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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus Stylus 1050 SW


   

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Review

Review Date: Nov 24, 2008

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW

HANDLING & FEEL

The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW sports a new redesign and acquires a sliding lens barrier that also doubles as a Power ON/OFF switch. Add "Tap Control" technology that allows you to bring up and set Flash and Shadow Adjustment options just by tapping the sides of the camera and you've got one unique good-looking ultra compact. Of course, the 1050 SW is already unique by virtue of it being one of the toughest compact digital cameras built: shockproof -- able to sustain a fall from a height of 1.5 meters (5 feet) onto a solid floor; waterproof -- able to be submerged to depths of approximately 3 metres (10 feet); and freezeproof -- able to keep operating in freezing temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you have previously lost cameras to bumps and falls, the Olympus 1050 SW brings a measure of peace of mind that here is a camera that you can use pretty much anywhere without worrying about damaging it.

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 1050 SW is attractive in its all-metal clad brushed silver body with chrome accents. It is available in four different colors: Blue, Silver, Black and Champagne. There is no hand/finger grip, so the use of the wrist strap is highly recommended. The lens never extends outside the body.

Startup is 3 sec. Shot to shot time averages at about 6 sec., with most of that time waiting for an image to write to memory card before the next picture can be taken. There is a slight shutter lag, so pre-focusing is recommended.

STYLE
- Colors: Overall Blue, Silver, Black or Champagne with chrome accents.
- Looks: elegant, fashionable
   
FEEL
- Comfortable enough to hold and operate, though can be slippery
- Controls & FUNC. menu are intuitive to use
- Buttons are on the small side and there is no real place on the back to rest the thumb
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Ultra Compact: fits in a jeans pocket or small fashion purse
- Dimensions: 93 x 62 x 19.3 mm /
3.7 x 2.4 x 0.76 in.
- Weight: 152 g / 5.4 oz. without battery and media card
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery Li-42B 3.7V 740mAh
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup and LCD turning on in about 3 sec.
- Shot to shot time averages 6 sec.
- Slight shutter lag, prefocusing recommended
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery Li-42B, which takes a long 5 hrs to recharge fully. Olympus rates the battery to be about 200 shots per charge, so a spare battery is highly recommended.

The flash has a max. range of 5.3m/17.4 ft. at wide-angle. You can set the flash to Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, On (Fill-in) or Off.

Controls

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Top View

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Top View

The top of the camera has the Power button and Shutter button. Both buttons are on the small side. The Shutter button clicks positively, but the Power button is recessed and needs a conscious push down to activate it.

A Power button, I hear you ask? Don't we already have the sliding Lens Barrier? This was my first reaction, too. Turns out, they can cancel each other out, so it can get a tad confusing. For example, you can slide the lens barrier down and turn on the camera. Press the Power button and the camera turns off -- with the lens barrier still in the down (open) position. Or, with the lens barrier up (closed), you press the Power button and turn on the camera -- and a nasty error message displays with a loud beep, telling you that "The Lens Barrier Is Closed." If you want to review your pictures without sliding the lens barrier, you must press the Power button to turn the camera on first, then press [>] to go into Playback.

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 a Mode Dial on the back with the following settings: 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 or sensor-shift image stabilization.

There are 27 shooting modes in all: AUTO, P, Digital Image Stabilization, 23 scene modes to cover almost every possible situation, and Movie. There is, of course, a scene mode for Beach & Snow and one for Underwater Snapshot.

There is also the obligatory Smile Shot scene mode that detects a smile on your subject’s face and automatically fires off three consecutive shots to capture that perfect smile.

A "Pre-Capture Movie" scene mode 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. Optical zoom is available but not sound recording. 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 conveniently 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.

The three Panorama modes (you need to use an Olympus-branded xD-Picture Card), Combine In Camera 1, Combine In Camera 2 and Combine In PC, now work slightly differently than in previous models.

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 allow you to capture three images and stitch them together to create one panoramic picture right in the camera.

Combine In Camera 2 provides guide lines and displays the previous image (but not as semi-transparent) to allow you to align the next image properly.

Panorama - Combine in Camera 1Panorama - Combine in Camera 1

Panorama - Combine in Camera 1

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 (choose your first image carefully because it determines the exposure that will be used for the next 2 shots) and then pan across the scene until the diamond pointer matches the square target mark of the previous picture; the next picture is then automatically captured. Pan once more and match the diamond with the mark and the 3rd picture is automatically captured. All three images are then stitched together in-camera –- 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 at either 640x480 or 320x240 pixels at 30fps or 15fps. Maximum movie file size is 2GB. The table below gives an approx. of the number of movie minutes you can record. However, the length of a clip varies, depending on the type of xD-Picture Card you are using. With a TypeM or Standard xD-Picture Card, each clip is only 10 sec. in length.

Video Storage Capacity
(h m s)
Internal
1GB
VGA
640x480
30fps
23s
9m 21s
15fps
46s
18m 37s
QVGA
320x240
30fps
55s
22m 02s
15fps
1m49s
43m 37s

 

xD-Picture Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images)
Quality
Pixels
Compression
Internal
1GB
10M
3648x2736
Fine
8
205
Norm
16
404
5M
2560x1920
Fine
17
409
Norm
35
841
3M
2048x1536
Fine
26
627
Norm
54
1305
2M
1600x1200
Fine
44
1065
Norm
86
2063
1M
1280x960
Fine
68
1639
Norm
133
3197
VGA
640x480
Fine
242
5814
Norm
444
9999 [10661]
16:9
1920x1080
Fine
41
983
Norm
80
1938

As the above chart shows, at 10M Fine, only 8 images can be saved into the Internal Memory. We recomend that you purchase at least a 1GB xD-Picture Card.

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Back View

Olympus Stylus 1050 SW Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Zoom Button)
- Zoom: It takes about 1.5 sec. to zoom from wide-angle to telephoto (I counted 7 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, Smile Shot, Beach & Snow, Pre-Capture Movie, Underwater Snapshot, Snow), 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
   
FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY TAP CONTROL
- Tap Control: Tap twice on top of the camera to set Tap Control ON/OFF. When there is a choice of options displayed, tap the right or left side of the camera to select a choice. Tap twice on top of the camera to confirm OK.
- Flash: Tap right side of camera to bring up the Flash options. Tap the right or left side of the camera to select a choice. Tap twice on top of the camera to confirm OK.
- Shadow Adjustment: Tap left side of camera to bring up the Shadow Adjustment options. Tap the right or left side of the camera to select a choice. Tap twice on top of the camera to confirm OK.
- Review/Playback (in Shooting Mode): Tap the LCD screen to go into Review. Tap the right or left side of the camera to browse through the saved images. Tap LCD screen again to exit Review mode.
   
MACRO
-

Press the LEFT ARROW key to select between MACRO, SUPER MACRO and SUPER MACRO LED. The last option uses the LED Illuminator to throw some fill-in light onto your subject.

-

MACRO allows you to focus as close as 20cm (7.9 in.) and SUPER MACRO at 7cm (2.8 in.).

CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
-

Select Drive from the FUNC menu.

-

Normal speed: 0.38fps, up to 25 frames at 10M

High speed: 5.4fps, up to 24 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 fill-in light, remove shadows or to help achieve focus.

-

Press and hold the LED Illuminator button for about 2-3 sec. when the camera is ON to turn on the LED illuminator. The LED illuminator turns off in 30 sec. if there is no activity.

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 230,000 pixels resolution. The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth display. The LCD gains up 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

- Metering
- 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)

METERING

- ESP
- Spot

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
- Tap Control

- You can also turn Tap Control ON by tapping twice on the top of the camera, tap once on the right side of the camera to select ON, then tap twice on top of the camera to confirm OK.

LANGUAGE 1 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 2 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 3 of 4

 

LANGUAGE 4 of 4

 

POWER ON SETUP

- Screen
- Volume

MENU COLOR

- Normal [Yellow on Grey]
- Color 1 [Pink on Grey]
- Color 2 [Green on Blue]
- Color 3 [Pink on Green]

SOUND SETTINGS

- Beep
- Shutter Sound
- Camera Warning
- Volume

LCD BRIGHTNESS

 

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

- Smile Shot
- Beach & Snow
- Pre-Capture Movie
- Underwater Snapshot
- Snow

 

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

COMBINE IN CAMERA 1

- Pan right or left

COMBINE IN CAMERA 1

- Take a shot, then pan to match markers
- When markers coincide, camera automatically takes next shot
- After 3 shots, camera automatically stitches them together in-camera

 

COMBINE IN CAMERA 2

- Match with previous shot (not semi-transparent)
- After 3 shots, camera automatically stitch them together in-camera

COMBINE IN PC

- Just guide lines (no previous shot displayed)
- You can take up to 10 shots then stitch them in Master 2 software

Note: All three Panorama modes require the use of an Olympus brand xD-Picture Card

 

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 SIZE

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

FUNC - COMPRESSION

- Fine
- Normal

- The interesting design element here is that each setting on the FUNC menu is exactly where it displays on the screen in shooting mode.

 

MOVIE MENU

- WB
- Digital Zoom
- Metering
- Digital Image Stabilization (for Movie; DIS for stills is set on the Mode Dial)

 

PLAYBACK MENU

PLAYBACK MENU OPTIONS

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

PLAYBACK EDIT MENU

PLAYBACK - EDIT OPTIONS

- Change size
- Crop
- Color Edit
- Calendar

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX MENU

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX OPTIONS

- All
- Lighting Fix
- Redeye Fix

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX OPTIONS

- Image is too dark and could do with some "Lighting Fix"

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX OPTIONS

- Applying the Lighting Fix takes a couple of seconds processing

PLAYBACK - PERFECT FIX OPTIONS

- Here is the fixed image
- Note this is all automated and you do not get to select a fix level

PLAYBACK - SLIDE SHOW MENU

 

PLAYBACK - SLIDE SHOW

- ALl
- Still Picture
- Movie
- Calendar

PLAYBACK - SLIDE SHOW CALENDAR

 

PLAYBACK - SLIDE SHOW BGM

- Off
- 1
- 2

PLAYBACK - ERASE MENU

 

PLAYBACK - ERASE

- Select Image
- All Erase

PLAYBACK - SILENT MODE
PLAYBACK - NO INFO

PLAYBACK - FILE NAME

PLAYBACK - EXPOSURE INFO

PLAYBACK - HISTOGRAM

- Note: Live Histogram is also available in shooting mode

 

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

SHOOTING GUIDE - EXAMPLE

 

 

SHOOTING DISPLAY 1 of 3

- Programmed AE Shooting Mode, No Flash, Macro, Shadow Adjustment, Tap Control ON
- WB Cloudy, ISO 80, Continuous Drive, 10M Fine, Exposure Compensation +0.7EV, Self-timer, Space left for 205 images

- Note: Grid Lines displayed

SHOOTING DISPLAY 2 of 3

- Live Histogram

SHOOTING DISPLAY 3 of 3

- No info

 

 

TAP CONTROL HELP

- Displays everytime you turn on the camera

TAP CONTROL SETTING

 

TAP CONTROL (IN SETUP)

- Off
- On
- Calibrate

 

TAP CONTROL CALIBRATE (IN SETUP)

 

 

 

ALARM CLOCK 1 of 4

- Off
- One Time
- Daily

ALARM CLOCK 2 of 4

- Time
- Snooze
- Sound Type
- Volume

ALARM CLOCK 3 of 4

- Setting the alarm time

 

ALARM CLOCK DISPLAY

- 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.

 

BUTTON GUIDE

 

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

- Perfect Shot Preview displays 4 screens at a time

HELP SCREEN

- Press and hold the DISP button to display a help screen

The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is stylish, ultra compact and tough, and you can take it into all kinds of places you might not want to bring another digicam.

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