Olympus’ SH-25MR is another digital camera aimed at the ‘traveller-class’ according to the makers, designed to offer a balance between budget and shooting kit. Does it achieve this balance?
Performance and Verdict
Olympus SH-25MR review – Performance
In terms of the cameras performance, from focusing to shutter response, the camera does rather well. The shutter fast enough for the subjects I photographed while the focus works well, particularly using the touch AF system on the display; I did not miss any of the shots I wanted. However the start up to snapping the first picture is a disappointing three-seconds and it’s a similar story using the flash with almost three seconds between a snap, the flash recycling and taking another picture.
Both of the camera’s sequential shooting modes shoot at a full 16-megapixel resolution but the high-speed modes recording at a much reduced 3-megapixels but the cameras still takes a while to process the pictures, particularly when shooting at the 60fps mode.
I found the camera’s landscape mode produced great, highly detailed and colourful images and similarly to many recent Olympus compacts, the blues and greens appear to be boosted. Red-eye in portraits with flash is not too much of a problem. The sport mode accesses faster shutter speeds, as you’d expect and using the pet detection setting is fun as it automatically fires the shutter when a pets face is detected. And it works, a little too well if you ask me, as it leaves little time to compose your shot properly.
The SH-25MR’s metering system provides two modes of ESP and spot metering and it delivers generally well exposed images, with excellent colour reproduction. The lens provides plenty of crispness and purple fringing is only hardly noticeable. Detail captured is great in the centre of my images, but things are much. much softer in the corners and around the edges of images.
There’s a minimum focusing distance of 3-cm, which provides plenty scope to get very close for smaller subjects and macro and again, it packs in plenty of detail. As for the ISO and image noise performance at ISO 80 there’s no noise to speak of while at ISO 100 there’s slight amount of noise appearing. At ISO 200 there’s more and it steps up, as you’d expect, at ISO 400. At the ISO 800 setting images are softer as noise processing does its work, small details become smoother and less defined.
This loss of detail continues through ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 while at the top ISO 6400 boat loads of detail sets sail for the horizon and is lost and very soft images are the result. Avoid ISO 6400 is my tip. The auto WB performance preset has a slight orange cast under mixed lighting but using the correct setting fort the light at hand (sun for sunlight and so on) and it performs well, so try to use the correct white balance for the light your trying to capture. The smart panorama mode makes good panoramas and is quite fun to use too, although, viewed at full size a little ghosting visible where some images have been miss-aligned.
The camera’s magic filters allow for a smidgen of extra creativity the dramatic filter is particularly impressive, particularly on a cloudy day but it cannot shoot at the top resolution, only a minimum of 5-megapixels and given it’s one the better filters on offer, this is disappointing as its natural fit is to shoot landscapes, where ordinarily you’d need as much detail as you can get.
The SH-25MR makes a nice snapping camera and provides a lot of features but lacks full manual control, though +/-2EV of exposure compensation is on offer for harder to meter subjects. At the time of writing, the costs a penny shy of ¬£230 and is pretty much mid-table in terms of pricing compared to many similar 16-megapixel models such as Nikon’s Coolpix 14x zoom S8200, the Sony Cybershot W690 with its 10x zoom and Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-SZ, also equipped with a 10x zoom.
Images and video are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I class supported) memory card that slots into place on the cameras base next to the battery, both housed under a rather flimsy feeling flap, the weakest link (in terms of build in the entire ensemble).
Olympus SH-25MR review – Verdict
The Olympus SH-25MR has an impressive set of features that make it a real contender if you need a new camera with the emphasis on travel, though to be fair, the feature set would help anyone anywhere. The decent zoom range and GPS system make it even more versatile.
It may not be ideal for portrait shots though, skin tones suffer rather and although the lens is an otherwise good one, for most subjects, bear in mind it is still soft at the corners of images. Good colour capture, seemingly great battery life and the excellent set of his speed shooting systems means the Olympus SH-25MR is worth close consideration.