What are the main features of the SZ-30MR?
The Olympus SZ-30MR is a 24x wide-angle zoom digital camera with a one-touch HD movie-recording feature. It has two sensors, enabling simultaneous capture of images and movies. Its 4.5-108.0 mm f3.0-6.9 lens yields a 25-600mm equivalent in 35mm format; beyond that, it has a 4x digital zoom. To support such a long zoom ratio, the SZ-30MR 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 CMOS 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.
Thirty-five shooting modes let you choose the right balance between automation and creative control. Program, iAUTO, Scene, 3D, Panorama, MAGIC, Multi-Recording and Movie shooting modes. The 16 preset scenes are tailored to specific shooting scenarios so that the ideal settings can be quickly applied. The magic filters 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 sophiticated 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 Face/iESP). In addition, you can focus on a subject positioned within the AF target (SPOT AF mode).
The SZ-30MR can shoot full-resolution (16 megapixel) images continuously at 7 fps; it has three high-speed sequential shooting modes that provide options to shoot at reduced resolutions with burst rates of up to 15 fps.
The SZ-30MR also features a Date Stamp option, so the shooting date will appear on images and prints.
The Macro and Super Macro modes offer extreme close-up capabilities. In Super Macro mode, the lens will focus to 1.8 inch.
Images can be framed and played 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/SDXC media for removable memory. When shooting movies, a card with a speed class of 6 or higher is recommended.
Other convenient features include an in-camera manual that demonstrates 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 the arrow keypad, the Wheel Controller and the [OK] button.
What are the differences between the SZ-10, the SZ-20 and the SZ-30MR?
You may use Olympus' Camera Comparison Utility to compare the features and specifications of up to three Olympus compact digital cameras. To access the tool, please click on this link: http://asia.olympus-imaging.com/products/compact/comparison/.
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 SZ-30MR offers the following options: 16M, 8M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 1M, VGA (640 x 480 pixels), 16:9L (4,608 x 2,592 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 websites. 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).
The quality options for HD movies are 1080p (with Fine and Normal compression options) and 720p, 360p and 180p (Normal compression only). There are also options for VGA (640 x 480) and QVGA (320 x 240) resolutions.
What shooting modes are available in the SZ-30MR?
Shooting Modes govern what type of data (still image and/or movie) is recorded and how much control the photographer has over 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.
While composing a shot, the active shooting mode is indicated by an icon in the top left corner of the LCD. To change shooting modes, rotate the Mode Dial to the desired position and then use the keypad to select an available option, if any. 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, press the MENU button.
- iAUTO (Intelligent AUTO) analyzes the shooting conditions and automatically selects settings that are 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 setting changes are not reflected in the shot.
- SCN (Scene) automtically adjusts groups of settings to quickly optimize the camera for specific shooting conditions, called "scenes." The SZ-30MR 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 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.
- 3D mode captures 3-D images for viewing on compatible display devices such as 3-D televisions.
- 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 OLYMPUS [ib] or OLYMPUS Viewer 2 software.
- MAGIC modes enable 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 Filter options are Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish Eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolor.
- Multi-Recording () modes can simultaneously shoot still images or movies using the whole sensor area and a cropped image in the center of the frame at the same time and save them to the memory card. It is possible to optically zoom while shooting movies in the Multi-Recording mode.
- Still Image/Movie Clip () modes automatically capture a still image while recording a movie. The movie footage begins before -- and continues after -- the still image shutter button is fired. The options determine how much movie time is recorded before and after the still image is recorded. In these modes, the movie resolution is set to VGA or 360p.
Note that it is also possible to manually capture still images any time that a movie is recorded when the mode dial is set to P or iAUTO. Simply press the one-touch HD Movie recording button to start and stop movie capture, and while the movie is recording press the still image shutter button to capture still images. (The number of still images that can be recorded depends on the Image Size settings.)
The camera does not power on. Why?
The battery may be dead or underpowered. If the battery is completely drained, the camera will not power on when the Power button is pressed. If the battery is nearly drained, the camera may briefly display a Battery Empty error message and then power off, or it may power on and then quickly power off without displaying the error. In either case, charge the battery using the charger bundled with the camera. Be sure to properly align the arrows on the bundled battery with the arrow on the battery charger, and take care to see that the "+" and "-" signs align properly. If the battery is inserted improperly, the battery will not be charged. Please see "How do I insert the LI-50B lithium-ion battery into the camera?"
How do I insert the LI-50B lithium-ion battery into the camera?
To load the LI-50B battery into the camera, do the following:
- Turn the camera upside-down and open the battery compartment door. (The door will swing up toward the center of the camera.)
- Push the battery lock knob in the direction of the arrow shown below.
- Insert the battery into the camera as shown. When the battery is properly oriented, the black stripe with the white arrows will be to the left of the OLYMPUS label and the arrows will point down into the camera. The OLYMPUS label will face the same direction as the LCD monitor.
- Push the battery gently into the camera until it clicks. The battery lock knob will snap into place.
- Close the battery compartment door.
Note: If the LI-50B battery is improperly oriented when it is inserted into the camera, the camera will not power on.
Where can I find information on how to use the bundled [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.
An MPO file is recorded in addition to a JPEG file after shooting 3-D pictures. Why?
When shooting 3-D pictures, a JPEG file and an MPO file are recorded in record mode 16:9 S.
The MPO format (Multi Picture Object Format, extension: ".MPO") is a CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) file format. This file format saves multiple images as a single image file.
In 3-D picture shooting, the camera creates parallax images for the right and left eye in MPO format.
Note: If either the MPO file or JPEG file is deleted from the computer, the images cannot be displayed in 3-D.
What scenes are available in the SZ-30MR's SCN (Scene) mode?
The SZ-30MR has 16 scenes: 1. Portrait, 2. Beauty, 3. Landscape, 4. Hand-Held Starlight, 5. Night Scene, 6. Night+Portrait, 7. Sport, 8. Indoor, 9. Self Portrait, 10. Sunset, 11. Fireworks, 12. Cuisine, 13. Documents, 14. Beach & Snow, 15. Pet Mode - Cat, 16. Pet Mode - Dog.
Noise reduction is applied automatically in the Night Scene and Sunset scenes. This approximately doubles the shooting time, during which no other pictures can be taken.
Does this camera have image stabilization?
This camera has two stabilization modes that are automatically selected for still pictures or movies when the Image Stabilizer in the camera's menu is set to On.
For still images, 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. You may hear a soft sound from inside the camera when the shutter button is pressed due to the action of the Image Stabilizer.
When shooting movies, the image size is reduced somewhat so that the image pixels can be shifted on the sensor to compensate for camera shake. If sensor-shift stabilization were to be used for movies, the camera's microphone would pick up the sound of the sensor shifting while recording the movie, so pixel shifting is used because it is silent.
Where can I find the documentation for this camera?
The camera is packaged with a printed Quick Start Guide that describes basic operations and a copy of the User Manual on the CD bundled in the kit.
Replacement manuals are available online from OlympusAmerica.com. An electronic copy of the manual can be freely downloaded as an Adobe® Portable Document Format (PDF) file, and a paper copy can be purchased for a nominal fee, which covers the cost of printing and shipping the book. Click here to select your camera model and view its available manuals.
Note: Adobe Reader® software is required to view and print PDF files. If this program is not already installed on your computer, you can download the latest version for free directly from Adobe's Web site by clicking here.
How do I enable the Date Stamp function in the SZ-30MR?
The Date Stamp function is enabled from the camera's menu. When enabled, the date stamp is written onto the image in the lower right corner so that it can be seen as part of the image on a computer or on prints. Be sure that the date and time are entered correctly in the camera's menu.
Date Stamp cannot be used in the (Panorama) or 3D shooting modes. The date stamp cannot be removed from a photo once it is written because it replaces image pixels that cannot be restored.
Can I play back the 3-D images, taken with 3-D mode, on the camera's LCD monitor?
No, the 3-D images cannot be played back on the camera's monitor. They can be played back on devices that are compatible with displaying 3-D images (e.g. TV, computer monitor).
Note: To play back the 3-D images on a TV, connect a compatible TV to the camera using an HDMI cable (CB-HD1, 1.5 m), sold separately.
What is a histogram?
A histogram gives the photographer feedback on the distribution of the light and dark tones in the image. When it is enabled, it is displayed on the LCD screen in real time. Select the INFO screen that displays the histogram by pressing the [INFO] button.
The histogram displays the brightness range of the camera as a graph. The left side of the graph indicates highlights, and the right side of the graph indicates shadows. The photographer has the option of changing settings such as Exposure Compensation and Shadow Adjustment to fit the tonal range into the histogram prior to shooting or reshooting the image.
The camera will also show the histogram of an image in the Playback Mode. Pressing the [INFO] button changes the display of the image information on the LCD. One of the displays shows a thumbnail of the image, its exposure information and the image's histogram.
When I select some shooting modes, some of the menu options disappear or become grayed-out. Why?
In some of the shooting modes, the camera operates with a minimum of input from the user and instead automatically selects menu options. 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.
The SZ-30MR has three focusing 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 from the (Camera 1) tab of 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.
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:
- Position the AF target mark on the subject and press the shutter button halfway until it turns from white to green.
- 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.
Can I play back my images and movies on a television?
Yes. This camera can transmit its audio/video signal to an external player, such as a standard definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) television, via cables
The CB-AVC3 cable bundled with the camera joins the cameras USB output jack to a TV's composite video (yellow) and monaural 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 type D micro connector output jack to high-definition televisions (HDTVs) with an HDMI type A standard connector input jack. The CB-HD1 cable can be purchased online from The Olympus Store by clicking here.
How do I decide which ISO setting to use?
Think of the ISO values as film speeds. Low ISOs such as 80 and 100 are better-suited to situations in which there is a lot of light – outdoors 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 1600 or 3200 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 be caused by a moving subject or camera shake.
All shooting modes enable ISO AUTO, but some do not permit manually adjusting the ISO value.
How do I use the different metering modes?
The SZ-30MR provides two metering options that allow the photographer to have greater creative control over exposure. The metering modes are set in the tab of the Setup menu. Descriptions and applications of the metering modes are detailed below:
||ESP metering is recommended for general use. The camera meters the brightness at the center of the monitor and the surrounding area separately to capture an image with balanced brightness. When taking pictures against a strong backlight, the center of the image may appear dark.|
||Spot metering measures the exposure using a very small area in the center of the monitor. It can be used to meter a backlit subject. Spot metering must be used very carefully because the brightness within the metered area can dramatically influence the final exposure.|
What is Exposure Compensation and how is it used?
Metering systems in cameras measure light but do not have a way of determining what the subject matter is, so the exposure decisions the metering system makes may not always be appropriate for the subject matter. This phenomenon is called subject failure. As with Spot metering, the human touch may be required to arrive at correct exposures.
Exposure Compensation allows the photographer to set up the camera to under- or overexpose in specific situations. Adjustments of up to two f-stops in either direction are possible, using 1/3-stop increments. The exposure compensation value is displayed on the LCD menu as either a plus (overexposure) or minus (underexposure) value.
Exposure Compensation is enabled by scrolling down the function menu on the right side of the LCD screen to the Exposure Compensation option and then selecting the Exposure Compensation value by rotating the Wheel Controller or using the left or right arrow buttons. As the selected value changes, the effect of the adjustment is displayed on a thumbnail image on the LCD display. Press the [OK] button to apply the value.
Remember to set the compensation back to 0.0 before shooting subjects in other conditions so that the subjects will be properly exposed.
The SZ-30MR 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 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 provides an option for fluorescent lights. This preset is valuable when photographing in business and office environments.To select a White Balance setting, use the left and right arrow buttons or the Wheel Controller to scroll through the settings. The effects of each setting are displayed on the LCD so you can see how the shot will look. When a pleasing White Balance has been found, press the [OK] button to apply it. When the shooting environment has changed, be sure to set the White Balance back to WB AUTO.
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 function 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 tab of 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.
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:
- Set the camera to the Playback mode, and then select an image.
- Press the [MENU] button, and then select Edit.
- Select Shadow Adj, and then press the [OK] button. The image to be modified will appear on the LCD screen.
- 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 a memory card. The original image will remain unchanged.
Is there a remote control for the SZ-30MR?
The RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release (item #260237) is available for use with the SZ-30MR. The RM-UC1 connects to the Multi Connector on the right side of the camera.
The RM-UC1 is available from authorized Olympus dealers and also online directly from The Olympus Store. To order the RM-UC1 from The Olympus Store, click here
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.
Sometimes when I'm shooting in dim light I have difficulty getting the camera to focus. What can I do?
The camera's autofocus system works by detecting differences in the contrast between light and dark areas of the image projected onto the sensor. If the light is dim or the image has somewhat flat contrast, the camera may have difficulty focusing.
The SZ-30MR has an AF Illuminator feature that uses the flash to illuminate the subject just before the exposure is made, thereby assuring autofocus.
To enable the AF Illuminator:
- Press the [MENU] button to launch the camera's menu.
- Scroll down to AF Illuminat., and then press the right arrow button.
- Select On, and then press the [OK] button.
I can't get a sharp image using the Night Scene or Night + Portrait scenes. What can 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. We recommend triggering the shutter button via the optional RM-UC1 remote or using the Self-Timer. This will help diminish camera shake when set up on a tripod or camera clamp.
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 SZ-30MR 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, then when the camera writes new images to the new card it will begin numbering the files with the number following the highest number recorded 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 numbering starts 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. If the images from all cards are downloaded to the same computer, then at some point the computer will start seeing duplicate file names. 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 would no longer be viewable.