Design and features
The SH-25MR looks fairly unassuming from the outside, a simple and uncluttered exterior that houses lots of interesting features inside. Everything feels very sleek and refined on this camera, from the buttons that lie flat with the panels to the satisfying click made by the mode dial. In short, it feels well made.
A small, slightly textured hand grip sits at the front, while a hump at the top indicates that there is a GPS module here. The pop-up flash is located at the top left-hand side, while a very nice and bright 3-inch, 460,000-dot touchscreen sits at the back.
Olympus has implemented this touchscreen in a particularly nice way. Rather than being overwhelmed by all of the shooting options available through both physical controls and touch ones, the screen simply responds to things like touch autofocus and shutter controls. There's also the Live Guide, which is available in certain modes, that helps you adjust colour, saturation and so on using a slider. To change other settings, you still need to head into the menus and use the physical buttons, which is a refreshing change from the muddled touch implementation from other vendors.
There's a 12.5x optical zoom, which isn't class beating, but is still very acceptable for a travel camera. Its maximum aperture range is f/3.0-5.9 from the wide to telephoto ends respectively. With digital zoom turned on, you can get as close as 50x — but, as with most digital zooms, you really don't want to be taking any important shots at this extent.
There are plenty of controls available on the mode dial of this camera to satisfy just about every sort of point-and-shoot photographer. No manual mode, though, unfortunately.
Olympus has outfitted this camera with a 16-megapixel, backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. BSI sensors are designed to deliver less noise in low-light situations, but the trade-off is that images taken in ample light often look "crunchy" or slightly over-processed, plus images can be over-exposed in these situations.
There are more shooting controls on the SH-25MR that would make most compact cameras blush. From the top mode dial, you will find intelligent automatic mode, program control, scene modes, beauty mode, magic filters, panorama, photo with video clip and multi recording. The multi-recording (MR) mode takes two photos or videos simultaneously with different views; Frame snaps from different angles, Size changes the resolution; and Magic takes a regular image, as well as one with an artistic filter applied.
This is the Frame MR mode, which snaps two different photos from different angles. One photo is taken at full resolution, while the other image is snapped at 2560x1920.
Olympus has got some of the best artistic filters on the market. The SH-25MR gets 12 of these fun effects: pop art, pin hole, fish eye, drawing, soft focus, punk, sparkle, watercolour, reflection, miniature, fragmented and dramatic. All work great and add a layer of fun if all you want to do is point and shoot.
An example of just some of the filters available on the SH-25MR.
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Start-up to first shot
- JPEG shot-to-shot
- Shutter lag
- 126.96.36.199Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
- 188.8.131.52Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ25
- 2.220.3Olympus SH-25MR
- 184.108.40.206Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)
- 7.6Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
- 4Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ25
- 3Olympus SH-25MR
- 2.5Canon PowerShot SX260 HS
(Longer bars indicate better performance)