A discussion of the design of the Olympus SP-570 UZ.
CNET Reviews staff
The SP-570 UZ's operation can get pretty complex, but Olympus also puts the automatic, semiautomatic, and handholding modes right on the mode dial. One of the best is the Shooting Guide, which provides step-by-step instructions for common shooting tasks. For example, in Guide mode, pressing menu brings up a set of tasks like Shoot with effects preview, brightening subject, shooting into backlight, and so on. If you select, say, Shooting into backlight, it offers three different ways to compensate: Set to fill-in flash, set the metering to spot, or increase the exposure compensation. Selecting any one of those makes the change for you.
I also like that Olympus puts your custom settings (MyMode) right on the dial, and that it incorporates a thumbweel in addition to the the typical four-button navigation controls you usually find on this class of camera.
With the SP-570 UZ, Olympus incorporates a manual zoom ring on the lens and eschews a traditional zoom switch. I like the idea, but not the execution. The stepped, servoelectronic lens isn't very responsive and can be quite frustrating because of its innate inaccuracy; the switch on the SP-560 UZ actually feels better.
The navigation buttons are a little less attractive, but I think easier to feel and use than on the SP-570's predecessor. Because of the extra room on the SP-570's significantly larger body, Olympus moved the nonshooting controls to the left of the LCD rather than clustering them around the nav buttons.
Along with the review, menu, and display/help buttons, Olympus includes a direct control for its shadow adjustment feature, which seems to be simple backlight compensation that bumps up the exposure rather than the more sophisticated adjustments performed by Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer or Nikon's D-Lighting.