By some margin the bulkiest and priciest camera in this test, the Olympus also has the largest optical zoom reach and the most “premium” build quality and features. Want full 5-axis image stabilisation to counter the effects of your trembling mitts? This camera is the only one of the four that delivers.
There’s also a touchscreen, which might sound gimmicky on a camera but comes in really handy at times: just tap an area on the screen and the camera will set focus and exposure at that precise point. It’s much quicker than doing it manually.
The classy styling owes a lot to Olympus’ retro-inspired PEN compact system cameras, and that’s a good thing, but the SH-2’s somewhat hefty size and weight means you may struggle to fit it in anything but a large coat pocket.
Despite its price premium, the SH-2 doesn’t offer a great deal on the performance front over the other models here. There’s a wee bit more range on the zoom, of course, and that’s potentially valuable if you’re shooting far-off subjects.
In terms of the actual JPEGs the camera produces, there’s little to no difference when you zoom in to take a close look on your computer screen. Even in the lowest ISO shots there’s grainy noise visible, and there’s purple fringing creeping at high contrast sections in the corners and edges.
But, and it’s a big but, the SH-2 also shoots in RAW, so if you’re really fussy about how snaps look, you have far more scope for tinkering after the fact than you do with the other models here.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
It packs the best features and usability – but you pay a premium for them