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What are the main features of the SP-590UZ?

The Olympus SP-590UZ is the world's first 26x ultra-zoom digital camera. Its 4.6-119.6mm f2.8-5.0 lens yields a 26-676mm zoom equivalent in 35mm format. To support such a long zoom ratio, the SP-590UZ incorporates Sensor Shift Image Stabilization that compensates for camera shake by gyroscopically sensing camera movement and constantly repositioning the 12.0 negapixel CCD sensor, resulting in sharper images in challenging shooting situations. Applying Sensor Shift Image Stabilization also enables shooting at lower shutter speeds in low-light situations and using lower ISOs for better image quality.

The SP-590UZ has an option for a 10 frames-per-second burst rate that also features Pre-Capture technology. Pre-Capture starts shooting images when the shutter button is depressed halfway, saving up to 10 shots in the buffer memory but not writing them to the memory card. The stored images are refreshed continuously until the shutter button is fully depressed, at which time the sequence is saved to the memory card along with the frames captured after the shutter button is fully depressed. Pre-Capture makes it possible to record moments that pass too quickly for the typical photographer to react.

The SP-590UZ offers full creative control. In addition to three auto-exposure metering modes, it allows Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure modes. In addition to standard autofocus, the camera offers Full Time Autofocus, Predictive Autofocus and Manual Focus options. The Macro and Super Macro modes offer extreme close-up capabilities. In Super Macro mode, the lens will focus to 0.4 inch. (At that distance, a twenty-five cent coin would fill the frame.)

The SP-590UZ can wirelessly control the Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R electronic flash units for off-camera flash illumination using the built-in flash as the remote flash controller.

The SP-590UZ also features a Scene mode with 19 preset scenes so settings tailored to specific shooting scenarios can be quickly applied. The camera also has a Beauty mode that smooths the texture of the skin when faces are detected. It can also record videos with and without sound at 30 or 15 frames per second.

Bright Capture technology allows shooting in low-light situations and capturing an image that's clear and bright without a flash. And with ISOs up to 6400, the camera can capture images in marginal lighting situations.

Images can be framed and played back on either the high-resolution 2.7 inch HyperCrystal™ II LCD screen or the electronic viewfinder.

The camera uses xD-Picture Card media for removable memory. Using Olympus brand xD-Picture Card media enables the Panorama function. Panoramic images can be stitched together using the bundled OLYMPUS Master 2 software. The camera also ships with the MASD-1 microSD Adapter, enabling use of microSD memory Cards.

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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-590UZ offers the following options: 12M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 1M, VGA (640 x 480 pixels), 16:9L (3968 x 2232 pixels), and 16:9S (1920 x 1080 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 is the purpose of the Scene mode?

The SP-590UZ has a Scene mode (SCN on the Mode Dial) that optimizes the camera settings for specific shooting conditions. All of the settings applied in the 19 available scenes can also be applied by controls in the camera menu, but applying them manually can be time-consuming. In addition, amateur photographers may not have a deep enough knowledge of photography to select the appropriate settings for some situations that advanced amateur and professional photographers would employ.

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What are the purposes of the Multi Fireworks and Multiple Exposure scenes?

The MULTI FIREWORKS scene allows you to take two exposures and combine them on a single frame. Pressing the shutter button once locks the exposure and captures the first image. The image is saved and displayed in the background of the LCD monitor so that it can be used as a visual reference when composing the second image. Pressing the shutter button a second time captures the second image. The two images are then combined and saved to the memory card.

After the combined shot is saved, the first image is again displayed in the background of the LCD monitor, where it can be used to create another multiple-exposure fireworks shot.

The MULTIPLE EXPOSURE scene works in the same fashion as the MULTI FIREWORKS scene except that shooting settings can be changed in the MULTIPLE EXPOSURE scene.

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What is the purpose of the Quick Shutter scene?

The QUICK SHUTTER scene uses FULLTIME AF autofocus to ensure that the subject in front of the lens is in focus at all times. This reduces shutter release lag time because the camera does not have to focus when the shutter button is pressed.

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Can I download these FAQs for future reference?

Yes. To download a copy of these FAQ questions in PDF format, click here.

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

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Where can I find the documentation for my camera?

The SP-590UZ is packaged with a printed Instruction Manual that includes a Quick Start Guide. If lost, replacement documentation can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

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

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What is the purpose of the Function Menu?

The Function Menu is used to select and set frequently used shooting menu functions in fewer steps. Pressing the [OK/FUNC] button in the center of the four-way arrow keypad enables navigation within the Function Menu. Settings options can be selected and enabled using the arrow keys and the [OK/FUNC] button. This gives the photographer the ability to view the active settings and, if necessary, change them easily and rapidly.

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What are the P, A, S and M modes on the Mode Dial? How are they used?

The P, A, S and M modes are the Advanced Shooting modes.  These are essentially non-AUTO modes that allow the photographer more creative control by enabling more control over shutter speed and f-stop settings. Briefly, the Advanced Shooting modes and their applications are as follows:

  • P (Program shooting) – Allows shooting using an aperture and shutter speed set by the camera. In many respects it is similar to the AUTO mode. Unlike the AUTO shooting mode, the program shooting mode allows full access to the menu settings for greater creative control of the camera.
  • A (Aperture priority shooting) – Allows the aperture to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over depth-of-field.  This mode also uses Program Shift, so the photographer can select any aperture in the range of the lens using the up/down arrow buttons.  The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the shutter speed automatically as the f-stops are changed. The Aperture priority shooting mode automatically enables the Exposure Compensation function, which is controlled by the left/right arrow buttons.
  • S (Shutter priority shooting) – Allows the shutter speed to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over stopping action or reducing camera shake.  This mode also uses Program Shift, so the photographer can select any shutter speed in the range of the camera body using the up/down arrow buttons.  The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the aperture automatically as the shutter speeds are changed. The Shutter priority mode automatically enables the Exposure Compensation function, which is controlled by the left/right arrow buttons.
  • M (Manual shooting) – Allows the photographer to set the shutter speed and aperture independently of each other. Program Shift is not applied in this mode. Exposure is determined by testing or by using a light meter. In the Manual shooting mode, the shutter speed is set using the up/down arrow buttons and the aperture is set using the left/right arrow buttons. The effect of changes in the shutter speed and aperture are shown on the LCD screen or in the electronic viewfinder. The values of underexposure and overexposure are displayed in the upper right of the screen display where the Exposure Compensation values are displayed in the P, A and S shooting modes.

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When the Mode Dial is set to AUTO, why are some of the menu options deactivated (grayed-out)?

In the AUTO shooting mode, the camera operates with a minimum of input from the user. Many shooting functions are controlled entirely by the camera; the photographer cannot change their settings. Therefore, the menu options that control those settings are deactivated (grayed-out) in the AUTO mode.

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The SP-590UZ has seven focusing modes. Which should I use?

With seven 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.

  • FACE DETECT: In this autofocus mode, when the camera detects a face in the image view, it displays a green outline around the face and focuses on it. FACE DETECT is capable of detecting multiple faces and averaging the autofocus.
  • iESP: This is the factory default autofocus mode. The camera itself determines which subject within the screen to focus on. Even when the subject is not in the center of the screen, focusing is possible. However, since the camera has no way of knowing what the subject is, it may not select the intended subject.
  • 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 image.
  • AREA: When this option is enabled, the AF target mark can be repositioned to numerous points in the frame using the arrow buttons on the four-way keypad. You can shoot at any time in this mode. Pressing the [OK/FUNC] button returns the AF target mark to the center of the image.
  • MF (Manual Focus): Manual focus is set in the FOCUS MODE option in the CAMERA MENU. Manual focus can be used creatively to focus on a specific subject or during time-lapse still image shooting. When manual focus is enabled, a focusing distance scale is displayed running horizontally along the top of the LCD screen or in the electronic viewfinder. The distance setting is controlled by the up/down arrow buttons on the keypad. While focusing, the central area of the image is enlarged for more accurate focus. Pressing the [OK/FUNC] button sets the focus. Pressing [OK/FUNC] again refocuses.
  • FULLTIME AF: This mode keeps the subject in front of the lens in focus at all times without having to press the shutter button halfway. The focusing time is reduced, resulting in much shorter shutter lag. Also, the subject is automatically kept in focus during movie recording.
    When the QUICK SHUTTER scene is enabled, FULLTIME AF is automatically enabled to reduce shutter lag.
  • AF PREDICT: This is the SP-590UZ application of Predictive Autofocus technology. The camera observes the movement of a subject moving toward or away from the camera and predicts its position at the moment of exposure. When activated, position the AF target mark on the subject and press the shutter button halfway to engage AF PREDICT. When the moving subject reaches the desired position in the frame, press the shutter button all the way down to take the picture.

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

The AFL (Autofocus Lock) function enables the photographer to prefocus on a specific subject, lock the focus and then recompose the image and shoot the picture. To do this:

  1. Position the AF frame on the autofocus subject and press the shutter button halfway until the AF Lock mark () appears in the upper right corner of the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder.
  2. While holding the shutter button in the halfway position, recompose the image and press the shutter button all the way to shoot the picture.

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How do I use the different metering modes?

The SP-590UZ provides three metering options that allow the photographer to have greater control over exposure. The metering modes are set in the CAMERA 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 and can be used to meter a backlit subject. Spot metering must be used very carefully because the brightness within the area on which the metering spot is centered can dramatically influence the final exposure.
Center-weighted average metering provides average metering between the subject and the background lighting, placing more weight on the center of the frame. Use this mode when you do not want the light level of the background to affect the exposure value of the main subject.

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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.

Exposure Compensation is enabled by pressing the (Exposure Compensation) button, which is also the UP arrow key on the four-way keypad. The values are changed using the and (left and right arrow) buttons. Exposure Compensation is disabled by setting the value back to 0.0 and pressing the button again.

The Exposure Compensation value is shown in the lower left corner of the LCD's control panel or in the electronic viewfinder as a plus (overexposure) or minus (underexposure) value.

The Exposure Compensation function can be set to under- or overexpose up to two f-stops in 1/3-stop increments.

It is important that you set the compensation back to 0.0 before shooting subjects in other conditions so the subjects will be properly exposed.

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The SP-590UZ 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 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 AUTO White Balance will also 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 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 three Fluorescent lamp presets provide options for different types of fluorescent lights. These presets are valuable when photographing in business and office environments. It is advisable to shoot test shots to find the correct fluorescent preset for the shooting environment before doing available light photography under fluorescent light.

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With so many White Balance settings available, why and when should I use One-Touch White Balance?

There are many light sources and situations that are not covered by Auto White Balance or the other settings in the White Balance menu. Many noncontinuous light sources, such as fluorescent, mercury vapor and sodium vapor lights, do not have all of the colors of the spectrum. There are also situations in which many different types of lights are used in one environment. These do not neatly fit into what the camera firmware knows about white balance, so it is necessary to “educate” the camera about the specific light balance by shooting a white reference subject such as a white card and saving the data in the White Balance menu as a One-Touch White Balance.

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The manual says that the SMILE SHOT scene works in the shooting standyby mode. How is the shooting standby mode enabled?

When the SMILE SHOT scene is selected, it automatically puts the camera into the shooting standby mode. When the camera is in the shooting standby mode, it is waiting to detect a smiling face in the frame. When the camera detects a smiling face, it automatically shoots a picture without the shutter button being pressed. If the shutter button is pressed while SMILE SHOT is enabled, the camera will shoot a picture whether or not a smiling face is detected.

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What is the purpose of the (CUSTOM) button?

A commonly used function can be assigned to the (CUSTOM) button so that the function can be quickly selected for a specific shooting situation without having to open the camera menu. Once the function has been assigned to the button, press the button to invoke the function, use the and buttons to select the desired setting, and then press the [OK/FUNC] button to apply the selected setting.

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Does the SP-590UZ have a programmable (custom) function button?

Yes. The button, located to the right of the LCD and just above the [MENU] button, is the SP-590UZ’s custom function button. A number of frequently used functions can be assigned to this button. After registering a function, it can be accessed without having to open the camera menu. Just press the button to invoke the function, use the and buttons to select the desired setting, and then press the [OK/FUNC] button to apply the selected setting.

The following functions can be assigned to the custom button:

  • AE Lock
  • AF Lock
  • AF Lock + AE Lock
  • Image Size
  • Compression
  • Fine Zoom
  • Digital Zoom
  • AF Mode
  • Focus Mode
  • Fulltime AF
  • AF Predict
  • Image Stabilizer
  • External Flash
  • Noise Reduction

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The automatic settings make Night Scene convenient for night shots, but I want more creative control. How should I set up the camera?

The SP-590UZ has numerous options that give the photographer extensive control over exposure factors. Creative night photography involves using the camera's manual settings.

Two accessories are essential for night photography. The first is a steady tripod or camera clamp to stabilize the camera during the long exposures involved in night photography. The other accessory is a cable release. The SP-590UZ uses the RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release (Item # 260237), which can be purchased from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

The cable release is plugged into the camera’s USB connector. The release button can be locked down for long BULB exposures.

To set the camera up for night shooting:

  • Turn the Mode Dial to the M (Manual) shooting mode. In this mode the shutter speed and f-stop are entered manually—there is no auto exposure. The shutter speed and f-stop values are shown at the bottom of the LCD screen. The (Exposure Compensation) button, which is also the UP arrow on the four-way keypad, is used to enable changing the values. The and (left and right arrow keys) are used to change the aperture value, and the and buttons (up and down arrow keys) are used to change the shutter speed value. Set the shutter speed to BULB.
  • The remaining settings are set in the CAMERA MENU. The first setting is WB (White Balance). Because night scenes have mixed light sources, you may have to experiment by using AUTO or one of the preset WB settings to find a desirable color balance.
  • ISO is also subject to testing, depending on the exposure time used. 200 or 400 ISO are good places to start. If the BULB exposure is expected to go to the maximum of eight minutes, ISO 64 must be used.
  • SHARPNESS should be set to –5. This is the minimum sharpening the camera can apply. Since night images are usually post-processed, it is best to begin with an unsharpened image because each step of post-processing of a JPEG image recompresses the image a little bit, degrading the image.
  • NOISE REDUCT. should be set to ON. Long night exposures create noise and hot pixels because the sensor heats up during the exposure. NOISE REDUCT. exposes a second dark frame with the same exposure time as the original image. The camera then compares the two images and subtracts the noise and hot pixels from the first frame, thereby saving a cleaner image.
  • The focus mode should be set to MF (Manual Focus). This will prevent the camera from changing focus during long exposures and yield more selective focus than if autofocus were used.

It’s a good idea to keep some notes on your tests and final settings for future night shoots. Remember to reset your camera to its normal settings after your night shoot. You can also preserve your settings for future night photography by creating a My Mode profile.

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How can I create and register a My Mode profile?

My Mode profiles are customized advanced shooting modes that make it easy to quickly select a set of frequently used settings. Complete instructions for setting up and using My Mode profiles can be found here.

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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 64 and 100 are better-suited to situations in which there is a lot of light - outdoor scenes, for example. Higher ISOs, such as 400 and 800, would be used outdoors where there is plenty of light and fast shutter speeds are desired - sports and air shows, for example - or indoors for available light shooting. ISO 1600 and higher would be used where light levels are very low, such as indoors or at night.

The AUTO and Scene modes automatically set the ISO value.

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How should I set up the SP-590UZ to shoot in black and white?

The SP-590UZ always shoots in color; however, a color image can be converted to a black and white or sepia tone image using options in the EDIT menu. To convert an image to black and white or sepia tone:

  1. In the Playback mode, select the image to be converted.
  2. Press [MENU] in the Playback mode, and then open the EDIT menu.
  3. Using the down arrow button, select COLOR EDIT and press the [OK/FUNC.] button to open the COLOR EDIT menu.
  4. Press the[OK/FUNC.] button. The LCD will display four previews: black and white (top left window), sepia (top right), hard saturation (bottom left) and soft saturation (bottom right).
  5. Use the right arrow button to select the conversion mode, and then press the [OK/FUNC.] button to apply the conversion.

The camera will write the converted image to the memory card at the same quality setting as the original image. The original image will remain unchanged.

Note:The saturation options are used to make a color copy of an image with hard or soft color saturation.

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Is it possible to take time-lapse photo sequences with SP-590UZ?

Yes, the SP-590UZ can be used for time–lapse photography. This technique is useful for photographing moving clouds, flowers opening or wildlife interacting at a feeding station.

The TIME LAPSE function is selectable from the CAMERA MENU when using the P, A, S and M shooting modes. The TIME LAPSE option enables shooting from 2 to 99 images at intervals of 1 to 99 minutes in one-minute increments.

It is recommended to use a tripod or camera clamp to position the camera for the time-lapse sequence. Because the length of a time-lapse sequence may exceed the battery life of the four AA batteries the camera holds, it is also recommended to power the camera with the C-7AU Digital Camera AC Adapter (Item: #200685-410), which is available for purchase from authorized dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store. Click here to order.

In addition, the MF (Manual Focus) mode should be used to prevent the camera from changing focus during the time-lapse sequence.

If the intention of the time-lapse sequence is to convert the images into a movie, use the VGA record mode to accomodate the quality setting a movie requires. The finished time-lapse sequence can be converted to a movie at various frame rates using third-party software such as QuickTime® Pro.

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How is Shadow Adjustment applied?

Shadow Adjustment (SHADOW ADJ.) can be selected by pressing the button, located to the left of the monitor. When pressed, SHADOW ADJ is displayed at the bottom of the LCD monitor. The option is set to OFF. Use the right arrow button to select ON. Press the [OK/FUNC] button to enable the Shadow Adjustment Technology (SAT).

When SHADOW ADJ. is enabled, the camera processes a captured image so that the shadow 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 choose to have the option enabled at all times. As with any creative option, it is best to experiment to test applications of the feature.

Shown below are two crops of the same view. In the first shot, Shadow Adjustment was set to OFF. In the second, it was set to ON.

Shadow Adjustment should not be used with the Panorama feature because it will only be applied to the first frame.

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How does the SHADOW ADJ. function in the EDIT menu work?

The SHADOW ADJ. function 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 Mode Dial to the Playback mode and select an image.
  2. Press the [MENU] button, and then select PERFECT FIX.
  3. Select SHADOW ADJ., and then press the [OK/FUNC.] button. The image to be modified will appear on the LCD screen.
  4. Press [OK/FUNC.] 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 to the memory card. The original image will remain unchanged.

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What is the histogram?

The 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 or electronic viewfinder in real time.

The SP-590UZ has two types of histograms. The standard histogram displays the brightness range of the camera as a graph. The left side of the graph indicates highlights (red) and the right side of the graph indicates shadows (blue). On each end of the graph is a space indicating highlight and shadow values that fall outside of the camera’s brightness range and which will have no saved detail when the image is taken. The photographer has the option of changing settings such as Exposure Compensation, Contrast, and Saturation to fit the tones within the histogram.

The SP-590UZ also has a DIRECT histogram option that displays areas in the viewed image that will be lacking detail in the saved image. Highlights with no detail are displayed in red, and shadows with no detail are displayed in blue. When the DIRECT histogram is enabled, the graph histogram does not appear as an INFO screen and vice-versa.

The camera will also show the histogram of an image in the Playback Mode. Pressing the DISP. button will change the display of the image information. One of the displays shows a thumbnail of an image, exposure information, and the image histogram.

The histograms are selected and enabled using the function in the (SETUP) menu.

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In the FLASH menu, what is the purpose of the SLAVE function?

Even though the SP-590UZ doesn't have a PC sync cord connector, it can be used with studio strobes and off-camera flashes equipped with slave triggers. A slave trigger will fire a flash unit when it detects another flash firing. When the SP-590UZ Flash Mode is set to SLAVE, the camera's built-in flash will fire in sync with slaved flash units.

The SLAVE function has 10 power settings so that the camera's built-in flash can be set for a minimum flash output (1) to full-power output (10). This gives the photographer the option of using the camera flash only as a trigger for the slaved flashes or as the main light, using the slaved flashes for fill light.

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What type(s) of batteries can I use to power the SP-590UZ?

The following types of batteries can be used to power the SP-590UZ:

  • AA alkaline batteries - Alkaline batteries are available in a range of capacity ratings. Purchase batteries rated at 2300 mAh (milliamp hours) or higher and that state on the label they are designed for high-drain electronic devices such as digital cameras.
  • AA NiMH batteries (rechargeable batteries) - Being rechargeable, NiMH batteries are reusable and economical. Olympus NiMH batteries are available, bundled with a charger, from The Olympus Store. To order, click here.

    Note: Olympus brand NiMH batteries are intended for use only with Olympus digital cameras. Do not use these batteries with any other device.

CAUTION: There is a risk of explosion if the batteries are replaced with an incorrect battery type. The following types of batteries cannot be used:

  • Lithium battery pack (CR-V3)
  • AA (R6) manganese (zinc-carbon) batteries
  • AA (R6) oxyride batteries
  • AA (R6) lithium batteries

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Must I charge NiMH batteries before using them in the SP-590 UZ?


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Must NiMH batteries be completely drained before I re-charge them?

It depends on the batteries’ manufacturer. Repeatedly recharging Olympus brand NiMH batteries before using up their capacity will shorten the life of the batteries per charge.

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How long will it take to recharge my NiMH batteries?

The BU-400 NiMH Quick Charger, bundled with the optional B-90SU charger and battery set, can recharge two Olympus AA NiMH batteries in about two hours, and it can charge four in about 4 ¼ hours. New Olympus NiMH batteries come partially charged, so the first time they are charged should take less time than subsequent charges.

To order the B-90SU NiMH Quick Charger and Battery Set, click here.

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Does Olympus sell an AC adapter compatible with the SP-590UZ?

Olympus offers the Digital Camera AC Adapter (C-7AU). It is ideal for conserving battery life and is especially useful when downloading files to a computer, for extended work in a studio, during printing, or when viewing images while connected to your TV or VCR.

Do not connect or disconnect the AC adapter while the camera is turned on. Doing so could affect the camera’s internal settings or functions. Be sure to read the instruction manual for the AC adapter.

To purchase the C-7AU adapter (Item # 200685-410) from Olympus’ online store, click here.

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Does the SP-590UZ support the Olympus wireless RC flash system?

The SP-590UZ supports the Wireless Flash system by which the camera's built-in flash acts as a controller that sends data commands to FL-36R and FL-50R electronic flash units that are set up off-camera.

The SP-590UZ controls only one group of flash units. The camera and flashes have four control channels to choose from so the flashes and camera will not receive signals from other Olympus wireless RC flash systems operating nearby. The photo below shows the main setup screen for the wireless RC flash system on the SP-590UZ set to Channel 2.

The flash group, channel and settings are then set up on the flash units. The SP-590UZ requires that Flash Group A is selected. When the camera shutter is tripped, the camera’s built-in flash emits a very high-speed burst of data in a pre-flash that commands the performance of the flash units.

The diagram below shows a sample placement of three flash units using the Olympus wireless RC flash system:

For details on the operation of the Olympus wireless RC flash system, please refer to the manuals for the FL-36R and FL-50R.

Olympus wireless RC flash system flashes, such as the FL-50R and the FL-36R can all be purchased from authorized Olympus dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store.

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Does Olympus offer a remote cable release for the SP-590UZ?

The RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release (item #260237) is the electronic cable release for the SP-590UZ.

The RM-UC1 connects to the same USB port on the camera that is used to connect the camera to a computer via the bundled USB cable. The RM-UC1 has a sliding lock to lock the cable release for BULB exposures.

The RM-UC1 is available from authorized Olympus dealers and also online directly from The Olympus Store. To order the RM-UC1, click here.

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Does Olympus offer any conversion lenses for the SP-590UZ?

Olympus offers the TCON-17 Telephoto Conversion Lens for use with the SP-590UZ. The lens increases the magnification of the subject by 1.7x when the camera is at the extreme telephoto zoom. The CLA-11 Lens Tube Adapter, sold separately, is required to attach the TCON-17 to the SP-590UZ.

Both accessories are available from authorized Olympus dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store. To purchase the TCON-17 Telephoto Conversion Lens (Item #200862), click here. To purchase the CLA-11 Lens Tube Adapter (Item #202317), click here.

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I want to use a lens filter with the SP-590UZ. What is the diameter of the filter thread?

The SP-590UZ does not have a filter thread; therefore, lens filters cannot be attached directly to the camera.

Filters with 55mm diameter can be attached to the SP-590UZ via the CLA-11 Lens Tube Adapter, sold separately. However, it is not recommended because vignetting may occur in the corners of the image when the camera is set to wide angle positions. Images taken with the SP-590UZ while using filters are not supported by Olympus.

The CLA-11 Lens Tube Adapter (Item #202317) is available from authorized Olympus dealers and also online from The Olympus Store. To purchase the CLA-11, click here.

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When I look through the viewfinder, the image does not appear to be sharp. Why?

You may need to adjust the viewfinder's diopter to your vision. To the left of the viewfinder eyepiece cup is the diopter adjustment dial. While looking through the viewfinder, rotate the diopter adjustment dial until you can see the AF Frame clearly in the center of the viewfinder.

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I can't get a sharp image using Night Scene. What am I doing wrong?

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 against something solid or using a tripod or a camera clamp.

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Sometimes when I'm shooting in dim light I have difficulty getting the camera to focus. What can I do?

Digital cameras autofocus 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 SP-590UZ 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:

  1. Pres the [MENU] button, select CAMERA MENU and then press the [OK/FUNC] button.
  2. Using the down arrow button on the keypad, toggle down to AF ILLUMINATOR.
  3. Toggle right and select ON.
  4. Press [OK/FUNC].
  5. Exit the menu.

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I went on vacation and used several memory cards. Now, when I'm downloading 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 SP-590UZ 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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When I try to select the PANORAMA option in the CAMERA MENU, the option is grayed-out. Why?

The PANORAMA option in the SP-590UZ requires Olympus xD-Picture Card media to function, and the camera must be set to the P (Program Auto) or SCN (Scene) shooting mode or to a previously registered My Mode.

When a series of images are shot while the SP-590UZ is in Panorama mode, the individual images are “tagged” with information that indicates they are elements of a panoramic image. This information is used to stitch the images together into an almost seamless single image.

The SP-590UZ provides three Panorama options:

  • COMBINE IN CAMERA1 allows the photographer to shoot three images that are automatically stitched in camera and saved as one image on the memory card. After the first image is shot, a pointer (a red dot with crosshairs) is superimposed on the live view of the second image. As the camera is moved to the right, a white target mark moves into the image. When the pointer is centered on the target mark, the camera automatically takes a picture and saves it. The camera then places another pointer and target mark in the live view of the third image. When the pointer is centered on the target mark, the camera shoots the last picture and automatically initiates and completes the panoramic stitch, saving the final image on the memory card.  This option is not available when the mode dial is set to SCN.
  • COMBINE IN CAMERA2 allows the photographer to shoot three images freehand that are automatically stitched in camera and saved as one image on the memory card. This option superimposes blue lines to indicate overlap points for the stitch. Use of a tripod is recommended for this technique.
  • COMBINE IN PC allows the photographer to shoot up to 10 images that can be imported into a computer and stitched together using OLYMPUS Master software. Again, a tripod is recommended for this technique.

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My camera is connected to my TV with the video cable to play back my photos, but I don't see any images.

Televisions have AV (Audio/Visual) input channels (usually found below Channel 2) to play images and videos from digital cameras and camcorders. Using the TV channel selector, move downward through the channels 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 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 SETUP 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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