thoughts on Olympus D550 vs D560 digital cameras

I am looking for a digital camera in the $300 range, and have always liked Olympus cameras in the past (film ones, that is), but have looked at other brands as well. I am drawn back to the 550 time and time again. It has also consistently gotten very good reviews, both from “pros” and user comment-type reviews.

Olympus has just introduced a new camera, the D560, at about the same (expected) price point, with very similar specs. In the 560’s favor are a slightly smaller size, the use of 2 rather than 4 AA batteries, a slightly better optical zoom (3x vs 2.8x), a higher resolution capability, a built in rather than pop up flash, a higher capacity memory card (xD rather than SmartMedia), and lighter weight.

Would seem to be a no brainer, but with no hard review data out there yet, I am a bit hesitant (and want the camera for a trip in mid-April). The 550 has some points in its favor–the availability of a TIFF recording mode, 5 preset “scene modes” for some customised exposure control (as well as the regular auto setting), some manual ISO settings as well as the auto, and the use of more established SmartMedia cards rather than much newer xD cards.

My question basically boils down to this: how much does any of that really matter? I am planning on using this camera much as I would my 35mm cameras–trips, family photos, stuff at school, etc. Probably a mix of keeping the photos electronic and printing them out (probably no bigger than 5x7, with mostly 4x6 prints). Am I missing anything important in comparing the specs of both cameras?

D560 specs:
D550 specs:

Thanks for any input and ideas you have,


Just some thoughts:

They did change the lens, so I would be wary of the new one until someone does image tests.

The resolution difference is too close to matter.

There is a significant weight difference. 166g vs. 240g without batteries, and two AA add about 45g more. Even with the minor size change, the 550 will feel much heavier and denser. OTOH some people like thier cameras to have some heft, so they don’t feel like a cheap hunk of plastic and the weight will help hold it steady.

The 560 seems to have a bigger LCD. More pixels, more centimeters, but the same size in inches??? Weird.

I would say wait two weeks, and hope someone comes out with a full review of the 560.

pre-production 560 review

I found this site invaluable when I was trying to decide whether to buy my Olympus D510. Maybe it’ll help you.