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Olympus Stylus 550UZ
Olympus Stylus 550UZ

Hey! You should know that this product has been discontinued. Here are our current recommended cameras in the Extended Zoom Digital Cameras category.

Olympus Stylus 550UZ

We've given the SP-550UZ a grade of C+.

Editor's Review

The Olympus Stylus 550UZ is a pioneering digital camera, with the highest optical zoom currently available; it's sure to be one of 2007's most talked about new products. The remarkable 18x optical zoom super-telephoto lens allows for even longer and more detailed shots, and the 550UZ's built-in image stabilization (both the valuable sensor-shift IS and the admittedly less important digital IS) keeps things in line. The 550UZ also has ISO settings up to 5000, for improved action or sports photos and night shots. The Stylus 550 is looking to make a big name for itself, and with features like these, it will certainly generate a large amount of buzz.


  • 7.1 Megapixels
  • 18x optical zoom / 5.6x digital zoom
  • Sensor-shift and digital image stabilization
  • Auto and manual focus
  • Auto and manual exposure
  • ISO 50-5000
  • JPEG, RAW file formats
  • Movie mode with sound
  • 2.5-inch LCD
  • xD-Picture Card storage
  • 4 AA batteries
  • Part Number: 225885
  • UPC: 050332159853
  • Release Date: Jan 29, 2007

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Olympus Stylus 550UZ Reviews

Olympus Stylus 550UZ Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 4.0 out of 5
can't find the right lens cover (Paulette Adams — 01/15/2009)

This camera has taken some good shots..The only problem
I have is lens caps fell off and I lost it...

  • 4.0 out of 5
Know what you're getting (Jim — 12/04/2007)

I like everything about this camera except for the time it takes for the shutter click after the picture is snapped. On a cruise to Alaska, I missed so many pictures because of the time lapse. I'm thinking about selling it and getting a different one.

  • 5.0 out of 5
it' awesome (logan — 10/15/2007)

it is awesome i got the case for it to go underwater it is cool the camer is excellent

  • 3.0 out of 5
Can't praise it (Rudy — 09/15/2007)

This camera is amazing for landscape photography when everything stands still. But you'd miss a lot of opportunities when you shoot birds, wild animals, and toddlers. The camera isn't fast enough. The focusing time is too slow.

Indoor shots without flash are okay, and could be improved with some photoshop work. However, flash photography is something I would not dare to do again. The skin tones are so hideous, so way off even photoshop coudn't improve on them.

The image stabilization and ultra-zoom are marvelous. I will probably keep this, but not for long.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Image Stabilization (Lyn Gorsche — 07/07/2007)

If you don't mind carrying a tripod or monopod everywhere you go, you'll love this camera. The other problem I have is the delay when taking pictures. You definitely can't take any action shots!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Great Adventure Camera (Mukesh — 06/21/2007)

I have just spent the last 2 months in the Himalayan Mountain Region in India and found the SP 550UZ a great camera to use. The wide angle and power full zoom enabled me to get some great shots without carrying any other equipment which I would have otherwise had to take. The function guide on the camera I found gave me some good simple options rather then just setting it on auto mode. The image stabilization on the whole worked well.

  • 4.0 out of 5
A pretty good camera, with room for improvement menu wise. (by James DeRuvo — 06/20/2007)

There are many cameras that offer image stabilization as a standard feature. And although some camera models have caused the viewfinder to disappear, I am currently testing the Olympus SP-550UZand have so far been quite pleased with the results. 7.1 MP, 18x zoom, image stabilization and some great scene based program features including a 15fps burst mode. This is great for sports photography.

It also has in camera editing features such as cropping, sepia and black/white alerations, night modes, super macro mode for REALLY close up shots, panoramic guides for shooting multiple shots to stitch into a panorama, even a mode for shooting documents.

I'm really enjoying it. If I had to complain, however, I have found the menu structure wanting and difficult to use on the fly. But other than that, it's a top notch camera.

  • 4.0 out of 5
Good/Great all around camera (Bill — 05/07/2007)

I bought the first 550UZ sold in Milwaukee a day before I went to Africa for 3 weeks. At O'Hare I charged my batteries, connected the lens cap, etc., and of course, left the manual at home—which is not good for an average Joe, a true photographic novice. I had "upgraded" from a Pentax 555, so this was my attempt at have a super zoom with its 18x, and almost compact size.

It fit very nice in a small fanny pack so I did not need a camera bag, and it was always ready to go. The 18x zoom is incredible, as it would have been impossible to get close ups of a chimpanzee on top of a tree without it. The macro is great, especially in low light, as I took some shots of beetles on a cloudy day, under the forest canopy, and you would think I used a flash. The low light capability is awesome. The stabilization works great, and I never had to use the tripod I lugged along, regardless of the lighting.

What also worked great with the wide angle or telephoto, I could take a shot of what appeared to be my subject, but in the peripheral, or by shooting past my subject, I could photo "camera shy" locals, capturing life as it was, without the gesturing or posing.

On the downside there were photos that came out blurred (e.g., taking panoramic shots of mountain valleys), which I do not know what caused that to happen—yet my girlfriend was able to get a clear shot with the color when she used Photo Shop. So, is it me the novice or the camera?

Also, in some low light conditions, with the zoom, while the picture turned out, it seemed to take way too long to focus/snap the photo. Again, (is it me or the camera), but I did not get good shots of monkeys jumping from tree to tree, as again it is low light, and a fast moving target.

If you do a lot of changing the zoom button, because you are moving a physical lens (I did a lot of focusing to get the shot of the gorillas as they were moving), take extra rechargeable batteries, and get the 2500-2650 mAh not some cheap 1,800-2,000 Wal-Mart special.

All-in-all, despite some shortcomings and never reading the manual, I took great photos, and a travel companion, with his Nikon and 13 pounds of camera lenses and gear, was amazed at the shots I got, for my belly-bag 12 oz super zoom.

I paid $500 in March, but the price is now down to $425, so if you like (slow moving?) wildlife photography, want to get candid shots, and appreciate low-light capability, with an 18x zoom, I recommend it. This should be a top selling camera, compared to all the overweight low power cameras.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Read the advanced manual SP550UZ (Mike — 04/13/2007)

A great little camera. Why do people continually compare it to a DSLR? It isn't one. Read the advanced manual on the CD and experiment with settings it's well worth it. This camera seems to have very precise increments in it's settings which means the user must also be quite precise, for example don't use full zoom for close ups that's what macro and super macro is for. The auto / scene setting are also very good, take the time to use them. The more I use this camera the more I like it. A lot of people are complaining of bad focus, this can be caused by leaving the camera in macro mode or full time AF or predict AF and trying to focus with full zoom. Also use Spot AF instead of iESP mode. Softness complaints can be fixed by using the adjustments in the camera menu. One more thing in Set Up turn off PW on Setup and all the sounds except shutter, this will speed up start up time considerably.

Happy snapping.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Dual IS fails terribly (sujaybs — 03/21/2007)

I purchased the 550UZ after substantial research on the features and up gradations. Was specifically impressed with the 18x Zoom, the first thing I wanted to try out. I tried to capture a door nob (stationary object) at max zoom and found it rather impossible to get a picture. The IS just does not seem to function and is absolutely useless. I returned it the same day, chipped in some more and bought a Nikon D40, feels better.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Design flaw! (Bill Hastings — 03/09/2007)

Am I the only one who's ready to return the SP-550 because the CLA-10 adapter tube needed for filter use is the most ridiculous design snafu since the the square tire?

I like having a filter on and I use a polarizing one a lot. The sky is darker blue and foliage is richer as much of the glare can be eliminated. Naturally we're talking about landscape photography here, like the photos you'd take while on vacation. Those kind of panorama shots with your loved one waving from the corner require a fairly wide angle. What am I gonna do with this? Say, "Honey could you step right in front of the view of the waterfall, otherwise you're cropped out of the shot." This is not vignetting. It's a camera caught in a tunnel!
I don't like it one bit. Shame on Olympus designers for this failure.