The Olympus Stylue 720 SW is a digital
camera targeted to point-and-shoot photographers.
It has 7.1 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.33 in.
CCD image sensor, and a 38-114mm (35 mm equivalent)
3x internal optical zoom lens, with an aperture
range of F3.5(W)F5.0(T).
We find the overall image quality of the Olympus
720 SW to be good to very good, with low noise
at ISO 64 and images retaining most of the details.
3x Optical Zoom
(38mm, 35mm equivalent)
(114mm, 35mm equivalent)
The Olympus 720 SW provides 3x optical zoom.
In the above pictures, we show the coverage for
38mm and then 114mm (35mm equivalent).
Besides Auto mode and easy-to-use Scene Modes,
the Olympus 720 SW also has Programmed AE (P)
mode. There is no Program Shift available in P
The camera also provides exposure compensation
(no Auto Bracketing) and preset White Balance
(no Custom/Manual WB). Shutter speed ranges from
1/2-1/1,600 sec. in all modes (4 sec. in Night
scene mode). There are no other long shutter speeds.
51.8mm, P, Pattern
1/250 sec., F4.0, ISO 64
The Olympus 720 SW lens allows you to focus as
close as 7cm (2.8 in.) at wide-angle in Super
Macro mode. AF locks precisely and fast, even
in low-light [since the AF works on detecting
contrast changes, subjects with low contrast might
be difficult to get a focus lock in low-light].
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.
There are two metering modes: ESP (Multi-Pattern)
WB = Tungsten
As the above pictures show, the auto white balance
is not quite accurate indoors under artificial
light [I have switchd back to two ordinary tungsten
bulbs]. There is no Custom/Manual WB, so I select
Tungsten, which is pretty accurate. Outdoors,
under natural light, the AWB works very well.
The pictures at ISO 64 and 100 are
underexposed because the Olympus 720 SW does not
have long shutter exposures. These shots are taken
at ordinary room lighting (2 tungsten bulbs) and
we have not used the flash or studio lights to give
you a practical idea of what ISO you would need
to use to start getting properly exposed pictures
You can set the ISO on the Olympus 720 SW from
64 to 1600 (ISO 2500 in Candle and Available Light
scene modes at 1024x768 pixels only). The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate that images at ISO 64 is quite clean
with low noise. Noise seems to be visible at all
ISO levels, and above ISO 64 and ISO 100, there
seems to be very aggressive noise reduction. ISO
200 is usable especially in regular-sized 4x6
in. prints. Above ISO 200, the presence of noise
takes the form of coloured splotches.
CA is present in everyday high contrast shots.
In the high contrast shot above, the corner delimited
by the red square at top left, and reproduced
at 100% crop at bottom right, shows some purple
38mm, Night Scene, Pattern,
4 sec., F3.5, ISO Auto (125)
Auto WB, Macro ON, Self-Timer (10 sec.), Tripod
Used, 100% Crop
The Olympus 720 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 slow shutter
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take
a low-light indoors shot using the Night scene
mode. The colour cast is all wrong here, but as
720 SW Photo Gallery shows, the Olympus 720
SW can take some very nice night shots if it's
not too dark yet.
In case you get the wrong impression from the
limitations we mention, we bring you 60 sample
images [our most ever!] in the photo gallery to
showcase how much fun and easy it is to get great
pictures with the Olympus 720 SW. It's a digital
camera you won't want to put down and you won't
want to go anywhere without it.
Overall, good to very good image quality for
a 7.1MP digital camera: not quite a low-light
camera, but for its intended purpose of sunny
beach, boating, and rough outdoors, the Olympus
720 SW can be expected to produce sharp pictures,
good image detail and colours.
The pictures in the Olympus Stylus 720 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
3072×2304 pixels version.
Note that I used the 35mm equivalent focal length
in the EXIF info.
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