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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


Thursday, April 17, 2008 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Stylus 1030 SW (Silver)
  • No memory card
  • microSD attachment MASD-1
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery LI-50B (3.7V 925mAh)
  • Battery Charger LI-50C
  • Wrist Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Documentation: Quick Start Guide Instruction Manual (English, French and Spanish versions)
  • Software CD: Olympus Master 2

The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW has no competition if you are looking for a point-and-shoot digital camera tough enough for the rough and tumble of sports activities. While there are other waterproof digital cameras, none are also shock proof, crushproof and freezeproof -- which basically means that you can take pictures with the Olympus 1030 SW anywhere fun takes you. It's tough, rugged, excellently constructed and is at home on the boat, down the ski slopes, on the beach and in the swimming pool.

All of this in a compact body that easily slips into a jeans pocket. Plus it is fashionably elegant, handles well, and takes good quality images.

Soaking the camera in fresh tap water for 10 min.

Here is a 10 min soak underwater. Shake off the water, wipe the lens dry and it is immediately good to go!

One thing you have to be careful when using the camera in the water is that water droplets can get splashed onto the lens and just one water droplet on the lens will result in a foggy patch on your pictures. Wipe or shake the water droplets off the lens before taking pictures.

Bamm-Bamm takes a soak

Focusing the camera underwater is a bit trickier than out of the water. Take lots of photos to increase your chances of obtaining sharp ones. Olympus provides 4 underwater scene modes:

Note that you cannot select focusing mode and focusing is continuous at all times.

The wrist strap that comes with the 1030 SW unfortunately does not have an eyelet to fasten the strap tightly around your wrist. It is too easy to accidentally let go of the camera in the water -- and watch it sink to the bottom of the ocean floor.

Silicon clear skinThough the camera's internals circuits will not be damaged by bumps and falls, the outer metal surface itself is not scratch-resistant. So if you want to keep your Stylus 1030 SW's protective armor shining for a long time to come, we recommend the optional durable silicon protective skin (comes in gray or clear) which protects your Stylus 1030 SW against dust, bumps and scratches while giving you complete control of all the camera functions.

There is no AF-assist light, so in low-light conditions, locking AF can be challenging: I found that the AF works well most of the time, only hesitating when the subject is not contrasty enough. However, there is now a LED Illuminator that you can use to light your subject (and provide the light needed to lock focus). This LED Illuminator can be turned on even if the camera is off, so you can use it as a small flashlight, I guess.

Olympus Master 2

The Olympus Master 2 software is very user-friendly. It displays all info on one screen, including very complete EXIF info. You can do image editing, resize, crop, insert text, brightness & contrast, color balance, tone curve, gamma, auto tone correction, hue & saturation, monochrome & sepia, sharpness & blur, distortion correction and red-eye reduction.

It also processes RAW files (though the Stylus 1030 SW does not record images in the RAW file format): exposure compensation, white balance, picture mode, contrast, sharpness, saturation, B&W filter, picture tone, gradation, noise filter and color space.

Optional accessories include a Neoprene Armband Case, Floating Strap, Premium Compact (Leather or Suede) Case, Soft Leather Case, Neoprene Soft Case, Silicone Clear Skin, and 40m Underwater Housing (PT-041).

Or, check out the Olympus Underwater Accessory Kit for the Olympus 1030 SW.

If you need a waterproof and "built tough as a tank" all-purpose digital camera, you might as well stop reading right here, and put in your order.

The Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is well designed and well-built, and the "SW" designation means that you do not have to worry about damaging it either from a fall or from the elements. More importantly, it gives good results and should find a home in the pocket of anyone who requires a camera "tough enough to take anywhere." This is definitely the camera for taking snapshots in the bright outdoors while hiking, boating and traveling.

Need some more convincing? View photos sent in by the owners of the Olympus Stylus SW series cameras:

View Olympus User Photo Gallery

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