Olympus SP-570 UZ Digital Camera
Thursday, June 12, 2008; 12:19 AM
Olympus's entry into the megazoom class delivers the greatest magnification rating of any of the products we tested. At 20X, photos taken at a distance of up to 30 feet from the   subject looked as though   the photographer   had been   right   up close to the   subject.
ButOlympus's zoomy monsterisn't a one-trick pony. The SP-570UZ also features a servo-controlled zoom; 23 distinct scene modes; the ability to let you manually modify ISO, aperture, shutter, and focus settings; a "guide" mode   that steps you through the photographic process; and intuitive controls.
The camera's controls are familiar to anyone   who has some   experience using a digital camera. Four buttons controlling basic functions line the left edge of the 2.7-inch screen, while five buttons arrayed like a directional pad serve double duty as controls for the flash, the self-timer, and the macro (close-up) mode. You turn a ring on the lens to adjust the servo-controlled zoom, but a small motor actually moves the lens. It's intuitive, but the motion of the motor-driven lens--which doesn't move precisely proportionally to your turning of   the dial--took a little getting used to before it was no longer distracting.
We also had a bit of trouble getting the autofocus to lock onto targets in low light. The autofocus would scan from one end to the other trying to sharpen the image, and sometimes took up to   2 seconds to fully lock on to a focal point. In bright daylight, however, the iESP targeting system (which the autofocus controls use to pick a spot to focus on) worked remarkably well, and produced clear shots even at the maximum zoom, aided by the image stabilization system built into the lens.