Olympus Stylus SH-2 Review

The Stylus SH-2 is a compact travel zoom that offers a 24x optical zoom lens, a 16 megapixel sensor, 3inch touch-screen and built-in Wi-Fi, along with a retro-styled camera body. 5-axis image stabilisation helps keep photos and video steady, and the camera has a number of advanced shooting modes including manual shooting, time-lapse video creation, live view composite shooting, nightscape mode, plus raw shooting.


The Olympus Stylus SH-2 offers a 24x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-600mm in 35mm terms, f/3.0-6.9 in a pocketable metal and plastic camera body. 5-axis image stabilisation works for stills and video, which will help when using the optical zoom, shooting in low light, or recording video handheld. On the back is a 3inch touch-screen, with a 460,000 dot resolution.


The camera features classic styling, similar to the Olympus PEN series, as well as the film camera, the Olympus TRIP 35, and as a result looks more interesting than most compact cameras available.


Built-in Wi-Fi connects to the Olympus Image Share app and is available for Android and iOS devices. OI.Share lets you use it with compatible Olympus cameras for remote shooting, image transfer, image editing, and geotagging.


The camera has iAuto mode to automatically choose the best settings for the scene, and an automatic panoramic shooting mode makes it easy to create panoramic shots in camera. There are a number of scene modes including a Super Macro mode that lets you focus on subjects just 3cm away from the front of the lens.


The camera has a 1080p Full HD 60p movie mode, as well as time-lapse movie recording. It’s also possible to shoot photos while recording video without interrupting movie capture. A fast 240fps High-Speed Movie mode is available, albeit at a reduced resolution.


The classic styling of the camera looks very good, some would even say cool, with a solid black band across the middle, and silver metal plates across the top and bottom. Textured black plastic grips on the front and back of the camera may give the camera a stylish look, however they aren’t as grippy as rubber and therefore we’d recommend using the provided neck / shoulder strap. The camera has good build quality, although the battery and memory card compartment cover uses quite thin plastic.


You can use the 3inch touch-screen to set the focus position and shoot photos, simply by pressing the screen. However you can’t use the touch-screen to select and browse the menu options. The camera has a mode dial on top, along with a small number of buttons and controls, making the camera easy to use. The info button can be used to change what’s displayed on the screen and the camera features a dual-axis electronic level.


The 4-way pad is used to cycle through the camera menus. The shooting settings are displayed down the right hand side of the screen, with the available options listed dependent on the mode you are in. The rest of the settings are available via the menu button, and there is built-in help in the camera to help explain the options and settings.


Wi-Fi features – The camera features built-in Wi-Fi and the free Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) app enables easy sharing of files (RAW / JPEG / MOV) with connected smart devices. Geotagging with GPS location information. Remote control of the camera from a smart device lets you set the zoom, self-timer, white balance and exposure (ISO, shutter speed, aperture), shooting and drive modes, AF area, and shutter. You can also edit images with custom signatures, Art Filters, and stamps.


Battery life – Battery life is rated at 380 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is very good for a compact camera, although extended use of Wi-Fi and flash is likely to reduce the battery life further.


Speed – We took a number of shots to test the camera’s responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.


Focus and shutter response are both very quick. After shooting 16 JPEG images, it takes 22 seconds for the camera to write the images to the memory card.


The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Olympus Stylus SH-2 Review – Reviewed, the Olympus Stylus SH-2 a compact camera with a 24x optical zoom lens, and classic styling, but with modern features like built in Wi-Fi and a 3inch touch screen.



Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Review

This ultra-wide angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to a 14-28mm lens used on a 35mm format and sports a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. The lens is also dust and splash proof and is available from around £1000 at the time of writing. In this review we’ll take a look at how it performs.

The lens barrel is constructed from high quality, robust materials with a glossy finish and the bayonet is metal with a rubber gasket to prevent the ingress of dust and moisture into the camera body. Despite the robust construction and constant f/2.8 aperture the lens only weighs 534g. This makes the lens an ideal companion for the Panasonic Lumix G6 body used for testing.

Focusing is performed internally, although due to the bulbous front element, necessary to provide such a wide field of view there is no filter thread. Sliding back the focus ring reveals a distance scale and automatically changes the camera to manual focus mode, which is ideal for applying quick adjustments. However, it is quite easy to nudge this by accident when changing lenses, so care needs to be taken to ensure the lens is in the correct mode for shooting. The minimum focus distance is 20cm throughout the zoom range, which is ideal for close ups, or shooting in claustrophobic environments.

At 12mm sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame and excellent towards the edges. The performance of the lens at this focal length is limited by diffraction, so there is nothing to be gained in sharpness by stopping down.

Zooming to 10mm results in a slight reduction in sharpness at maximum aperture, although performance is still excellent across the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/4 results in outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame and excellent clarity towards the edges.

Finally, at 14mm sharpness is very good in the centre and good towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to between f/4 and f/5.6 results in excellent clarity in the centre and very good performance towards the edges for this focal length.

Chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled throughout most of the zoom range for this kind of lens. Fringing barely exceeds half a pixel width, which should make these chromatic aberrations difficult to spot.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is also well controlled. At 7mm and f/2.8 the comers are 1.52 stops darker than the centre of the image and at 14mm the corners are only 1.27 stops darker than the image centre. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination across the frame throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well corrected in camera, but without corrections applied, detected 1.73% barrel distortion at 7mm which reduces to 0.61% at 14mm. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame throughout the zoom range, which should make applying corrections in image editing software afterwards fairly straightforward.

A petal-shaped hood is built onto the front of the lens, which does a reasonable job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with loss of contrast or flare. Strong sources of light in the frame, such as the sun can cause flare and a noticeable loss of contrast.

Currently, this lens is available for around £1000, which is good value for a lens of this quality. There is no direct equivalent currently available for Micro Four Thirds cameras, with the closest alternative being Panasonic’s 7-14mm f/4 lens, which costs around £800.

Given the ‘Pro’ moniker assigned to this lens, expectations of its build and performance should be high. During testing this lens proved itself worthy, by delivering images with outstanding sharpness, whilst handling well and sporting a robust dust and moisture resistant construction. The lens may be a little prone to flare, but given the extreme angle of view on offer and the compact size of the lens, this flaw may be something many will be able to forgive, or even forget.

Outstanding sharpness from maximum apertureRelatively compact and lightweightRobust buildDust and splash proofQuick access for manual focusGood valueExcellent control of CA

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.