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What are the main features of the SP-610UZ?

The Olympus SP-610UZ is a 22x wide-angle zoom digital camera with a one-touch HD movie-recording feature. Its 5.0-110.0 mm f3.3-5.7 lens yields a 28-616 mm zoom equivalent in 35 mm format.

To support this long zoom ratio, the SP-610UZ incorporates Dual Image Stabilization, Olympus’ 2-in-1 anti-blur solution that compensates for camera shake by gyroscopically sensing camera movement and constantly repositioning the 14-megapixel CCD sensor, resulting in sharper images in challenging shooting situations. Applying the Sensor Shift Image Stabilization also enables shooting at lower shutter speeds in low-light situations and using lower ISOs for better image quality.

Seven shooting modes let you choose the right balance between automation and creative control. There are Program, iAUTO, Scene, MAGIC, Panorama, Beauty and Movie shooting modes. The Scene mode features 16 preset scenes tailored to specific shooting scenarios so that ideal settings can be quickly applied. Beauty mode smoothes out the texture of skin whenever faces are detected. The art filters in MAGIC mode apply effects (including Pop Art, Pinhole, Fisheye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolor) in-camera at the moment the shot is taken.

The camera’s sophisticated autofocus function can detect subject’s faces and, optionally, track them to keep them continuously in focus. Tracking is available when shooting still images (via AF TRACKING mode) or movies (via FULLTIME AF mode). In addition, the camera offers a Spot AF mode.

The SP-610UZ can shoot full-resolution (14-megapixel) images at a rate of 1.1 frames per second; its three high-speed sequential shooting modes provide options to shoot at smaller resolutions with burst rates up to 10 fps.

The Macro and Super Macro modes offer extreme close-up capabilities. In Super Macro mode, the lens will focus to 0.40 inch.

The SP-610UZ can also record high-definition (MP4) and HD 720p movies. A simple, one-touch button allows you to switch from shooting stills to movies without having to enter the menu to select the movie mode.

Images can be framed and played back on the bright, high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen, which features an extra-wide viewing angle and anti-glare technology for easier composing and shooting – even in direct sunlight. You can also play your movies and slideshows on your television: The camera features HDMI and standard Audio/Video output ports. (HDMI cable is not included.)

The camera has 59 MB of internal memory and also accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC media for removable memory, including SD EYE-FI cards.

Other convenient features include an in-camera operation guide that illustrates camera operations on the LCD screen and a clean user interface that eliminates “button clutter.” You can navigate through the menu system and operate most camera functions using just an arrow keypad, a wheel controller and an [OK] button.

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What types of memory cards does this model support?

The SP-610UZ accepts SD media, including SD, SDHC and SDXC cards, in capacities ranging from 128 MB to 64 GB. It supports the SD speed class and the UHS-1 speed class, and it is wi-fi compatible when used with an optional Eye-Fi™ card.

When shooting HD movies, please use a card with an SD speed class of 6 or higher or a UHS-1 speed class.

The SP-610UZ does not accept xD-Picture Card media or CompactFlash® cards.

Memory cards are optional accessories and must be purchased separately. Olympus does not manufacture memory media. For a list of SD memory cards that have been tested and are known to be compatible with the SP-610UZ, please click here. For compatible Eye-Fi cards, please click here.

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What are the purposes of the different record modes?

Record modes allow photographers to quickly and conveniently vary the quality settings used to capture and save images in-camera. While it is possible to always shoot at the higher-quality settings and then process the images to lower file sizes later using a computer, it may be more convenient in some situations to shoot at other than the higher-quality settings. For example, it may be preferable to shoot using a lower-quality JPEG setting when the shot is intended for use on the Internet, where small file size is more important than rich detail.

JPEG is a compressed file format. When the camera processes a captured JPEG image and saves it to the memory card, it uses algorithms to discard some of the data to make the file smaller. The process of mathematically reducing a file’s size by discarding some of its data is called compression. When the image is opened on a computer, the JPEG algorithms reconstruct the discarded data.

JPEGs are useful because their quality settings can be manipulated from the camera menu. The two factors that comprise JPEG quality are image size and compression ratio.

Image size is determined by the number of pixels in the image. Larger files are measured in millions of pixels, or megapixels. The SP-610UZ offers the following options: 14M, 8M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 1M, VGA (640 x 480 pixels), 16:9L (4,288 x 2,416 pixels), and 16:9S (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). The VGA setting is useful for shooting low-resolution images for use on the Internet in such applications as online auction Web sites. The 16:9 settings are suitable for capturing images intended for playback on a wide-screen TV.

Two compression options are available: FINE (for high-quality images with larger file sizes) and NORMAL (for standard-quality images with smaller file sizes).

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What shooting modes are available in the SP-610UZ?

Shooting modes govern what type of data (still image or movie) is recorded and how much control the photographer has over the camera settings and options while shooting. Some modes allow the photographer to configure some or all settings, while others automatically adjust the settings to suit a particular purpose.

The active shooting mode is indicated by an icon in the top right corner of the LCD. To change shooting modes, press the [MENU] button and then use the left and right arrow keys or the wheel controller to scroll through the available options. When the desired mode is selected, press the [OK] button to apply the mode.

Below are brief descriptions of each shooting mode:

  • P (Program shooting) – Gives the photographer the most control over factors that can affect how the finished image will appear. All settings in the menu can be modified. The most commonly used menu options appear on the LCD screen. To access the more detailed menu, scroll down to the last item on the screen — the SETUP option — and press the right arrow button on the wheel controller.
  • iAUTO (Intelligent AUTO) – Analyzes the shooting conditions and automatically selects settings optimized for the scene. (The camera dynamically chooses Portrait, Landscape, Night Portrait, Macro or Sport from the SCN mode.) Shooting menu settings are accessible, but any changes made are not reflected in the shot.
  • SCN (Scene mode) – Automatically adjusts groups of settings to quickly optimize the camera for specific shooting conditions, called “scenes.” The SP-610UZ has 16 scenes. All of the settings controlled by the Scene mode can be configured individually in Program mode using the camera’s menu, but applying them manually can be time-consuming. In addition, novice photographers may not have a deep enough knowledge of photography to apply the appropriate settings that an advanced photographer would use.
  • MAGIC (MAGIC mode) – Enables the photographer to apply special effects to images in-camera at the moment of shooting that might be done in post-processing with photo imaging software. The Creative Art Filters options are Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish Eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolor.
  • Panorama mode (Panorama mode) — Presents the photographer with three ways to capture panoramic images. The AUTO option allows the photographer to capture three images that the camera then stitches into one panoramic image. The MANUAL option gives the photographer more control over how the three images overlap and stitch in-camera into a single image. The PC option allows the photographer to shoot up to 10 images that can later be automatically stitched together on a computer using the [ib] software.
  • 3D – Enables shooting two images to be combined into a 3D image that can be played back on 3D-compliant playback devices.

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How does this camera's image stabilization function work when shooting still images and movies?

This camera has two stabilization modes:

  • IMAGE STABILIZER compensates for camera shake while shooting still images by shifting the sensor. Images may not be stabilized if the camera shake is too severe or if the exposure time is very long, such as when taking pictures at night. There might be slight noise from inside the camera when the shutter button is pressed due to the action of the image stabilizer. The default setting is ON. It also compensates for camera shake by using higher ISOs to obtain higher shutter speeds.
  • IS MOVIE MODE is used when shooting movies. The image size is enlarged somewhat so that the image pixels can be shifted on the sensor to compensate for camera shake. If IMAGE STABILIZER were to be used for movies, the camera’s microphone could pick up the sound of the sensor shifting while recording the movie, so pixel shifting is used because it is silent. The default setting is OFF.

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Where can I find the documentation for my camera?

The SP-610UZ is packaged with a printed Quick Start Guide and a detailed Instruction Manual in Adobe PDF format. The manual is located on the OLYMPUS Setup CD-ROM. The manual can be installed on a computer separately or in combination with the accompanying support software.

The Instruction Manual can also be downloaded in Adobe PDF format by clicking here.

Adobe Reader® is required to view PDF files. The software is available as a free download from Adobe's web site.

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When I select some shooting modes, some of the menu operations disappear or become grayed-out (inactive). Why?

In some of the shooting modes, the camera operates with a minimum of input from the user and automatically selects camera settings. Many shooting functions are controlled entirely by the camera; the photographer cannot change their settings. Therefore, the menu options that control those settings disappear or are grayed-out in automated modes.

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How do I decide which ISO setting to use?

Think of the ISO values as film speeds. Low ISOs such as 100 and 200 are better-suited to situations in which there is a lot of light – daytime outdoor scenes, for example. Higher ISOs, such as 400 and 800, would be used outdoors when there is plenty of light and fast shutter speeds are desired – at sports and air shows, for example – or indoors when there is ample available light from windows or bright lamps. ISO values 1600 and above would be used when light levels are very low, such as in dimly lit rooms or outdoors at night.

The ISO HIGH setting uses a higher sensitivity range compared to ISO AUTO in order to minimize the blur that can occur if the camera or the subject moves while the camera's shutter is open. When the camera uses higher ISO values, the imaging sensor takes in more light in less time, so the shutter is open for a shorter duration. This reduces the opportunity for blur to occur.

All shooting modes enable ISO AUTO, but some shooting modes do not permit manually setting the ISO value.

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The SP-610UZ has three autofocus modes. Which should I use?

With three focusing modes, photographers have great flexibility in setting up the camera for diverse shooting situations. The following descriptions will help you determine the best mode for each shot. The modes are selected and set using the SETUP menu.

  • FACE/iESP - In this autofocus mode, the camera first tries using FACE DETECT to autofocus. If a face is not detected, the camera uses iESP to autofocus.
  • SPOT: In this mode, the camera focuses on the subject within the AF target mark, which is in the center of the frame. If the main subject is not in the center of the frame, the AF target mark can be positioned on the subject by aiming the camera, pressing the shutter button halfway to lock the autofocus on the subject and then recomposing the shot. Press the shutter button all the way down to capture the shot.
  • AF TRACKING - In this autofocus mode, the camera tracks the subject's movement automatically to follow-focus on it continuously.

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The subject I want in focus doesn't line up with the AF target on the LCD. How do I get the camera to focus on the subject?

When using the SPOT autofocus mode, the Autofocus Lock technique can be used for more critical focus by pre-focusing on a specific subject, locking the focus and then recomposing the image to shoot the picture. To do this:

  1. Position the AF target mark on the subject and press the shutter button halfway until it turns from white to green.
  2. While holding the shutter button in the halfway position, recompose the image and then press the shutter button all the way down to shoot the picture.

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The SP-610UZ has AUTO White Balance, so why is it necessary to have white balance presets?

Having white balance presets grants the photographer more creative control. For one thing, daylight can be warm or cold. On a sunny day, early and late light has a warmer appearance than when the sun is high. The WB AUTO White Balance option might color correct for that warmth, thus taking away the ambience. Using the Sunny day WB setting will preserve that warmth. The WB AUTO setting will also tend to diminish the red, yellow and orange colors in a sunset, so it is advisable to use the Sunny day setting when shooting sunsets.

On cloudy days, the light seems colder because the clouds absorb the warmer red and yellow frequencies of the sunlight coming from above the clouds. Therefore, there is a Cloudy day setting in the presets to record the images with a warmer appearance. Creatively, the Cloudy day preset can be used on a sunny day to give images a more “golden” appearance, or it can be used to make a sunset appear warmer.

The Tungsten light setting compensates for the yellowish color cast of indoor lighting and candle light. The Tungsten light setting should be used for shooting subjects being lit with floodlights — for example, for posting to an Internet auction site. Creatively, the Tungsten light preset can be used outdoors in daylight to make the images appear more blue — giving a surreal feeling of coldness and moodiness.

The Fluorescent lamp preset is valuable when photographing in business and office environments.

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What does shadow adjustment (SHADOW ADJUST) do?

When shadow adjustment is enabled, the camera processes a captured image so that the shadowy areas are brighter, revealing more shadow detail. The option can be used to shoot backlit or three-quarter lit subjects to make them appear with less contrast in strong daylight lighting conditions. Creatively, the option can be used in any lighting situation. In travel photography, users may wish to have the option enabled at all times. As with any creative option, it is best to experiment to test applications of the feature.

Shadow Adjustment is automatically enabled by default. It can be set to AUTO, OFF or ON using the SHADOW ADJUST control in the SETUP menu. Using the AUTO option, the camera decides when to apply shadow adjustment based on the contrast of the scene. Using the ON option, shadow adjustment is always applied. Shown below are crops of the same view. In the left image, SHADOW ADJUST was set to OFF. In the second, it was set to ON.

Shadow Adjustment should not be used with the PANORAMA shooting mode because it will only be applied to the first frame.

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Can I apply shadow adjustment to images I have already taken?

The SHADOW ADJ function in the EDIT menu is used to “open up” shadow areas in a saved image to show more shadow detail without making any changes to the mid-tone and highlight areas of the image.

To apply SHADOW ADJ:

  1. Set the camera to the Playback mode, and then select an image.
  2. Press the MENU button, and then select EDIT.
  3. Select SHADOW ADJ, and then press the [OK] button. The image to be modified will appear on the LCD screen.
  4. Press [OK] again.

The SHADOW ADJ function will make a modified copy of the original image with enhanced shadow detail and save it in the camera memory or on the memory card. The original image will remain unchanged.

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Can I play back my photos and movies on my television?

Yes. This camera can transmit its audio/visual signal to an external player, such as a standard definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) television.

The CB-AVC3 cable bundled with the camera joins the camera’s USB output jack to a TV’s composite video (yellow) and left-channel mono audio (white) input jacks. Replacement cables can be purchased online from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

The CB-HD1 cable, sold separately, can be used to connect the camera’s HDMI micro connector (Type D) output jack to high-definition televisions (HDTVs) with an HDMI standard connector (Type A) input jack. The CB-HD1 cable can be purchased online from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

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Where can I find information on how to use the [ib] software?

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about [ib] are collected here.

Detailed documentation of the software's functions is available in the application's Help file. To access the Help file, launch [ib] and choose ib Help from the Help menu.

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I am a Mac user. What software can I use to view my images and movies on my computer?

Macintosh owners may use the OLYMPUS Viewer 2 for Macintosh software that is included on the OLYMPUS Setup software CD-ROM bundled with this camera. This imaging software is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later.

It is also possible to transfer images and movies directly to a Macintosh computer without using any Olympus software. Connect the camera to the computer using the camera's bundled USB cable, and then manually transfer your files to the computer using standard copy/paste or drag and drop techniques. Once the files are on your computer, you can use any third-party application of your choice to view, edit and share them.

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When I tried to remove the body sticker on my camera, some residue was left behind. How can I remove it?

Place transparent adhesive tape over the residue and gently rub. Then peel the tape slowly backward. The residue will adhere to the tape as it is removed. Repeat as necessary until all residue is removed.

Do not scrape the residue with a sharp object, and do not apply degreasers or other solvents.

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My camera is connected to my TV, but I don’t see my photos and movies. Why not?

Most televisions manufactured in the past decade provide a variety of input jacks so that multiple audio/visual devices (for example, a cable or satellite signal converter box, a movie player, a computer, a video game console and a digital camera) can display content on a shared screen. This eliminates the need to have separate screens for each device. Although many devices can be connected to the television simultaneously, the television screen usually can display content from only one device at a time. Therefore, when you connect your camera to the television, you must select the proper input source in order to view your images and movies.

The method for selecting input channels varies with brand and model, but in general the TV and/or its remote control will have a button for selecting a desired input signal. This button may be called "Source" or "Aux" or it may be a combination of various device labels, such as "TV/AV" or "TV/Cable/DVD." Pressing this button repeatedly will cycle through all of the input sources available to your television. Keep pressing the button until you see the camera menu on the TV screen. (The display on the camera LCD screen or electronic viewfinder will be blacked out.) If the camera menu does not appear, the signal is not reaching the television. Verify that the cable is properly connected.

If you have connected the camera to the television using the yellow and white AV cable bundled with the camera, look for source options named "AV," "Video," or "Aux." If your television has multiple sets of AV jacks, you may need to further choose between, for example, "Aux 1" and "Aux 2" or between "Front" and "Rear" jacks.

If you have connected the camera to a high-definition television (HDTV) using an optional HDMI cable so that you can view HD movies stored on your camera, look for a source option with "HDMI" in its name.

Please refer to the user documentation for your television or TV remote control for specific instructions and to verify that all source devices' cables have been connected to the proper input jacks.

Note: If the image quality on the screen appears to be distorted, the camera may be set to a video output format that is incompatible with the television. In the camera’s menu, check the VIDEO OUT setting. In North America, the setting should be NTSC. If it is set to PAL, change it to NTSC.

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I am having trouble getting a sharp image using the Night Scene or Night + Portrait Scene modes. What should I do?

The NIGHT SCENE and NIGHT+PORTRAIT scenes are meant to take long exposures of skylines and city streets by leaving the shutter open for several seconds. Camera motion while the shutter is open causes blurriness. Therefore, it is necessary to stabilize the camera by bracing it against something solid or by using a tripod or camera clamp.

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I went on vacation and used several memory cards. Now, when I'm downloading the images onto my computer and trying to save them, I get a message that says "Image file-name.jpg already exists. Replace it with the new file?" What's going on?

The camera has two settings for creating file names for the images it captures:

  • AUTO - Even when a new card is inserted, the folder numbers are retained from the previous card. If the new card contains an image file whose number coincides with one saved on the previous card, the new card’s file numbers start at the number following the highest number on the previous card.

    Put simply, the camera picks up where it left off when naming files.
  • RESET - When a new card is inserted, the folder numbers start at 100 and the file numbers start at 0001. If a card containing images is inserted, the file numbers start at the number following the highest file number on the card. If the card has been formatted, the file names will start with 0001.

    Put simply, the card starts naming files anew beginning at 0001. At some point, the computer will start seeing duplicate numbers. When multiple cards are downloaded in this setting, each duplicate file name will have to be renamed individually or else the like-named files will overwrite their predecessors when they are saved to the computer. The original images will no longer be viewable.

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