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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus Stylus 1030 SW


   

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Review

Review Date: May 20, 2008

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

HANDLING & FEEL

The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is built the way all digital cameras should be built. It is tough -- in fact, tougher than its predecessor, the Stylus 770 SW -- and being able to sustain a fall from a height of 6.6 feet (2m) onto a solid floor. This in itself should be enough to set the 1030 SW apart from all other digicams that is almost certain to be damaged in such a fall. But this rugged digital camera with its stainless steel body is also able to withstand up to 220 lbs. of pressure -- i.e. it is also certified crush proof.

In practical terms, it means that the 1030 SW easily survives falls and bumps, and you can throw it into your backpack or backpocket without too much concern that a heavy book or your DSLR is crushing it or that you should accidentally sit on it. It totally removes one of the major worries we all have when we hand a digital camera over to a child with instruction to "be careful" with it. This camera is perfect for backpackers, mountain climbers, and those who do extreme sports.

Shockproofing and crush proofing are only two of the attractive attributes of the Olympus 1030 SW. It is also waterproof (other Stylus models are only certified "weatherproof") down to a depth of 33 feet (10m), which is further underwater than any of us dive to without proper equipment. For those who do go further, an optional underwater housing PT-043 allows you to go to a depth of 40 metres (130 feet).

In practical terms, the 1030 SW is perfect for the beach, the swimming pool, environments that are dusty or wet, a trip to the jungle, boating, surfing and for marine animal trainers.

Winterization capability allows the 1030 SW to continue performing at below-freezing temperatures (-10°C/14°F).

It is proabbly safe to say that there is not too many places on Earth where you could not safely take the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW.

The waterproofing and dustproofing is made possible by a case that seems bolted together tight. The only openings are the Connector Cover and Battery/xD-Picture Card Cover, which each has a rubber "gasket" to provide waterproofing protection. The covers snap shut securely and require that you push down a switch to open them, i.e. there is no chance of accidentally opening them underwater or of them opening up with a fall.

The Olympus 1030 SW is attractive in its all-metal clad brushed silver body with chrome accents. It is available in three different color front plates: Silver, Black or Green. There is a vertical thin metallic strip at the front to serve as a finger grip. As usual, the use of the wrist strap is highly recommended. The lens never extends outside the body.

Startup is fast at under 1 sec. and shot to shot time averages at about 2 sec. There is a slight shutter lag, so pre-focusing is recommended.

STYLE
- Colors: Overall silver with chrome accents. Front plate available in Silver, Black or Green.
- Looks: tough, elegant
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate, though can be slippery
- Controls & FUNC. menu are intuitive to use
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Compact: fits in a jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: 93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3 mm /
3.7 x 2.4 x 0.84 in.
- Weight: 170 g / 6.3 oz. without battery and media card
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery Li-50B 3.7V 925mAh
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup and LCD turning on in about 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time averages 2 sec.
- Slight shutter lag
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery Li-50B, which takes approx. 2 hrs to recharge fully. Olympus rates the battery to be about 260 shots per charge, so a spare battery is highly recommended.

The flash has a max. range of 4.1m/13.5 ft. at wide-angle. You can set the flash to Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, On (Fill-in) or Off.

Controls

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Top View

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Top View

The top of the camera has the Power button and Shutter button. Both buttons are on the small side but click positively so they are easy to push down. I had no trouble operating either, though if you have particularly large fingers, you may want to give it a try first.

The lens is at top right (viewed from the front) and so you need to be careful your left finger(s) do not get in the way.

There is one change on the 1030 SW that you need to be aware of. The microphone has been moved from the center front of the camera to the top left (viewed from the front) of the camera, closer to your shutter finger. What this means is that when you are filming a movie, any movement you make with your finger(s) is recorded clearly. For example, if you half-press the shutter release button then releases it (you wanted to stop filming then thought better of it), this ever so slight movement is recorded as a distinct thud. Any comment, grunt, snort and giggle you make is also clearly recorded.

Olympus has added a Mode Dial on the back that is more convenient than the SCN button on the 770 SW. Settings available on the Mode Dial are AUTO, P, Digital Image Stabilization, SCN, GUIDE, Movie, Favorites and Playback.

Digital Image Stabilization will select a high ISO and favours a fast shutter speed so as to reduce blur caused by camera shake and/or subject movement. An improvement suggestion would be to include optical image stabilization.

There are 28 shooting modes in all: AUTO, P, Digital Image Stabilization, 24 scene modes to cover almost every possible situation, and Movie. There is, of course, a scene mode for Beach & Snow and 4 scene modes for Underwater photography.

New is a "Pre-Capture Movie" scene mode that will capture 7 sec. of movie: up to 2 sec. of a movie before the shutter release button is pressed and 5 sec. after the shutter release button is pressed. Sound is not recorded and so optical zoom is made available. This pre-capture movie scene mode allows you to capture a potentially crucial start of an action scene.

A "Silent Mode" shooting mode is selectable from the Main Menu and this will turn all beeps and other warning sounds off immediately without altering your preferred settings. This is useful in a museum and other settings where absolutely quiet is preferred or required. When you deselect Silent Mode, all your previous sound settings are immediately restored.

There are now three Panorama modes to choose from (you need to use an Olympus-branded xD-Picture Card): Combine In Camera 1, Combine In Camera 2 and Combine In PC.

Combine In PC is the traditional Panorama mode that existed in all previous Olympus digital cameras and simply provides guide lines that are not really very helpful. You can however take up to 10 images and then combine them in Olympus Master Software 2.

Combine In Camera 1 and Combine In Camera 2 are brand new. They allow you to capture three images and stitch them together to create one panoramic picture right in the camera.

Combine In Camera 2 displays the previous image as semi-transparent to allow you to align the next image properly. You control where the seams are.

Combine In Camera 1 is a way cool In-camera Panorama shooting mode that dethrones all previous Panorama modes in every other digital camera!

With Combine In Camera 1, all you have to do is simply press the shutter button to capture the first image and slowly pan across the scene; the second and third images will be captured automatically and stitched together with the first image –- resulting in one seamless panorama-size picture. Taking panorama pictures has never been so much easy and fun!

Almost all the shooting functions are conveniently accessible through the OK/FUNC. button placed in the middle of the 4-Way Arrows.

You can record movies (until the memory card is full) at either 640x480 or 320x240 pixels at 30fps or 15fps. Note that in Movie Mode, you can select between Non-Water Movie mode and Underwater Movie mode. The camera is defaulted to Non-Water Movie mode.

You record sound but cannot use optical zoom in Non-Water Movie mode; you cannot record sound but can use optical zoom in Underwater Movie mode.

Video Storage Capacity
(h m s)
14.7MB
1GB
VGA
640x480
30fps
8s
9m 21s
15fps
16s
18m 37s
QVGA
320x240
30fps
19s
22m 03s
15fps
38s
43m 37s

No memory card comes with the camera but there is approx. 14.7MB of Internal Memory. 14.7MB can record only 8 sec. of SHQ movie.

xD-Picture Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images)
Quality
Pixels
Compression
14.7MB
1GB
10M
3648x2736
Fine
3
205
Norm
5
404
5M
2560x1920
Fine
6
410
Norm
12
841
3M
2048x1536
Fine
9
627
Norm
19
1305
2M
1600x1200
Fine
15
1066
Norm
30
2063
1M
1280x960
Fine
24
1640
Norm
47
3198
VGA
640x480
Fine
89
5815
Norm
163
9999 [10661]
16:9
1920x1080
Fine
14
984
Norm
28
1938

As the above chart shows, at 10M Fine, only 3 images can be saved into the 14.7MB of Internal Memory. We recomend that you purchase at least a 1GB xD-Picture Card.

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Back View

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Zoom Button)
- Zoom: It takes about 2 sec. to zoom from wide-angle to telephoto (I counted 9 steps).
- Mode Dial: AUTO, P, Digital Image Stabilization, SCN (Portrait, Landscape, Landscape+Portrait, Night Scene, Night+Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available Light, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot&Select 1, Shoot&Select 2, Beach&Snow, Pre-Capture Movie, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2, Underwater Macro), Guide, Movie, Favorite, Playback
- MENU
- Review (in Shooting Mode) / Print (with direct printing to a connected PictBridge-enabled printer)
- Arrow Pad: UP=Exposure Compensation, RIGHT=Flash, DOWN=Selftimer, LEFT=Macro, Super Macro, Super Macro LED
- OK/FUNC in the middle of Arrow Pad
- Shadow Adjustment (Shooting Mode) / Erase One (Playback Mode)
- Display / Guide / LED / Time
   
MACRO
-

Press the LEFT ARROW key to select between MACRO, SUPER MACRO and SUPER MACRO LED. The last option uses the LED Illuminator to light up your subject -- a brillant idea!

-

MACRO allows you to focus as close as 10cm (3.9 in.) and SUPER MACRO at 2cm (0.8 in.).

CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
-

Select Drive from the FUNC menu.

-

Normal speed: 0.7fps, up to 7 frames at 10M

High speed: 5.2fps, up to 11 frames at 3M

- The drive mode is kept and restored when the camera is turned off and on again, so remember to reset it back to Single Frame.
   
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION
- Press the UP ARROW key to select Exposure compensation
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (1/3 EV increments)
- Perfect Shot Preview displays 4 smaller screens at a time with the effect of each compensation value displayed in a different screen.
- Note: the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when the camera is turned off (so remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.)
   
LED Illuminator
-

The LED Illuminator will throw a light source on your close-up subject. You can use it to add light, remove shadows or to help achieve focus.

-

Press and hold the LED Illuminator button for about 2-3 sec. when the camera is OFF to display the Date and Time for 3 sec.

-

Press and hold the MENU/LED Illuminator button (whether the camera is ON or OFF) for about 2-3 sec. to turn on the LED illuminator. The LED illuminator turns off in 30 sec. if there is no activity; turns off after 90 sec. if there is activity; or press and hold the MENU/LED Illuminator button again to turn it off immediately

Time
-

Press the LED Illuminator button when the camera is OFF to display the current Date and Time (including Alarm time, if set) for about 3 sec.

There is a very nice Battery/Card door and the battery has a latch to keep it from accidentally falling. You won't be able to change battery or card when the camera is on a tripod.

LCD & Menus

There is no optical viewfinder but a large 2.7 in. LCD monitor with a high 230,000 pixels resolution. The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display in both good light and low light. It is one of the few LCD monitors that gains up very well in low-light.

While the FUNC. button gives access to the shooting settings, the MENU button gives access to the Menu and Setup settings.

MAIN MENU

MENU 1 of 2

- WB
- ISO
- Drive
- Fine Zoom
- Digital Zoom

MENU 2 of 2

- AF Mode
- Voice memo

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Sunny day
- Cloudy day
- Tungsten light
- Fluorescent lamp 1 (daylight / home)

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Fluorescent lamp 2 (neutral white - desk lamps)
- Fluorescent lamp 3 (white - offices)

ISO 1 of 2

- Auto
- 80
- 100
- 200

ISO 2 of 2

- 400
- 800
- 1600

DRIVE

- Single
- Continuous
- Hi Speed (3M)

AF MODE

- Face Detect
- iESP (camera selects area to focus on)
- Spot (Center)

 

SETUP MENU

SETUP 1 of 4

- Format
- Backup
- Language
- Power on Setup
- Menu Color

SETUP 2 of 4

- Sound Settings
- Rec View
- File Name
- Pixel Mapping
- LCD Monitor Brightness

SETUP 3 of 4

- Clock
- Dual Time
- Alarm Clock
- Video Out
- Power Save

SETUP 4 of 4

- LED Illuminator
- Manometer (atmospheric pressure and altitude/depth)
- m/ft (display altitude/depth in m or ft)

LANGUAGE 1 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 2 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 3 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 4 of 4

 

MENU COLOR

- Normal
- Color 1
- Color 2
- Color 3
- My Favorite

SOUND SETTINGS

- Beep
- Shutter Sound
- Camera Warning
- Volume

LCD BRIGHTNESS

MANOMETER

- From -10m to 5,000 m

 

 

SCENE MODE

SCENE MODE 1 of 4

- Portrait
- Landscape
- Landscape+Portrait
- Night Scene
- Night+Portrait
- Sport

SCENE MODE 2 of 4


- Indoor
- Candle
- Self-Portrait
- Available Light
- Sunset
- Fireworks

SCENE MODE 3 of 4

- Cuisine
- Behind Glass
- Documents
- Auction
- Shoot & Select 1
- Shoot & Select 2

SCENE MODE 4 of 4

- Beach & Snow
- Pre-Capture Movie
- Underwater Snapshot
- Underwater Wide 1
- Underwater Wide 2
- Underwater Macro

 

SCENE MODE HELP

- After approx. 4 sec. a help screen appears for the selected Scene Mode

 

IMAGE QUALITY

IMAGE QUALITY OPTIONS

- Image Size
- Compression

IMAGE SIZE 1 of 2

- 10M
- 5M
- 3M
- 2M

IMAGE SIZE 2 of 2

- 1M
- VGA
- 16:9

COMPRESSION

- Fine
- Normal

 

PANORAMA MENU

PANORAMA MODES

- Combine In Camera 1
- Combine In Camera 2
- Combine In PC

 

FUNC - White Balance

- AWB, Sunny day, Cloudy day, Tungsten light, Fluorescent lamp 1 (daylight / home), Fluorescent lamp 2 (neutral white - desk lamps), Fluorescent lamp 3 (white - offices)

FUNC - ISO

- Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600

FUNC - DRIVE

- Single, Continuous, High Speed

FUNC - METERING

- ESP (Multi-Pattern), Spot

FUNC - IMAGE QUALITY

- 10M, 5M, 3M, 2M, 1M, VGA, 16:9

FUNC - COMPRESSION

- Fine
- Normal

 

MOVIE MENU

 

MOVIE OPTIONS

- Non-Water Movie
- Underwater Movie

MOVIE - IMAGE QUALITY

 

NON-WATER MOVIE INFO

 

UNDERWATER MOVIE INFO

 

PLAYBACK MENU

PLAYBACK MENU OPTIONS

- Protect
- Rotate
- Voice Memo (4 sec.)

PLAYBACK EDIT MENU

PLAYBACK - EDIT 1 of 2

- Change size
- Crop
- Color Edit
- Frame
- Label

PLAYBACK - EDIT 2 of 2

- Calendar

- Note that all edit functions save the edited image as a new file, leaving the original image intact

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX MENU

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX OPTIONS

- All
- Shadow Adjustment
- Redeye Fix

PLAYBACK - ERASE

- Select Image
- All Erase

PLAYBACK - NO INFO

PLAYBACK - FILE NAME

PLAYBACK - EXPOSURE INFO

PLAYBACK - HISTOGRAM

 

SHOOTING GUIDE 1 of 3

- 1 Shoot w/ effects preview
- 2 Brightening subject
- 3 Shooting into backlight
- 4 Set particular lighting
- 5 Blurring background

SHOOTING GUIDE 2 of 3

- 6 Adjusting area in focus
- 7 Shooting subject in motion
- 8 Targeting with assistance
- 9 Close up photo
- 10 Super close up photo

SHOOTING GUIDE 3 of 3

- 11 Shooting at night
- 12 Reducing blur
- 13 Reducing red-eye
- 14 Adjusting image quality

 

PROGRAM

- Programmed AE Shooting Mode, No Flash, Macro, Shadow Adjustment, WB Tungsten, ISO 400, Continuous Drive, 10M Fine, Exposure Compensation +0.3EV, Alarm CLock, Space left for 204 images

LIVE HISTOGRAM

 

The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is easily the camera of choice for anyone who needs a camera tough enough to weather all kinds of environmental challenges that would simply damage another digital camera. Yet it succeeds in also being easy-to-use and operate. The 1030 SW is ultra compact, pocketable and elegant.

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