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Zero in on your subject from far, far away with Olympus' Stylus SP-100EE

An inventive built-in dot sight lets you quickly find your target with this camera's big 50x zoom lens.

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3.5 stars Very good
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Zero in on your subject from far, far away with Olympus' Stylus SP-100EE

An inventive built-in dot sight, lets you quickly find your target with this camera's big 50x zoom lens.

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Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)

This week, CNET editors reviewed a little bit of everything and found some great stuff -- there's something here to please just about everyone, with the possible exception of the perpetually displeased. I mean, we've got a fitness tracker, a DVR, a couple of games, and a hybrid car that earned our Editors' Choice Award. Read on, true believers!

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Olympus' midrange mirrorless

A compact alternative to a dSLR, the OM-D E-M10 is a good camera to grow into.

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Rugged Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3, 24x zoom Stylus SH-1 announced

The TG-3 is just as tough as its predecessor, but gets a cool new macro trick and accessory, while the 24x compact zoom SH-1 gets styling and image stabilization to match the company's interchangeable lens cameras.

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Rugged Olympus Stylus Tough TG-3, 24x zoom Stylus SH-1 announced

The TG-3 is just as tough as its predecessor, but gets a cool new macro trick and accessory, while the 24x compact zoom SH-1 gets styling and image stabilization to match the company's interchangeable lens cameras.

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Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS a very good camera made better by a price drop

The XZ-2's excellent lens, features, and photo quality make it an enthusiast compact worth getting. But look for it for less than its original $600 starting price,

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4 stars Excellent
<p>These are 100 percent crops from the center of <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/how-we-test/digital-cameras/">our test scene</a>. All things considered, the image quality from the XZ-2 iHS is excellent. The lens is nice and sharp, colors are natural, and noise, though present even at ISO 100, is kept under control without sacrificing detail straight through to ISO 800. Since the lens remains reasonably bright even when fully zoomed in and the camera has very good image stabilization, you can actually avoid using its higher ISO settings indoors or in low light.</p>

Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS sample pictures

The enthusiast-targeted XZ-2 iHS is quite capable of taking excellent-quality photos. Get an idea of what it can do in this slideshow.

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Originally released in November 2012, the Olympus Stylus XZ-2 is aging well. Featuring a 4x f1.8-2.5 28-112mm lens, a 12-megapixel 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor, and a 3-inch high-res tilting touch-screen LCD, the camera is built for enthusiast and hobbyists who want to do more than point and shoot (though it does that very well, too).

Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS is a premium compact camera (pictures)

With its bright lens, (slightly) larger sensor, tilting touch screen, direct controls, and ample shooting options, the XZ-2 is made for those who want to do more than snapshots.

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Even more than a year after its release this enthusiast compact is a nice choice, though not at its full $600 price.

Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS pricey but doesn't disappoint

Even more than a year after its release this enthusiast compact is a nice choice, though not at its full $600 price.

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<p>But not cheaper.</p>
<p>There's a reason the lens which ships with many entry-level interchangeable-lens cameras -- usually an 18-55mm (APS-C) or 14-42mm (Micro Four Thirds) -- adds a mere $100 to the cost of the kit. It allows manufacturers to offer the most inexpensively priced option possible while still delivering a decent out-of-the-box, point-and-shoot-like experience. But while most kit lenses are decent, their narrow aperture ranges can be both creatively stifling and inflexible for shooting in low light, the latter environment where most inexpensive cameras need the most help. Still, there's something to be said for the convenience of a multipurpose zoom lens. </p><p>Primes can be frustrating at times: when you're physically stuck working a fixed distance from your subject or traveling with folks who don't want to humor your attempts to get the right shot, to name just two (<a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-35243_7-10019093.html">Here are my prime lens recommendations</a> as well as a <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-6501_7-57560029-95/make-the-resolution-try-a-new-lens-for-your-camera/">guide to understanding lenses</a>.). But stepping up to a slightly better lens can improve your photography noticeably.</p>
<p>The latest kit-lens trend has been power-zoom lenses. These are great for convenience and portability, so from that perspective they're better than the traditional versions. But they're still generally not great optically.</p>
<p>I've kept my recommendations to less than $900 and targeted for non-full-frame cameras. While some of these lenses are designed for full-frame cameras -- they tend to be better lenses in general -- I figure if you've bought a full-frame camera you should be able to figure a lot of this out by yourself. Some of them are quite old. Newer lenses tend to be more compact, with better coatings and better optical stabilization (where applicable), but older models still provide good value for the money. </p><p>Also, while some of my recommendations have the same aperture range as most kits -- f3.5-5.6 -- they all have much longer ranges so that they offer about a stop wider aperture across most of the range.</p>
<p>There are also some lenses I'd love to recommend, such as the Olympus MFT 12-40mm f2.8 and Sony E-mount 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS, but they're both too expensive at almost $1,000.</p>

Kick your kit lens to the curb: 12 better choices (pictures)

That 18-55mm lens that came with your camera was never meant to be your one and only.

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The SP-100 is Olympus' 2014 entry into the superultramegazoom category with a 50x f2.9-6.5 24-1200mm lens.

Olympus Stylus SP-100 keeps you on target (pictures)

This camera's clever dot-sight sets it apart from the other bridge cameras out there.

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