A friend has emailed to ask which ultra zoom digital camera he should buy, he is tempted by the Olympus SP-550 Ultra Zoom…
There are currently four choices if you want an ultra zoom like the SP-550 with a huge 18x optical zoom lens:- the Panasonic FZ18, the Fuji S8000fd, the Olympus SP-550, and the SP-560. All four cameras feature a wide angle 18x optical zoom lens with the SP-560 and S8000fd featuring a wider zoom range of 27-486mm, and the SP-550, and FZ18 featuring a longer telephoto zoom range of 28-504mm. All cameras are 8 megapixel models (except the SP-550 at 7mp), and all feature optical image stabilisation (lens based in the Panasonic, and CCD-shift based in the Olympus and Fuji)… but which would you buy?
Looking at the price differences: The SP-550 is the cheapest at £174, the S8000fd is also around £189 and has a larger 2.7″ screen, and takes both SD and XD memory cards. The Panasonic FZ18 with Leica lens is £244, and the Olympus SP-560 is £225. The Fuji and Olympus models both take AA batteries – so don’t forget a charger and some high power rechargable batteries.
Based on price and features, it appears that the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is the most appealling, but read some reviews to find out if it’s the right choice for you: Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Reviews, Olympus SP-550UZ Reviews, Panasonic Lumix FZ18 Reviews, Olympus SP-560UZ Reviews. Updated 13/12/07.