Olympus SP 350

The SP 350 is an 8 mega pixel digital camera which would appeal to those who want to own a digital camera and see photography as a hobby. Although the camera has a lot of features like manual exposure, still the basic design of the SP350 is kept extremely tidy. The camera has dimensions of 99.5 x 65 x 35 mm and weighs around 195g. The SP350 is very smart looking and coupled with its matt black finish, has a very professional feeling to it.

The basic picture quality provided by the SP350 is sharp and bright. The outdoor pictures are quite impressive with the colours being vibrant and natural. The images taken are sharply focused in the center. Some areas might have a loss of detailing but all the high contrast areas are handled well. The use of flash might not be satisfactory with the control of flash not being as good as some of its competitors.

Indoor shots are not as impressive as the outdoors but still the 350 does a decent job. One area of concern is prominent red eye present in nearly all shots taken from this camera. The red eye reduction feature can be used to solve this problem to some effect. There is also a red eye reduction flash setting which can be used separately. Auto focus illuminator when used helps in improving the shots to a commendable quality. Shots taken in macro mode are good and clear.

A single shot takes around 0.55 seconds and five consecutive shots take approximately 13.20 seconds. Overall, the shutter lag and recycling time is much more than most of the other cameras currently available in the market. Due to this it becomes impossible to take pictures of those perfect moments.

The 350 employs a 3x optical zoom which has a focal length equivalent to 38 – 114mm in 35mm format and an aperture range of f2.8 to f8. Along with a 3x optical zoom the 350 also has a 5x digital zoom. The 2.5 inch LCD screen has a brightness control which allows photographers to view it clearly in bright light as well as low light. An optical view finder is available for composing of shots and the AF illuminator can be used for picturing during dark conditions.

Portrait, Landscape, Landscape and Portrait, Night Scene, Night & Portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shot & Select 1, Shot & Select 2, Beach, Snow, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2 and Underwater Macro are the various varieties of scene modes available in the SP350. A self timer is also available which can delay the taking of picture by 10seconds and the camera can also be used as an audio recorder. One can record a sound bit which could be attached to a particular picture thus helping in remembering those special moments in a livelier manner.

The flash has a range of 3.8m with no zoom being used and 2.2 with zoom used. The “my mode” allows storing of four settings. The fully manual exposure allows the photographer to have complete control over aperture or shutter priority. The SP350 has shutter speeds of 15 – 1/2000 seconds and also features such as light metering. The various white balance settings available are Overcast, Sunlight, Evening Sun, Tungsten, Fluorescent1, Fluorescent2 and Fluorescent3.

Images are stored in RAW format or JPEG format. A maximum resolution of 640 x 480 can be used to record a video. The 30 frames per second speed are good enough for TV playback. Zooming while filming and also the availability of digital image stabilization adds to an already impressive features of the SP350 in terms of video recording. Using necessary cable the camera can be attached to a computer, PictBridge compatible printer or a television. One more attribute of the SP350 is its PT-030 underwater case which makes it water proof to a depth of 40m.

AA or CR-V3 batteries are used to power the SP350. The battery life is not one the best assets of the camera with the 350 making use of the battery at a faster rate than preferred. With an inbuilt memory of 25 MB it is better to buy an external memory card to increase the photo holding capacity of the camera.

Looking at the features and the price at which the SP350 is available, it makes this a camera which is perfect for anyone who wants to make photography a leisure time activity but be ready to be irritated with lack of shutter speed which might make you work harder to capture those precious moments in life.

Filed Under: Olympus Digital Camera

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