The 18x Olympus SP-560 UZ is a discontinued but still available ultra-zoom digital camera that's been replaced by the 20x Olympus SP-570 UZ (Discontinued). Neither rates a best in class -- currently that honor goes to the 18x Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 (Discontinued). The Olympus SP-560 UZ gets generally decent reviews, although we found no professional reviews that call the image quality better than "respectable." Newer cameras in this price range usually offer 10-megapixel resolution compared with the Olympus SP-560 UZ's 8. One credible review says the sports-shooting mode is "astonishing" in its speed, but not in quality.
CNET is the best first stop because its ratings system makes it easy to compare cameras (and ConsumerReports.org has already dropped the Olympus SP-560 UZ from its chart). The coverage is more technical at Imaging-Resource.com, DPReview.com and Steves-Digicams.com. There are about three dozen owner reviews at Amazon.com and about 10 at CNET, most a lot more complimentary than professional reviews.
CNET reviews hundreds of digital cameras and assigns them numerical scores that provide easy comparisons for shoppers. The Olympus SP-560 UZ is rated "good" -- about 10 user ratings score it a bit higher -- but there are other cameras with better scores here.
Review: Olympus SP-560UZ, Will Greenwald, March 28, 2008
Not only is testing thorough, but Imaging-Resource.com is quick to identify discontinued models like the Olympus SP-560 UZ even when they are still widely available. The gist is it's "nearly irresistible" because of its 18x lens, image stabilization and "respectable" image quality.
Review: Olympus SP-560UZ Overview, Mike Pasini, Nov. 29, 2007
Richard Butler says the Olympus SP-560 UZ is crammed with more "often frankly pointless" features than you could possibly discover, let alone use, and that you might be better off with a Fujifilm S8000FD (*Est. $300) or Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 (*Est. $300).
Review: Olympus SP-560UZ Review, Richard Butler, Dec. 21, 2007
Reviewer David Elrich says that the Olympus SP-560 UZ is much slower than the 18x Panasonic FZ18 and that he's not wild about the image quality.
Review: Olympus SP-560 UZ Review, David Elrich, Dec. 19, 2007
The Olympus SP-560 UZ is called "an OK value" but disappointing on rapid-sequence sports shooting. "The high speed-sequential shooting modes offer astonishing capture rates, but have limitations on image size, quality and ISO," the review says.
Review: Olympus SP-560 UZ, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, Nov. 5, 2007
Only about 15 percent of the approximately three dozen user reviews score the Olympus SP-560 UZ less than four out of five. One negative review has been updated (you can't change the score) to say that with some practice, she got much better results.
Review: Olympus SP-560UZ, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2009