The Olympus SP-590UZ has a handsome black-finish body. The finish is a mixture of non-slip
texturized rubber covering the handgrip and smooth
black hard polycarbonate plastic for the
rest of the body, plus silver/chrome accents to
tie it all together into a very good looking camera. The SP-590UZ has excellent construction and balance but it is put together in a way that makes it a bit large and chunky.
The handgrip feels comfortably secure with all
my fingers finding a resting place. There is thankfully no protruding eyelet for the right shoulder strap.
Startup time is fast at about 1.5 sec., shot to shot times about 2.5 sec. (4 shots in 10 sec.), and there is no practical shutter lag in good lighting. Autofocus is fast and precise in good lighting, even at long focal lengths (with usual slight AF lag). In low-light, AF is about 1 sec. at wide-angle (3 sec. at full tele) and locks precisely even with low contrast subjects.
At 12M Fine, you'll be able to save about 3 images in Internal memory and 174 images on a 1GB xD-Picture Card. Shooting video 640x480 @ 30fps, you can record about 12s in Internal memory and up to 9m27s on a 1GB xD-Picture card. I recommend you use a 2GB SD Memory Card or a higher capacity one, depending on how many pictures and videos you usually take in one outing.
with white letterings; blue and orange icons; and, silver and chrome accents
Looks: DSLR-type, very handsome design
Deep comfortable grip
Controls are recessed and may be a bit difficult to access if you have big fingers
'Big' Compact: best carried hung
around the neck or shoulder
Dimensions: 110 x 89 x 98 mm /
4.3 x 3.5 x 3.9 in.
Weight: 435g / 15.3oz without batteries and media card
Takes 4 AA batteries
SPEED OF OPERATION
Startup with lens extending
about 16 mm (0.6 in.) and LCD turning
on and ready in about 1.5 sec.
Shot to shot time about 2.5 sec.
AF is fast at wide-angle but can take
up to 3 sec. at full tele in low-light
No practical shutter lag at wide-angle
in good or low-light, 3 sec. AF lag at full tele
Included in the box are 4 AA Alkaline batteries.
that you purchase 4 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries
and a battery charger.
The Flash Pop-Up button is on the left side of the flash. The flash opens up quietly enough but snaps loudly back when closed.
The flash is powerful and can reach up to 6.4 m (21 ft) on ISO Auto. You need to manually pop it up before it can be used -- the type I prefer. When closed, you won't be surprised by the flash suddenly popping up and firing when you don't want it to. Press a small button and it pops up; you can then use the RIGHT ARROW to select 5 flash options: Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill In, Red-eye + Fill In, Off, Slow Sync, Red-Eye Slow Sync, and Slow-Curtain Sync. To turn the flash off, simply close it.
Though there is no hot shoe for the attachment of an external flash, you can use an external wireless flash compatible with the Olympus
Wireless RC Flash System. This enables
multi-flash photography using multiple flash
units compatible with this system. The camera’s
built-in flash is used for communication between
the camera and flash. You can also use a slave flash that is synchronized
with the camera flash.
The camera rests naturally in the palm of your left hand, with the fingers of that hand wrapped securely around the lens barrel which juts out from the body at about 48 mm (1.9 in.). When the camera is turned ON, the lens extends an extra 16 mm (0.6 in.) at Wide-angle and 62 mm (2.4 in.) at full Tele.
A bridge extends from the underside of the body almost three quarters of the lens barrel to add further stability to the camera when it is placed on a flat surface.
The top of the camera has the Shutter Release Button with the Zoom Lever around the collar, the Power ON/OFF button, and the Mode Dial with AUTO, PASM modes, My mode (4 available), SCN (Scene Modes), Beauty Mode, Movie and Playback (there is also a Playback button on the back).
The lens is not threaded but the lens barrel will accept the TCON-17 (1.7x) Telephoto Converter lens which will bring your tele reach to a whopping 1149.2mm reach! To use the teleconverter, you must also purchase the Lens Adapter Tube (CLA-11).
A lens cap sits on top
of the lens barrel and is just loose enough that
the extruding lens will not jam but will safely
push it off the lens barrel should you turn on
the camera and forget to remove the lens cap first.
A retaining string ensures you do not lose the
It only takes a quick 2 sec. to zoom all the way from wide-angle to 26x telephoto. I counted about 28 intermediate steps. The zooming is smooth and it's easy enough to stop right where you want to.
The LCD is large, clear and bright at 2.7 inch with 230K dots resolution. [It seems to me that at 230K dots resolution, 2.7-in. may be the maximum LCD size to display a clear image; anything larger and the display becomes grainy.] The electronic viewfinder has a Diopter adjustment dial on the left side that works well. You press the Monitor button to switch between the viewfinder and LCD display. You can display a Framing Grid for easier composition. There is a Live Histogram. You can also view a Histogram in Playback.
As I mentioned, there is a Playback setting on the Mode Dial as well as a Playback button on the back of the camera. You cannot press and hold the Playback button to go directly into Playback without having to turn on the camera; you unfortunately have to power on the camera first (and extend the lens, remove the lens cap and waste precious battery power).
The Connector compartment is on the left side of the camera (viewed from the back) with a hinged plastic cover that slides and opens wide to permit easy access to the connectors.
There is no Manual Focus.
The Sensor-shift image stabilization is selected from the Menu (Camera Menu - Image Stabilizer - ON/OFF) and is available for both still and movie shooting. [According to the manual, shooting a movie for
an extended period of time with the Image Stabilizer turned ON may result in the
camera heating up and the protective circuit
automatically shutting off the power.]
BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from
the Monitor button)
The Monitor button toggles between the EVF and
LCD. EVF has diopter adjustment which works quite well.
Custom button allows one button access to a frequently used function. Typically used for the AE Lock / AF Lock functions.
MENU button calls up Menu/Setup/Panorama
Arrow Pad: UP (Exposure Compensation),
RIGHT (Flash), DOWN
(Self-timer 12s, 2s), LEFT (Macro, SuperMacro)
DISP: Info (Normal), No info (Simple),
Info + Grid (Frame Assist), Info + Histogram
Shadow Adjustment; ERASE only one image at a time in Playback
Exposure compensation is accessed with the UP ARROW
Once set, the Exposure Compensation
Indicator conveniently stays displayed
on screen until it is reset to "0"
Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (13 steps in
1/3 EV increments)
The screen brightness will increase
or decrease to reflect the value you
Note: the exposure compensation value
selected is retained even when the camera
is turned off (so remember to reset
to "0" after using it or the
next time you turn the camera on, your
shots may be over- or under-exposed.)
Wide: 3.9 (0.1m)
Tele: 66.9 (1.7m)
Wide: 3.9 (0.1m)
Tele: 47.2 (1.2m)
Note: Macro/Super Macro stays selected
even when you turn the camera off and
M: 15 - 1/1,000 sec. (F2.8 - F8.0); Bulb: up to 8 min. (at ISO 64)
W: F2.8 - F8.0
T: F5.0 - F8.0
It would have been good if the full range of shutter speeds were made available in P mode.
At the bottom of the camera, the tripod mount thread is plastic and more or less smack in the middle of the body though not inline with the lens. The Battery Compartment door has a lock to prevent accidental opening (accepts 4 AA batteries). You won't be able to change battery or card when the camera is on a tripod. The SP-590UZ uses the xD-Picture Card; a microSD Attachment is provided to enable you to use microSD and microSDHC card.
The Olympus SP-590UZ has very good build
and construction, and an excellent deep handgrip. It has lots of useful features,
a very good EVF and LCD monitor that gains up
well in low-light situations. Performance is very good in both good and low lighting.