The Olympus SP-550 UZ is definitely cock of the walk in the long-zoom-camera category at PMA 2007. The ultra-zoom (UZ) wide-angle (28-504mm in 35mm photography) lens carries an optical zoom up to 18X. That’s a lot of zoom for as compact as it is and beats newer long-zoom models from Fujifilm, Kodak and Panasonic by as much as 8X. With a suggested retail price of $499, you’re paying for the privilege, too.
The SP-550 UZ does let you shoot fully automatic or fully manual. It also features a burst rate of up to 15fps and a picture buffer that captures five frames between the time you focus and when you release the shutter.
Some might find the 2.5-inch LCD small for setting up your shots, but the fact is you’ll likely want to use the electronic viewfinder (EVF) for most shooting situations.
Again, in spite of having dual image stabilization — one mechanical, one digital — you’ll likely want to take advantage of the EVF when you’re shooting with the zoom. The 550 UZ is fairly lightweight (12.9 oz. (365g) without batteries and xD memory card) and like all of the other long-zooms we got our hands on at PMA, it feele good in your grasp.