Two New Point and Shoots from Olympus

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Olympus has introduced a pair of point-and-shoot cameras that can allegorically be compared to peas of differing pods. The Olympus SZ-31MR iHS, which sports a 24x 25 to 600mm equivalent zoom lens, is the extreme zoom of the duo. The Olympus TG-820 iHS is the one you’ll want to take along the next time you run, bike and swim your way through an Ironman Triathlon.

In addition to an extended range zoom lens, the Olympus SZ-31MR iHS, which is available in a choice of black or silver, features a 16MP BSI CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch 920,000-dot touch panel LCD, Eye-Fi compatibility, 1080p full HD video and full-res stills at up to seven frames per second when shooting in Hi-Speed Continuous mode.

For those who find the standard and 2D capabilities of the 25 to 600mm equivalent lens limiting, the SZ-31MR iHS can also capture 3D stills as well as ultra-wide panorama images when set to Smart Panorama mode. The new extreme zoom also contains a slew of Olympus’s Magic Filters, which can be used in both still and movie modes. The Olympus SZ-31MR iHS records stills and video to your choice of SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

For all you Ironman competitors, parasailors, skiers and snorkelers out there, Olympus has also introduced the Olympus TG-820 iHS, a tough, pocket-sized digital camera that can shoot stills and 720p video through its 28-140mm equivalent zoom, as far as 16' (4.8m) below the waves, and will survive drops from up to five feet (1.52m) above sea level onto terra firma. The TG-820 iHS can also remain operational when it’s as cold as 14°F (-10°C).

On the technical front, the Olympus TG-820 iHS features a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor, a 3.0-inch 1,030,000-dot Hi-Def LCD, Eye-Fi compatibility, LED lamps for shooting detailed macro stills and video, Magic Filters for both still and movie capture and the ability to shoot both 3D and in-camera panoramas.

The Olympus TG-820 iHS, which is available in a choice of black, silver, and blue, records your adventures onto a choice of SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

  SZ-31MR iHS  TG-820 iHS 
Effective Pixels 16MP 12MP
Image Sensor 1/2.3" CMOS 1/2.3" CMOS
Lens Focal Length (equivalent) 25-600mm 28-140mm
Optical Zoom 24x 5x
Display 3" 920K-dot Touch Screen LCD 3" 1030K-dot LCD
Movie Recording 1080p 720p
Memory Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC and Eye-Fi SD, SDHC, SDXC and Eye-Fi
Power Source LI-50B Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery LI-50B Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
Colors Silver, Black Silver, Black, and Blue

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Although this is not an in depth review article, I wish that the author would make some comment on image sensor size, since this is a major determinant of image quality.  In this model, the sensor size is 1/2.3".  This is one of the smallest sensors on the market and increasing ISO is likely to result in substantial noise in the image.  This is a widespread issue in many cameras, especially smaller ones and should be addressed or at least acknowledged.

The pixel density of the superzoom camera is way too high for such a small sensor and neither camera shoots RAW