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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


The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is a digital camera targeted to point-and-shoot photographers and replaces the Stylus 770 SW. It has a 10.1 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.35-in. CCD image sensor, and a new wide-angle 28-102mm (35 mm equivalent) 3.6x internal optical zoom lens, with an aperture range of F3.5(W)–F5.1(T).

We find the overall image quality of the Olympus 1030 SW to be good, with low noise at ISO 80.

3.6x Optical Zoom Range
Wide-angle 28mm Tele 102mm
Wide-angle 5.0mm
[28mm, 35mm equivalent]
Telephoto 18.2mm
[102mm, 35mm equivalent]

The Olympus 1030 SW provides 3.6x optical zoom. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 28mm and then 102mm (35mm equivalent). I like the new wide-angle coverage, much more useful in an underwater setting.

Besides Auto mode and easy-to-use Scene Modes, the Olympus 1030 SW also has Programmed AE (P) mode. A new cool In-camera Panorama mode allows you to capture and stitch a panorama picture from 3 pictures by just clicking and panning.

The camera provides exposure compensation (but no Auto Bracketing) and preset White Balance (but no Custom/Manual WB). Shadow Adjustment will automatically brighten shadow areas. This feature is however available only in Shooting Mode; it would be more useful if it could be applied to a picture when reviewing in Playback. Shutter speed ranges from 1/2-1/1,000 sec. in all modes (4 sec. in Night scene mode).

Super Macro
Super Macro
Super Macro
6.5mm [36.6mm], P, Pattern
1/400 sec., F4.1, 0EV, ISO 80

The Olympus 1030 SW lens allows you to focus as close as 2cm (0.8 in.) at wide-angle in Super Macro mode. AF lock is fast and precise in good light; without an AF Illuminator, AF locks well on subjects with good contrast but subjects with low contrast might be difficult to get a focus lock in low-light. A LED Illuminator can function as a light source that throws extra illumination on a close-up subject to facilitate AF lock. There is iESP AF that will focus on subjects that is not in the center of the frame, but you cannot manually select the AF Frame you want the camera to focus at. New is Face Detect that will detect and focus on a face.

There are two metering modes: ESP (Multi-Pattern) and Spot.

White Balance Indoors
AWB WB = Tungsten
AWB WB = Tungsten

As the above pictures show, the auto white balance is not accurate indoors under artificial light [using two ordinary tungsten bulbs]. There is no Custom/Manual WB, so I select Tungsten. Outdoors, under natural light, the AWB works very well.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 80
ISO 80
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 100 ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 400 ISO 800
ISO 1600  
ISO 1600  

We were not able to take our regular ISO test shots at low light level because the pictures at the low ISOs come out underexposed. So, the above pictures are taken in bright natural light.

You can set the ISO on the Olympus 1030 SW from 80 to 1600 (ISO 2500 in Candle and Available Light scene modes at 3M pixels only). The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate that images at ISO 80 and 100 are quite clean with low noise. Noise starts to be slightly visible at ISO 200 and is usable up to ISO 400, though with some detail lost. At ISO 800, there is very aggressive noise reduction; images would be usable in small-sized 4x6 in. prints and for Web display. Above ISO 800, the presence of noise takes the form of colored splotches.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA (Purple Fringing)

CA is not a problem in everyday shots. In the high contrast shot above, the area delimited by the red square at top left, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom left, shows minimal purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
Long Shutter Speed
5.0mm [28.0mm], Night Scene Mode, ESP, 3.2 sec., F3.5, ISO Auto (100)
WB Tungsten, Self-Timer, Tripod Used, 100% Crop

The Olympus 1030 SW allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 4 sec. but only in Night scene mode. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at long shutter speeds.

To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take a low-light indoors shot using the Night scene mode. It is quite difficult to obtain correct focus lock at this low level of light because there is no AF Illuminator. I could have turned on the LED Illuminator to throw extra light on the scene but then it would not be a low-light shot now, would it? Eventually I obtain a 3.2 sec. exposure at F3.5. The noise reduction is effective giving a smooth black background.

Despite the availability of high ISOs, it is important for potential buyers to understand clearly that the Stylus 1030 SW is not a low-light camera. But if all you are looking for is a tough point-and-shoot digital camera that is not afraid of falls, bumps, dust and water -- and that is able to take decent shots in the bright outdoors -- then for its intended purpose of sunny beach, boating, and rough outdoors, the Olympus 1030 SW is a perfect choice and will allow you to take pictures in situations no other digicams dare to.

The pictures in the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the original 3648×2736 pixels version.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name.

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!


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