By Andrew Liszewski
It’s a gutsy move announcing new products the same day Apple has an event scheduled, but that’s exactly what Olympus has done with a handful of new digital cameras, perhaps taking advantage of the blackhole of PR news usually generated by days like this. Their SZ-30MR is certainly the most noteworthy of Olympus’s new additions boasting 24X optical zoom (25-600mm) though with an aperture maxing out at just ƒ3. It’s also got ISO options up to 3200, a 16MP backlit CMOS sensor for improved low light performance, HDMI out, a 3-inch LCD and pretty much all the standard features you’d expect to find in a $400 P&S digital camera. It’s even got an easy-to-use 3D mode where you just have to pan the camera while taking a photo and it will automagically capture and generate a 3D composite.
But what really sets the SZ-30MR apart from other high-end point-and-shoots (at least for the time being) and might actually make people consider a camera outside the Nikon or Canon camps, is its ability to capture full 1080P videos and 16MP stills at the same time with a feature they’ve branded ‘Multi Recording’. You can even use it to capture two movies at the same time, using clever cropping or digital zooms for a wide-angle and close-up clip of the same scene, at different resolutions or even with novelty filters applied. I can’t say I’ve ever lamented at not being able to capture two videos at the same time with my camera, but these days it seems like every new model in the P&S market needs a gimmick, and the SZ-30MR certainly delivers.