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Thom

Olympus SP 350 or SP 550

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From all that I have heard the SP 350 is a great little camera if you can find it, new or used. Is the SP 550 a newer better version for UW pictures?

 

Thanks,

Thom

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I think because of the awkward port due to the zoom on the SP-550 most have been recommending the Canon G7/G9 over the 550. I used the SP-350 underwater for a year and a half and liked it. The ones left that you can find new are going to rival the price you'll pay for the Canons. If I were starting new, I'd have to consider the G9 which has the RAW support and manual control.

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The 550 doesn't have RAW capabilities making the SP-350 the better choice IMO. And you should be able to find an SP-350 for less than half the cost of the G9.

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My wife uses the SP-350 and really likes it. RAW and a hot shoe are a nice combo, especially with a DS-125 strobe in the Ikelite housing. I don't know much about the SP-550, but I would consider not having RAW a disadvantage. The G9 looks great, but it is definately more expensive, and I'm not aware of any housings being available quite yet. In a year (once the price comes down a bit and housings are available), the G9 will almost definately be one of the favorite Point and Shoot setups to get.

 

Vic

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Hi all,

 

I must preface this reply with the fact that I have no knowledge/experience of the sp-550, so can't give you an objective opinion or comparison. But I have used the sp-350 a fair bit and can give an opinion on it!

 

As some of the other posters have noted, it has RAW capabilities and a hotshoe. I have fitted a Weikamps bulkhead to my (olympus) housing, which gives me the ability to Sea and Sea strobes with TTL. The olympus TTL seems to over expose a tad-which I have corrected with the cameras flash intensity adjustment.

 

The LCD screen is large, and has the option of turning an a histogram, both in "liveview" and in review modes. The quick review button is excellent for checking sharpness/composition etc. The manual white balance option can be preset to an individual button-which is really usefull for using filters.

 

The camera has the full PASM exposure modes-giving access to manual exposure if required. I found the program and auto modes to be a bit disappointing (no suprise really) - so tended to use shutter priority or manual modes, togther with historgram review to get the exposures right.

 

I have printed pictures taken by this camera up to A3+ (13" X 19") with pretty good results. This did require some editing/corrections in Photoshop to acheive, but the camera is certainly capable even at this size of print.

 

I have teamed the camera/housing with an Inon bayonet adaptor, and UCL fisheye and macro lenses-which also give great results.

 

The downsides are I guess the common ones for all compacts-shutter lag and write times. My previouos digital camera was a Ricoh, and prior to that a Minolta, and I would say that the Olympus is better, but still not great. The write time delay is often frustrating, particuarly shooting in RAW, but I gather this is not unique to this model/brand. Having now switched to a DSLR (and struggling with a whole new level of complexity) when I use the sp-350 now it is very frustrating!

 

A colleague of mine has just bought an sp-350 for about £80 brand new off of ebuyer! He also bought a PT-03O housing off the web for £130. As such, this represents amazing value-just over £200 for an an 8mp camera, with RAW, full exposure modes, and the ability to print images up to A3+!

 

Hope that helps

 

Adam

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Thanks alot for all of the help to make a decision. I bought the SP-350 and am just waiting for delivery.

 

Thom

Edited by Thom

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I have had an SP-350 and SP case for a year.

I HATE IT AND HATE THE INCOMPETANCE OF OLY REPAIR!

 

The camera chews up batteries [ even after the S/W update ].

Oly had it in to fix the battery problem, didnot return my high speed memory card.

 

I purchase a new high speed memory card, it was bad, after months of disucssing it with Oly, the replace it with a low speed card. Again after a few months of go around with Oly, they refused to replace it with my original high speed 1 Gig card.

 

The camera is pretty much useless with a low speed memory card for underwater photography.

 

Time to sell the 350 and It's back to Nikon Time

 

Geo / The Irishman

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