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February 08, 2011

Olympus launches four new compacts, headlined by 18x SZ-10 compact-zoom

Olympus has announced four new fixed-lens compact digital cameras today, to go with their five pack at CES 2011. As you can tell, Olympus has decided to change the name prefixes in 2011, and that's a good thing, because now you can tell for sure that a camera takes SDHC (and not xD) just by looking at its model name prefix. Prior to 2011, you had to look at specs if you wanted to figure out whether the FE-series or SP-series took SD or xD.

The new five-pack is headlined by the SZ-10 18x superzoom model, their latest entry in the world of compactish-superzooms, and perhaps their first direct competitor to the TZ-series travel-zoom series but with a bigger zoom ratio. It has a 14mp 1/2.3" CCD sensor, a 28-504mm eq lens with sensor shift stabilization, 720p, 3D mode, 3" LCD, LiIon battery, etc. Perhaps one notable consequence of the CCD vs CMOS is the turtle-speed burst mode of 0.89fps at full resolution. More details at Photography Review, DC Views, Photoxels, etc. The camera will come out in March for $250~.

More compact than the SZ-10 is the 12.5x zoom duo of VR-330 and VR-320 with the easy mnemonic of VR (think stabilization and zoom, although that's a Nikon name!). These two lovelies have a 24-300mm eq with sensor-shift stabilization, 14mp 1/2.3" sensor, 720p video, 3" LCD, etc. The VR-330 also has a better resolution LCD, 3D mode and HDMI out. The VR-320 is priced at $200 in the US and will be a Jessops model in the UK, while the more interesting VR-330 is not available in the US market. More on these two at Photography Blog, Photoscala, Photoxels, dpreview etc.

Last (and least) of this bunch is the entry-level VG-110, which is so far the lowest numbered model in the new VG-series. It has a 4x lens (26-108mm eq), 2.7" LCD, and an opening price of $90. Yes, cameras are coming out the door under $100! More on these at Photoxels, Photography Review,, etc.

These increased the total of new cameras in 2011 to 105, with 31 of these having a zoom ratio of 10x or more! Cellphone-camera message received!

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