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Olympus SZ-14 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £165
inc VAT

A massive 24x zoom and an extremely competitive price, but the sensor doesn't pull its weight and image quality suffers


1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 24.0x zoom (25-600mm equivalent), 216g

A big zoom in a slim body makes for a versatile, convenient camera, and Olympus currently holds the record with this 24x zoom model. Its lens and overall shape is shared with the pricier Olympus SZ-31MR, and we’re amazed to find these features in a camera that costs just £165. The 24x zoom speaks for itself, but the design is just as welcome, with a metal body and a raised handgrip that fits securely in the hand.

Olympus SZ-14

The SZ14’s buttons are metal too, and the navigation pad doubles as a wheel for adjusting settings. Externally, the only significant difference between the two models is that the SZ-31MR has a mode dial. On the SZ-14, pressing and turning the wheel accesses the various modes, which isn’t too much of an inconvenience.

Olympus SZ-14

Inevitably, there are further differences that let this camera sell at such a competitive price. It can’t take photos and videos simultaneously, for instance, and video recording is limited to 720p with mono sound. Unlike many budget cameras, though, it can zoom and focus while recording. Autofocus is responsive and the lens motors made a negligible impact on the soundtrack of our test footage. Optical stabilisation was much worse than on the SZ-31MR, and was wholly incapable of keeping videos steady at the telephoto end of the zoom.

Olympus SZ-14

It isn’t the fastest camera around, but we can live with the 1.9-second gap between shots. Continuous mode runs at a pedestrian 1fps, but alternative modes deliver 5-megapixel shots at 5.4fps or 3-megapixel shots at 10fps.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 460,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 24.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 25-600mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,288×3,216
File formats JPEG, MPO; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied 59MB internal
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 220 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, DC in, micro HDMI
Body material metal
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 216g
Size 69x106x40mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £165

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3 (wide), f/6.9 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 4 presets, 2 manual
Additional image controls shadow adjust
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 3cm
Auto-focus modes multi/face detect, spot, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, 3D

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