Olympus Stylus SH-2 Review

Olympus SH-2 Review
The Olympus Stylus SH-2 camera is available in an all black unit or a black unit with silver trim. Olympus

The Bottom Line

If you're someone who is ready to give up on fixed lens cameras, either focusing on advanced DSLR models or going with the convenience of a smartphone camera, you may want to take a look at my Olympus Stylus SH-2 review before dismissing fixed lens cameras completely.

Olympus has created a surprisingly good fixed lens camera in the SH-2, providing it with a very nice 24X optical zoom lens, relatively good image quality, a sharp LCD screen, and a reasonable price point. Olympus cameras are relatively easy to use as a general rule, and the Stylus SH-2 doesn't deviate from that track.

It's a little disappointing that Olympus didn't give the SH-2 a slightly larger image sensor than the 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, that has been found in all of the most basic compact cameras on the market for the past few years. With a slightly larger image sensor, the overall image quality of this Olympus camera could have been just a bit better, which would have made this a great camera. As is, the Olympus SH-2 is a solid fixed lens camera that provides decent performance for its price point. And although Olympus introduced this model with an MSRP of $400, it's price took a quick dive, so be sure to shop around and look for the SH-2 at a good price point.

Specifications

  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Optical zoom: 24X
  • LCD: 3.0 inches, 460,000 pixels, touchscreen
  • Maximum image size: 4608x3456
  • Battery: Lithium-ion, rechargeable
  • Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Weight: 9.56 oz.
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Movie mode: Full 1080p HD

Pros

  • Good price for a camera with its feature set
  • 24X optical zoom lens is nice to find in camera of this size
  • Good collection of burst mode options
  • LCD screen is bright with good resolution and is touch-enabled
  • Sharp looking fixed lens camera

Cons

  • Slightly larger image sensor would have been nice at this price point
  • Some low light images suffer from problems with noise
  • Flash photos could have better quality
  • Shutter lag can be a problem in some low light shooting conditions

Image Quality

Image quality in good lighting is solid with the Olympus Stylus SH-2, but the camera suffers a bit in terms of image quality when shooting in low light conditions. You'll find some noise when shooting in low light at elevated ISO settings. And this model's popup flash unit isn't quite as powerful as it needs to be to provide strong image quality in low light conditions. These are all common problems for camera's with small 1/2.3-inch image sensors. 

Still, the SH-2 is able to outperform many of the most basic compact cameras on the market in terms of image quality. It's just unfortunate that it doesn't have a slightly larger image sensor.

Performance

As with most compact cameras, the performance speeds for the Olympus SH-2 are pretty good in outdoor lighting and suffer a bit in indoor lighting. You can shoot your first photo a little more than 1 second after pressing the power button, which is a good result.

The camera's ability to work in multiple burst modes is an especially impressive aspect of the Stylus SH-2. You can even record at speeds up to 60 frames per second at a reduced resolution.

Design

While the Olympus Stylus SH-2 probably won't fit in a normal-sized pocket, considering it has a 24X optical zoom lens, it's a reasonably thin camera, measuring about 1.75 inches in depth. Because smartphone cameras cannot duplicate the quality of a digital camera's optical zoom lens, the 24X optical zoom gives the SH-2 a big advantage versus smartphone cameras.

It has a small but adequately sized right-hand grip, which will help you hold the camera steady, even when using the zoom lens at its maximum telephoto setting. Olympus also gave the SH-2 a good image stabilization system, allowing for strong results when hand holding the camera.