually popped up and I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is the fact that the camera does not tell if a scene could do with flash.

Performance

The Olympus Stylus SH 50 is a fast camera – it takes just over a second to be ready to shoot after you push the power button. The zoom tube also comes into shooting position in the same time, and that too very silently. The iAuto mode also adjusts exposure at warp speed, and is complemented by a quick AF. That’s quite good if you’re travelling and see something click-worthy and you need to quickly whip out the camera and shoot.

During the testing I found out that the camera has a quick and responsive Auto Focus which seldom fails to recognise faces or track objects in motion. Yes, the responsiveness falters where light is not adequate. Nonetheless, the performance is quite good for a point-and-shoot. There are a lot of modes within the Magic mode, and quite frankly it’s a lot of fun to play around with these.

For those who also like to have certain amount of manual control, there’s also a decent manual mode and the touch screen lets you select the AF zone manually if you wish to. The minimum macro distance is 3cm – put that together with the selectable AF, and you get good bokeh and macro shots.

Results

Pictures that were taken in daylight (on Auto or Scene modes) turned out to be very balanced. The highlights and the shadows were in perfect tandem, and even in bright sunlight, colours were never washed out. But being a point-and-shoot, the HS-50 sill has a small sensor (1/2.3-inch) and this pulls down the low light performance a bit.

Images taken indoors at ISO 1600 and above showed a lot of graininess, and the subjects’ edges also lacked sharpness when the images were seen on full size on a big monitor. The flash makes matters a bit worse, by washing out bright colours.

The most surprising bit about the camera, however, was its image stabilisation performance. Although the pictures were grainy because of the sensor, they didn’t have any blurs cause by camera shake even at shutter speeds as low as 1/4 seconds. Night and indoor portraits also turned out to be good. Videos too, were well captured in detail and stability, except for the fact that the zoom toggle is a bit too abrupt for comfort.

We say

Considering the fact that a lot of our vacation pictures end up on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr rather than be printed and kept in albums, 16 megapixels are more than enough. As mentioned earlier, the images do tend to have a slight lack of sharpness and show grains above ISO 1600. But, these little flaws show up only when you blow the pictures up on a big screen. As long as you’re using the camera to capture and share colourful, action-packed and candid moments while on a trip, the Stylus SH-50 will prove to be a good companion.

Rs 22,990

Love – Awesome AF and Image stabilisation, fun filters

Hate – Average video functions, slightly grainy night shots

sabyasachi.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on May 20, 2013

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