Olympus SP-820UZ vs Nikon P510 – Ultrazoom Cameras Comparison

September 8, 2012

Nikon P510 and Olympus SP-820UZ ultra zoom cameras

So you have decided to buy a new superzoom camera, and the Olympus Stylus SP-820UZ seams like a good choice, should you get it? – In this article I will give you important information about the 820UZ, and compare it to the Nikon P510. Both those cameras fall into the ultra-zoom category, both have a very large zoom and serve as great travel cameras. As for the time of writing this article, the P510 is approx. $70 more expensive. You might wonder what features the P510 have that worth paying more for it? – You get all the answers in this comparison, so let’s get started!


I will start with a short overview of each camera  and then we will continue to the comparison itself.


Olympus  SP-820UZ

Olympus SP-820UZ iHS

Olympus SP-820UZ iHS

Announced on August 22, 2012, the SP-820UZ is the latest ultra-zoom camera from Olympus. The camera features a 14MP BSI CMOS sensors, which is already a change from CCD sensors that were used in previous models. The camera is equipped with a 22.4-896 mm 40x optical zoom lens with built in sensor-shift image stabilization.

The camera utilizes Olympus; iHS Technology borrowed from a digital SLR image processing engine. Together with TruPic V image processor, this results in much better AF performance, low light performance and features that will help you get much better looking photos.

The SP-820UZ can record Full HD 1080p videos with Multi-Motion Movie IS to intelligently minimize camera shake bluriness while shooting videos. This is very useful if you are shooting videos while walking.

The Olympus SP-820UZ iHS was designed to give you plenty of features to enjoy, better image quality than previous models and a large zoom with great wide-angle FOV to capture any type of photo you want. I’m very happy to see Olympus taking their successful ultra-zooms a step forward with this new camera.


Nikon P510

Nikon P510 ultra-zoom camera

Nikon P510 ultra-zoom camera with 42x optical zoom lens

The Nikon P510 is among the most interesting ultra-zoom cameras, and that’s pretty much because of its 24-1000mm Nikkor zoom lens. A 32x optical zoom that gives you the option to get closer to your subject, better than any other ultra zoom digital camera. Nikon really knocked down every other achievement by achieving this amazing reach of 1000 mm focal length. Of course having a 42x optical zoom is great, but this is not the only reason you gonna pick the P510 over the SP-820UZ (if that’s what you’ll decide at the end).

I’ve already compared the Nikon P510 vs Canon SX40 HS and Sony HX200V and found the P510 an excellent all-around performer, but found the Sx40 HS better when it comes to image quality.  You can read this comparison article if you want to compare the P510 vs those other two cameras.

The P510 features ultra-fast AF, 5 fps continuous shooting, built-in GPS, 921K-dots LCD and 1080p30 Full HD video recording with stereo sound. It seems like the P510 just gives you everything you need to get great photos and videos alongside the amazing 42x optical zoom.

So what 42x optical zoom looks like? – take a look at this video to find out!

Amazing isn’t it?

Many people will pick up the P510 because it has the longest zoom factor, but all in all, the P510 is really a very capable ultra-zoom even without such a high zoom range. I really like this camera and this camera should certainly be on top of your list.



Olympus SP-820UZ vs Nikon P510

In order to understand the differences between the two cameras, it will probably be wise to show you a side by side specs comparison table. If you don’t understand what those spec means and you aren’t that techie, I will provide more detailed explanation too. I also put the Canon SX40 HS in this table so you can also see how the P510 and the 820UZ compare to this camera too.

SpecsOlympus SP-820UZNikon P510Canon SX40 HS
AnnouncedAug 21, 2012Feb 1, 2012Sep 15, 2011
6.17 x 4.55 mm
6.17 x 4.55 mm
6.12 x 4.55 mm
ISO80 - 6400100 - 3200 (boost: 6400)100 - 3200
Lens22.4 - 896 mm

Sensor-shift mechanical image stabilizer

Macro: 1 cm
24 – 1000 mm (Nikkor optics)
F3 - 5.6

Nikon Lens-shift VR

second-generation vibration reduction system.

up to 4-stops

Macro: 2 cm
24 – 840 mm (Canon optics)
F2.7 - 5.8

Canon IS

up to 4.5-stops + Intelligent IS (Normal, Panning, Hybrid, Dynamic, Powered, Tripod)

Macro: 0 cm
460,000 dots

921,000 dots

Vari-angle (High: approx. 82°, Low: approx. 90°)
230,000 dots

Electronic ViewfinderNoYes
201,000 dots
202,000 dots
Built-in FlashYes


8 m

7 m
Continuous Shooting (frames per second)1.5 fps up to 200 frames
3 fps up to 3 frames

Capable of up to 30 fps but in 3MP reduced resolution
7 fps

* up to five consecutive images
also features sports continuous shooting 60fps/120fps in reduced image resolution/quality.
10.3 fps

*in High-speed Burst HQ mode and maximum of 8 continuous shots per burst. Also differs depending on the zoom position
(2, 12 and Pet auto shutter)
(2, 10 sec)
(2, 10 sec)
Video recording (HD)1080p @ 30 fps
720P @ 30 fps

Linear PCM monaural audio
1080p @ 30 fps
720p @ 30 fps

Stereo sound
1080p @ 24 fps
720p @30 fps

Stereo sound
Battery Life (CIPA)?240 shots

380 shots

LITHIUM ION Battery Pack NB-10L
Memory cardsSD/ SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I class supported)SD/SDHC/SDXCSD/SDHC/SDXC
Dimensions116.9 x 78.0 x 93.2 mm120 x 83 x 102 mm (4.72 x 3.27 x 4.02")123 x 92 x 108 mm (4.84 x 3.62 x 4.25")
Useful features- iHS Technology
- Multi-motion Movie IS
- Dual image stabilization
- Magic Filter Movie and/or stills
- Handhels Starlight mode
- HDR Backlight Adjustment
- Super Macro mode
- Super resolution zoom
- Smart Panorama
- Photo with movie clip
- Eye-Fi card cmopatability
- Motion detection
- Smart portrait system
- Scene auto selector
- Subject tracking
- 3D images (MPO)
- Face detection
- Scene modes
- In-camera image editing
- Lost of various continuous shooting options
- Face detection
- Red eye correction
- Blink detection
- Motion detection technology
- Super slow motion movie
- Special scene modes
Weight485 g (1.07 lb / 17.11 oz)555 g (1.22 lb / 19.58 oz)600 g (1.32 lb / 21.16 oz)


Here’s a summary of the key differences between those two ultra zoom cameras:


  1. The Olympus has a wider lens, the P510 has a longer zoom reach.  If I am not mistaken, the Olympus has the widest lens on any ultra zoom camera on the market. This is great for group shots, interiors, architectural shots and landscapes. The P510 has a longer reach, but the difference is not big at all.  I wouldn’t base my buying decision on the optical zoom alone, because it’s a really close comparison here.
  2. Nikon P510 has a higher resolution Vari-angle LCD compare to a lower resolution fixed LCD of the 820UZ. Quite a big difference here. Vari-angle LCD will be very useful when shooting videos and the extra resolution improved user experience when viewing photos and videos on the camera.
  3. The Oly 820UZ doesn’t feature an electronic viewfinder as the P510. Viewfinder helps in composing photos in bright daylight where reflections can interfere when composing images via the back LCD screen. Although notice that this isn’t a high-res viewfinder, only 201K-dots, which has relatively poor viewing experience
  4. Nikon P510 has a faster burst shooting rate of 7 fps vs 1.5 on the Olympus.  The Nikon also has a 60fps/120fps vs 30 fps on the Olympus when shooting with reduced image resolution
  5. The Nikon P510 shoots Full HD videos with stereo sound compare to monaural audio on the Olympus
  6. Nikon P510 has in-camera GPS for geo-tagging images, the Oly doesn’t have this feature
  7. The Nikon is heavier and a tiny bit larger than the Olympus
  8. Olympus has a closer macro of 1cm vs 2cm of the P510
  9. The P510 can shoot 3D Photos
  10. SP-810UZ offers a one stop higher ISO of 6400 vs 3200 of the Nikon


As you can see, the Nikon P510 is certainly a more capable camera. I personally think that it certainly worth paying the extra bucks to enjoy those great features such as: GPS, faster continuous shooting, higher resolution LCD, stereo sound in videos, 3D photos, viewfinder, etc. The Nikon is just a much better equipped camera overall.



Which Ultrazoom Camera Should You Buy?

If I had to pick one of these cameras, I would probably go with the Nikon. Olympus makes great ultra zooms. However, for me it seems that there is always something missing, something that put Olympus cameras behind the competition. The SP820UZ is a great ultra zoom camera. If you don’t have the budget for the P510, the 820UZ is a great alternative.  It’s just hard to refuse such a wide arsenal of useful features.  The Nikon P510 is in my opinion, the best travel camera to date.

If you are planning to go on a trip/vacation/holiday and search for a camera that will help you shoot amazing photos and videos, and one that won’t limit you – the Nikon Coolpix P510 is the camera to get.  No doubt that Olympus improved the camera features over the 810UZ, and it’s a better camera than the 810UZ that’s or sure.

When you make a decision, make sure that you find the P510 features useful to you. If not, it won’t worth paying extra for it.  Don’t get me wrong here, both are excellent ultrazooms, it just that the P510 boasts a better value overall.  Go over the specs and read the difference list. Make sure that you understand what features you would like to have with your next camera. If the Nikon P510 seems like the best option, by all means, get it, it’s an amazing camera. The Olympus comes second, but I really like the wider angle and Super macro mode.

I hope that after reading this Olympus SP-820UZ vs Nikon P510 comparison article, you will be able to make a smarter buying decision. Good luck!

Click here to buy the Olympus SP-820UZ iHS from B&H Photo (Black)
Click here to buy the Olympus SP-820UZ iHS from B&H Photo (Silver)

Click here to buy the Nikon Coolpix P510 from B&H Photo (Black)
Click here to buy the Nikon Coolpix P510 from B&H PHoto (Red)



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