Olympus SZ-12

Olympus SZ-12 front
  • 14MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 3" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 80 - 1600
  • Sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 25-600mm (F3.0-6.9) lens
  • 226g - 106 x 69 x 40mm
  • Revealed January 2012
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Olympus SZ-12 overview

Olympus SZ-12 is Olympus's Small Sensor Superzoom digital camera originally released on January of 2012. The camera houses a 14MP, CCD 1/2.3" sized sensor and has a peak resolution of 4288 x 3216.

The SZ-12 comes in at #179 out of 244 in Small Sensor Superzoom cameras and all-around #836 out of 1465 for cameras in our list. You can test our Advanced camera filter to see camera results based on your customized factors.

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The following is a diagram of various criteria used in the scoring system.

Olympus SZ-12 history

The Olympus SZ-12 is part of a family of products. You can read the detailed range underneath.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Olympus-Stylus-SH-3 front thumbnailOlympus SH-3
SZ-12 vs SH-3
Olympus-Stylus-SH-2 front thumbnailOlympus SH-2
SZ-12 vs SH-2
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Olympus-Stylus-SH-1 front thumbnailOlympus SH-1
SZ-12 vs SH-1
Olympus-Stylus-SP-100 front thumbnailOlympus SP-100
SZ-12 vs SP-100
Olympus-SZ-15 front thumbnailOlympus SZ-15
SZ-12 vs SZ-15
Olympus-SH-50 front thumbnailOlympus SH-50
SZ-12 vs SH-50
Photography Glossary
Olympus-SZ-16-iHS front thumbnailOlympus SZ-16 iHS
SZ-12 vs SZ-16 iHS
Olympus-Stylus-SP-820UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-820UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-820UZ
Olympus-SZ-31MR-iHS front thumbnailOlympus SZ-31MR iHS
SZ-12 vs SZ-31MR iHS
Olympus-SP-620-UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-620 UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-620 UZ
Olympus-SZ-12 front thumbnailOlympus SZ-1225-600mm
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Olympus-SZ-11 front thumbnailOlympus SZ-11
SZ-12 vs SZ-11
Olympus-SP-810-UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-810 UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-810 UZ
Olympus-SZ-30MR front thumbnailOlympus SZ-30MR
SZ-12 vs SZ-30MR
Olympus-SZ-10 front thumbnailOlympus SZ-10
SZ-12 vs SZ-10
Olympus-SP-610UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-610UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-610UZ
Olympus-SP-600-UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-600 UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-600 UZ
Olympus-SP-800-UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-800 UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-800 UZ
Olympus-SP-565UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-565UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-565UZ
Snapchat Adds Watermarks to AI-Created Images
Olympus-SP-590-UZ front thumbnailOlympus SP-590 UZ
SZ-12 vs SP-590 UZ

Olympus SZ-12 Pros and Cons

Below is a collection of benefits and drawbacks of the Olympus SZ-12 based on criterias which are usually seen as essential in a digital camera.

built-in flash
comes with HDMI out
decent megapixels (14MP)
great min ISO (80)
great zoom (600mm)
has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
lighter than others (226 grams)
long zoom range (25-600mm 24.0 x zoom)
nice screen size (3")
provides face detection focus
provides tracking autofocus
rather wide (25mm)
cannot use external flash
doesn't offer selfie friendly screen
lack of phase detect auto focus
lack of RAW format
lens is fixed (fixed lens mount)
manual exposure not available
manual focus not available
missing external mic support
missing headphone support
missing Time Lapse mode
no aperture priority
no articulating screen
no shutter priority mode
not so great battery power (220 shots)
pixelated screen (460 k dots)
sensor is tiny (1/2.3")
slow at full zoom (f6.9)
slow continuous shooting (1.0 frames per second)
sluggish max aperture (f3.0)
video quality not great (1280 x 720 resolution)
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Olympus SZ-12 Sensor info

The sensor spec on the Olympus SZ-12 is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor has the capability to resolve 4288 x 3216 pixels . The camera includes Image Stabilization (Sensor-shift). Optical stabilization is superior than digital stabilization since the latter can easily lead to cropping.

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The CCD sensor boasts 14MP and delivers a standard ISO range of 80 to 1600. Sadly, RAW photos are not supported which means that the user has less margin for error.

The picture underneath illustrates the SZ-12's sensor dimensions in comparison to other popular sizes. The SZ-12 sensor comes with a crop factor of 5.8 and is displayed in green.

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To get an idea of various aspect ratios, you should refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Olympus SZ-12 dimensions

Olympus SZ-12 weighs 0.50 lbs (226 grams or 7.97 ounces) and features outside dimensions of 106mm x 69mm x 40mm (4.2" x 2.7" x 1.6"). The weight of general Small Sensor Superzoom camera is 387 grams and the Olympus SZ-12 is lighter when compared with various competitors.

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Down below is a shot of the Olympus SZ-12 beside a soda so you're able to have a sense of its scale.

Olympus SZ-12 dimensions scale

The top view underneath will illustrate the button design on the SZ-12.

Olympus SZ-12 topview buttons dials

Olympus SZ-12 Lens info

The SZ-12 comes with a built in lens providing a focal range of 25-600mm giving it a 24.0 x zoom which is exceptional and would allow you to zoom all the way in.

At the widest 25mm, it offers an aperture of f3.0 and that's very slow and not ideal in low light conditions and you will probably find it difficult to capture a shallow depth of field. You would also have to boost the ISO setting giving you noisy photos. For the tele end, 600mm is fantastic zoom and comes at f6.9 which is really slow and you may need to apply slower shutter speeds.

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Olympus SZ-12 Connectivity

The SZ-12 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Cameras which have NFC and Bluetooth compatibility can easily be controlled wirelessly by smartphones. You can easily send images and usually adjust settings without connecting directly to the camera.

Certain applications even provide a Liveview and press the shutter when you aren't near the camera. If the camera includes a HDMI out, it could be hooked up to an external monitor. Almost all cameras enable you to recharge the battery through the USB port.

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Olympus SZ-12 Video info

The highest video quality on the Olympus SZ-12 is 1280 x 720 and it can capture in MPEG-4 and H.264 file format. 720p is low by today's standards. You should target a minimum 1080p quality for video recording. The camera doesn't include a mic and headphone port which means you have no control over your audio. It is perhaps a better idea to have a look at a different model if you need decent audio in your videos.

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Olympus SZ-12 Weather Sealing

Olympus SZ-12 doesn't include weather sealing so rainy conditions may ruin the camera.

Olympus SZ-12 Screen and Viewfinder

The Olympus SZ-12 is equipped with a 3" fixed display boasting a resolution of 460k dots.

Please be aware that the display screen offers no touch support.

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The ViewFinder specs regarding Olympus SZ-12 are below:

  • ViewFinder None

In those sunny outdoor conditions which make the camera screens washed out and tough to view, viewfinders are pretty valuable.

Olympus SZ-12 Shutter info

Olympus SZ-12 continuous shooting rate is 1.0 frames per second. The max shutter speed is 1/1700 seconds.

Photography Glossary

Olympus SZ-12 Flash and Hot shoe info

Olympus SZ-12 includes only in-built flash lacking external flash ability.

Olympus SZ-12 Autofocusing info

Olympus SZ-12 includes just Contrast Detect AF and is missing Phase Detect AF. Phase Detection focusing is a lot faster and exact when compared with Contrast Detect focusing. The camera supports Face detection which is helpful for portrait photography.

It also includes Tracking AF for moving objects. Olympus SZ-12 lacks manual focus. Manual focus can be useful during low light scenarios or you require more precise control on depth of field.

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Olympus SZ-12 Battery life

The battery power (LI-50B) in the Olympus SZ-12 is made to last for 220 photos with respect to the CIPA measurements making it less compared to its rivals. The typical Small Sensor Superzoom camera battery life is 316. Fujifilm HS35EXR features the highest (600) battery life within this type of cameras.

Here is a number of Small Sensor Superzoom cameras which have the highest battery life:

Olympus SZ-12 for various forms of photography

The following graph gives a analysis of the Olympus SZ-12 for various forms of photography. To check out more, scroll to the specific paragraph underneath.

Olympus SZ-12 as a Portrait photography camera

The Olympus SZ-12 has a rating of 34 which is terrible, and means the camera is not really good for portrait photos. Photographing portrait photos leans greatly towards sensor size, RAW support together with the capability to use off-camera lighting.

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resolution is good (14 megapixels)
supports face detection autofocus
focusing manually not possible
no manual exposure
can't use external flash
very small sensor (1/2.3")
lack of RAW support

Olympus SZ-12 Street photography info

With a decent score of 60, the Olympus SZ-12 is fairly appropriate to use in street photography. A very good street photography camera offers a fine balance of image quality plus portability.

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has image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
lighter than competitors (226 grams)
screen is fixed
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
has no RAW format

Sports photography with Olympus SZ-12

A terrible sports photography score of 41 means the Olympus SZ-12 is not really good for photographing sports. A camera needs to have fantastic tracking and fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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long zoom range (25-600mm 24.0 x zoom)
image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
sensor resolution is decent (14 megapixels)
comes with tracking autofocus
very slow continuous shooting (1.0 fps)
no shutter priority
small sensor (1/2.3")
low battery power (220 CIPA)
lacks phase detect AF

Olympus SZ-12 Travel photography information

Size is really crucial in buying a camera for travel. Over-all, the Olympus SZ-12 gets a very good 65 for a travel camera which makes it a fine fit to buy for your travels.

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lighter than competitors in class (226g)
resolution is good (14MP)
flash built-in
fairly wide (25mm)
great zoom (600mm)
no Time Lapse function
low battery (220 shots)
display isn't selfie friendly
slow maximum aperture (f3.0)

Olympus SZ-12 as a Landscape photography camera

If you're looking to purchase a camera for landscape photography, the most critical aspect is going to be image quality. The Olympus SZ-12 at it's terrible grade of 40 as a landscape camera is not really good amongst it's rivals.

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quite wide (25mm)
pretty good screen size (3 inch)
built in image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
MP count good (14MP)
manual focus not available
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.0)
manual mode not available
very small sensor (1/2.3")
does not have RAW files
not so great battery pack (220 CIPA)
lack of Time Lapse mode

Vlogging with Olympus SZ-12

A vlogging camera really should offer a articulating display, microphone input and ideally image stabilization. Taking all things in to account, the Olympus SZ-12 is not really good as a vlog camera as it gets a terrible score of 31.

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quite wide (25mm)
built in image stabilization (Sensor-shift)
supports face detection focusing
lighter than competition (226g)
somewhat slow maximum aperture (f3.0)
doesn't offer selfie friendly display
low video resolution (1280 x 720 pxls)
lack of external microphone socket

Olympus SZ-12 Alternatives

If you are in the market for replacements to the SZ-12, below is a range of the highest placed cameras that fall in to the family of Small Sensor Superzoom.

The diagram listed below gives you a bird's eye view of the SZ-12 compared to it's top ranked competitors shown earlier.

These are some more cameras you may consider as alternative options. To review a comprehensive comparison, visit the "compare" link.

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General Information
Brand Name
Olympus SZ-12
Small Sensor Superzoom
Physical type
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor dimensions
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Highest resolution
4288 x 3216
RAW images
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
AF touch
AF continuous
AF single
AF tracking
AF selectice
Center weighted AF
Multi area AF
Live view AF
Face detection AF
Contract detection AF
Phase detection AF
Cross focus points
Lens mounting type
fixed lens
Lens focal range
25-600mm (24.0x)
Max aperture
Focal length multiplier
Type of screen
Fixed Type
Screen size
Resolution of screen
460k dots
Selfie friendly
Touch display
Screen technology
Viewfinder Information
DXO scores
DXO All around score
not tested
DXO Color Depth score
not tested
DXO Dynamic range score
not tested
DXO Low light score
not tested
Lowest shutter speed
4 seconds
Highest shutter speed
1/1700 seconds
Continuous shooting rate
1.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manually set exposure
Change WB
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash modes
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in
Hot shoe
Auto exposure bracketing
WB bracketing
AF area
Center weighted
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 180 (30fps)
Highest video resolution
Video data format
MPEG-4, H.264
Mic support
Headphone support
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental sealing
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
226 gr (0.50 lbs)
106 x 69 x 40mm (4.2" x 2.7" x 1.6")
Battery life
220 pictures
Form of battery
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 12 sec, pet auto shutter)
Time lapse feature
Storage type
Card slots
Launch cost