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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 with Tap Control technology


Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - Here's what you can expect in the box:

  • Stylus 1050 SW
  • No memory card
  • microSD attachment MASD-1
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery LI-42B (3.7V 740mAh)
  • Battery Charger LI-40C
  • Wrist Strap
  • USB and A/V Cables
  • Documentation: Instruction Manual (English, French and Spanish versions)
  • Software CD: Olympus Master 2

The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is for those looking for a fashionable ultra compact digital camera which is as much at home at a wedding banquet as it is on the ski slopes or underwater in the pool. It is compact enough to fit in a shirt or jeans pocket and won't get damaged if you drop it or if it gets sprayed by ocean salt water on the deck of a sailing boat.

In practical terms, the Stylus 1050 SW is a great companion for the beach, the swimming pool, environments that are dusty or wet, boating and surfing -- but probably not for those who do extreme sports. For that, there's the even tougher Stylus 1030 SW.

Soaking the camera in fresh tap water for 10 min.

Here is a 10 min soak in fresh tap water, requisite after each salt or chlorinated water adventure. Shake off the water, wipe the lens dry and it is immediately good to go! Don't forget to dry under the sliding lens barrier (you can slide it open and press the Power button to turn the camera OFF).

One thing you have to be careful when using the camera in the water is that water droplets will inevitably get splashed onto the lens and just one water droplet on the lens will result in a foggy patch on your pictures. The 1050 SW features a water-repellant lens coating to prevent exactly this from happening. It's still a good idea to wipe or shake the water droplets off the lens before taking pictures again.

As with the Stylus 790 SW, the wrist strap that comes with the 1050 SW unfortunately does not have an eyelet to fasten the strap tightly around your wrist. If you are going to take this camera underwater, on the boat or skiing, it is just too easy to accidentally let go of the camera -- and watch it sink to the bottom of the ocean floor, crash to the floor, or get lost in the snow. I strongly recommend that you purchase a strap with an eyelet.

Floating StrapThere is an optional Floating Strap that keeps your camera afloat in case you should drop it in the water. It is packed with foam and the gentle positive buoyancy of the strap allows you to take steady underwater pictures without having your hand forced to the surface. A Carabineer loop lets you clip the camera to your lifejacket or scuba gear.

I find that the AF works well most of the time, only hesitating when the subject is not contrasty enough. There is no AF-assist light but there is a LED illuminator that you can use to light your subject (and provide the light needed to lock focus). The LED light is bright enough to damage your subject's eyes, so do not shine into the eyes.

Improvements wishlist:

  • Better performance. Overall performance is below average and there is a slight shutter lag. Prefocusing is recommended.
  • Make the Tap Control help screen optional. If you have Tap Control turned ON, a help screen displays everytime you turn the camera on, and you then need to dismiss it before you can take a picture. The first few times this is helpful, but after a while, it gets tiring real fast. I have not found where this help screen can be turned off (unless, of course, you turn Tap Control OFF).
  • Expand settings controlled by Tap Control. Tap Control controls only Flash, Shadow Adjustment and Playback. Might be more useful if it allowed control of the FUNC settings.

I am a bit ambivalent about the lens barrier. It looks cool but it has a tendency of sliding open everytime I put the camera into my pocket, wasting precious battery power. I am also not too sure how tough a sliding lens barrier is.

Exposure Compensation Previews

Perfect Shot Preview displays small thumbnails with the range of effects displayed. For example, in the screen shot above, the different effect of applying exposure compensation is displayed in small preview thumbnails on one screen. At times, the previews are too small to be able to tell the difference at a glance. But it's a good idea nevertheless and helpful in some cases.

Combine in Camera 1 Pano

Panorama obtained from Combine in Camera 1

As mentioned earlier, the one feature I really liked is the Combine in Camera 1 Panorama feature, which makes taking panorama shots super easy.

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.

The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is a point-and-shoot ultra compact for the casual user who loves hiking, boating and traveling -- and would benefit from a camera that is tough enough not to break if you drop it to the ground. You can look forward to capturing fun pictures other cameras just can't.

There is a tougher camera still (the Stylus 1030 SW) for those who do extreme sports. There is no sliding lens barrier, and the specs are even more impressive, so the 1030 SW is as tough as it gets.

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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