The Olympus SP-560 UZ enters the megazoom territory beloved by sports fans and stalkers.
From its inception, Olympus' Ultra Zoom series--simply referred to as "UZ" in recent years--has always led the telephoto field for sheer reach. Once again, the company jumps ahead of the paused-at-18x pack with its 20x lens-equipped SP-570 UZ.
Size matters most in this update to the SP-560 UZ: it's got a higher-resolution CCD, longer (and slightly wider-angle) lens, and slightly larger LCD display. In a nice design tweak, the lens now has a manual zoom ring; on the preproduction unit we toyed with briefly, it still had that odd servo feel that similar controls on camcorders have, but it did give a bit more control than with the zoom switches common on digital point-and-shoot cameras. The new model also supplies a hot shoe for use with external flashes and a built-in wireless flash controller (a capability that was enabled in the SP-560 UZ via a firmware upgrade).
The SP-570 UZ is slated to ship in March for $499.99