I felt I had to see what else was happening beyond just my bias towards Canon and Sony gear as far as digital picture taking was concerned (based on past experience of them). Whilst looking around I came across the OLYMPUS SZ-20, and I've not used an Olympus since the days when we had to pay to get roll film developed at a shop. All I know is that they've been doing it for a long time in a specialized field kind of way long before proven players like Panasonic and Sony stepped into the camera making gear game under their flagship brand names.



Who its for - people looking to go a little more upscale on the point and shoot front that need lots of zoom on 16 megapixels.


 Things that stood out about this camera - The abundance of impressively vibrant looking 1080P video that had been shot using it floating about on YouTube. I was definitely impressed with the examples of its macro field video shooting capabilities which is said to allow you to get as close as 1 cm whether shooting video or pictures.



Examples of actual pictures taken with the camera were relatively far and few between, most of which were pretty dull, uninspiring, and not sexy at all. At least not in the way that many of the canon user submissions were. Many of the examples generally typified everyday user snaps of peoples everyday mundane generic trundlings in cold dull weather, and generally they just made me more depressed looking at them (short of wanting to reach for some sort of medication or a drink). However having said that I reckon they could have been a little miss-leading.



I have to admit that the majority of the image that I generally lent towards had a colour balance that did seem relatively untainted by additional artificial colour tweaking/processing, they were generally more in line with kinds of colour balance you'd find in flat RAW images (although the camera doesn't actually provide for the pro demands of RAW image files). Based on the overall specs of the camera and what I'd actually seen of its 1080p video shooting capability I reckon you could produce some very pleasing and desirable results with good lighting or whilst taking snaps in warm sunny places with a little bit of exposure and white balance tweaking in order to achieve a slightly more vibrant colour balance without need for too much Photoshop editing post capture.





 There were obviously some impressive looking captures taken in such settings, but not many high res images that I could personally scrutinize to the n'th degree. The pictures here are generally the better of the examples user, pro and commercial submissions that I could find.



Other notable stuff


 
- I liked the fact it had a built in pop flash that was central and raised above the lens. So no accidental flash clipping to be had here whilst in a rush (or maybe whilst a little tipsy). 


That's not my hand 

 


-  It has 3D shooting capabilities, although I couldn't imagine that would be something I'd all too often use on it. 

- Looks angular and a bit like a shrunken down-flattened DSLR. They haven't gone to the extremes of miniaturization with these as they have with many of their other cameras. 

- No full manual mode, although I think the next model up might have a mode on it along those lines.



What seems to be a concurrent opinion of it is that its more of a daytime snapper then a night scene capture box whilst used without its flash. But I could imagine that most general point and shoot users won't be looking to use this camera without its flash whilst generally night dwelling anyway. For a reasonably high spec and affordable 12x zoom compact point 'n' shoot its worth considering. Especially with a little bargain price hunting.