The Olympus Stylus 7000 is simply a beautiful ultra compact digital camera targeted
to point-and-shoot photographers. Even in this compact form, it sports a respectful 7x optical zoom (37-260mm equiv.). We would have loved to see this lens start with a wide-angle focal length. Performance is very good, and the overall impression is a digital camera that is very responsive.
As is the case with most compact and ultra compact digital cameras these days, you won't complain about image quality when shooting in good lighting. And, in spite of the availability of high ISOs, their weakness is still high noise when using high ISOs in low light situations. In this respect, the Stylus 7000 is no different.
A couple of models back, the Stylus series used to be weather-proof, but I've noticed that this is not the case anymore.
One of the very first thing I check for in a new camera is the AF. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to get a focus lock on your subject. Well, the Stylus 7000 has no problem in that department: AF is fast and precise in both good light and low light.
The LCD monitor is 3.0 inch. and 230,000 dots resolution. The image is clear and bright, so whatever their HyperCrystal™ II technology is, it seems to work very well. I am usually not a fan of visual effects, but the ones on the Stylus 7000 are quite nice without being over the top. I was pleasantly surprised that you can display a Live Histogram.
Unlike some screen animations that can be very annoying, the ones on the Stylus 7000 are quite appropriate and nice.
One interesting "gimmicky" feature that actually works is Beauty Mode which smoothens out a picture. I took the picture to the left using Beauty Mode and it generated the second picture to the right. Notice the slight smoother skin. In Playback you can further apply Beauty Mode and specify 3 different settings: Soft, Average or Hard.
Beauty Mode (Playback)
At the Hard setting, the "beauty mark" above the lips has almost disappeared -- imagine what you can do to skin imperfections, pimples, wrinkles, etc. ;o)
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: exposure compensation, white balance, picture mode, contrast, sharpness, saturation, B&W filter, picture tone, gradation, noise filter and color space. Notice the YouTube icon that allows you to easily upload a video (limited to 10 min and 100MB) to your YouTube account.
The Olympus Stylus 7000 is well
designed, fast in operations and very enjoyable to use. Image quality gives results
that are good enough in good light for most snapshooters, but
more advanced photographers would prefer at least
one quality level up. But for a point-and-shoot easy to use digital camera, this ultra compact with its powerful 7x optical zoom lens will be attractive to many.