Two ideas from Olympus

Olympus released a whole slew of new cameras today, but I thought I’d pick up two because they have interesting approaches worth mentioning.

[Two cameras after the jump.]

FE-250

The first is the Olympus’s new top of the line compact FE-250. The clever thing here is the addition of “pixel bining” (combining a couple pixels to create a larger virtual pixel), this complements Olympus’s facility of gaining up the LCD preview (which they call BrightCapture) to allow for low light photography.

If you reduce the 8 megapixel down to to 2 megapixel, you can get ISO 10,000! Insane! Strangely, there is no image stabilization available in this model so it’s a lot like a Fuji but without the improved dynamic range that the SuperCCD gives you. (Remember, just because you are pixel-bining doesn’t mean the electron wells are shared across pixels so dynamic range is still limited.)

Great idea though since 2 megapixel is more than enough for 4×5″ prints or the web.

Other strangities are an anemic 3x zoom and a really poor aperture when zoomed in.

SP-550 UZ

The other is an Olympus bridge camera called the SP-550 UZ. As many of you know, I have a softspot for Olympus bridge cameras because the company invented the category. The strange part of this camera is that it redefines the term ultra-zoom with an optical 35mm equiv FoV of 28-504mm (Yes, that’s 18x zoom)—that’s like a video camera.

In keeping with that blurring of lines between photo and video, the camera can burst 1.2mp shots at 15 fps.

It’s clearly targeted for all-in-one travel photography. And if you have been looking at the Panasonic DMC-TZ1, you should also look at this as an interesting, though bulkier, upgrade.

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