Following after the success of the Stylus 720
SW, the Olympus Stylus 770 SW continues
to be without doubt one of the best built compact
digital camera available: not only does it look
tough, it is tough, being able to sustain
a fall from a height of 5 feet. This rugged yet elegant
digital camera with excellent construction is
also light and compact enough to be easily carried
in a jeans pocket or small fashion purse. New
is the stainless steel body and reinforced LCD
that are able to withstand up to 220 lbs. of pressure
-- i.e. it is also certified crush proof. The
Olympus 770 SW uses the xD-Picure Card.
Shockproofing and crush proofing are only two
of the attractive attributes of the Olympus 770
SW. It is also waterproof (other Stylus models
are only certified "weatherproof")
down to a depth of 33 feet (the Stylus 720 SW
is certified to a depth of 10 feet) -- and it
has a built in Manometer to prove it.
Another new capability is winterization of the
770 SW, allowing it to continue performing at
below-freezing temperatures (-10°C/14°F).
There is probably not too many places on Earth
you could not safely take the Olympus Stylus 770
The waterproofing 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 waterproof protection. The covers snap
shut securely and requires 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 770 SW is attractive in its all-metal
clad brushed silver body with chrome accents.
It is available in three different colour front
plates: Silver, Bronze and Royal Blue. There is
a vertical hard rubber projection strip at the
front to serve as a grip. As usual, the use of
the wrist strap is highly recommended. The lens
never extends outside the body.
Startup is fast at approx. 1 sec. and shot to
shot times average at about 3 sec. There is a
slight shutter lag, so pre-focusing is recommended.
Colours: overall silver with chrome
accents. Front plate available in Silver,
Bronze or Royal Blue.
Looks: tough, elegant
Comfortable to hold and operate, though
can be slippery
Controls & FUNC. menu are intuitive
Compact: fits in a jeans pocket or
small fashion purse
Dimensions: 91.8 x 59.2 x 20.6 mm
3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.
Weight: 155 g / 5.5 oz. without battery
and media card
Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion
battery Li-42B, which takes approx. 5 hrs [according
to the manual, though it seems to take me far
less than that] to recharge fully. Olympus does
not rate the battery, and I got less than 200
shots per charge, so a spare battery is highly
The flash has a max. range of 3.8m/12.5 ft. at
wide-angle, which is adequate only for close range.
You can set the flash to Auto, Red-Eye Reduction,
On (Fill-in) or Off.
The top of the camera has the Power button and
Shutter button. Both buttons are on the small
side but Olympus designers have cleverly made
a "well" around each so they are easy
to push down. I had no trouble operating either,
though if you have particularly large fingers,
you may want to give it a try first.
The shutter button is on the soft side for half
press, and on occasion I found myself taking a picture when
all I wanted to do was to return to Record mode
from Playback mode.
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 no Mode Dial but a SCN button on the back that plays
that role. You press this button repeatedly to
switch from Auto/P (set in FUNC.) to Digital Image
Stabilization to Scene Modes.
Note that you will either be in Auto or P mode,
depending on what you selected to be the default in FUNC menu.
Digital Image Stabilization will select a high ISO and favours a fast
shutter speed so as to reduce or eliminate blur
caused by camera shake and/or subject movement.
There are 27 shooting modes in all: AUTO, P,
Digital Image Stabilization, 23 scene modes to
cover almost every possible situation, and Movie
(technically the "24th" scene mode,
since it is accessed under the Scene Mode menu).
There are, of course, scene modes for Beach&Snow
and Underwater photography. In case you're wondering,
"Museum" does not figure anymore in
the 770 SW scene modes; instead, a new "Silent
Mode" is now available in P/AUTO mode, which
turns all beeps and other warning sounds off.
If you shoot lots of movies, I would recommend
setting Movie as the default scene mode so you
can access it quickly when you press the SCN button.
You just have to select it and press OK to set
it as the default scene mode.
Almost all the shooting functions are accessible
through the OK/FUNC. button placed in the middle
of the 4-Way Arrows.
You can record movies with sound (until the memory
card is full) at either 640x480, 320x240 or 160x120
pixels at 15fps. You can preset optical zoom before
any movie recording, but cannot use optical zoom
(though digital zoom is available) during recording.
Video Storage Capacity
(h m s)
1 h 47m 37s
No card comes with the camera but there is approx.
18MB of Internal Memory. 18MB can record only
16 sec. of SHQ movie.
Arrow Pad: UP=Exposure Compensation,
RIGHT=Flash, DOWN=Selftimer/Erase, LEFT=Macro,
Super Macro, Super Macro LED
OK/FUNC in the middle of Arrow Pad
Print (with direct printing to any
PictBridge-enabled printer) / Button
Press the LEFT ARROW key to select
between MACRO and SUPER MACRO. A new
option is SUPER MACRO LED which uses
the AF-assist light to light up your
subject -- a brillant idea!
MACRO allows you to focus as close
as 20cm (7.9 in.) and SUPER MACRO
at 7cm (2.8 in.).
Select Drive from the FUNC menu.
Normal speed: 1.1 fps, up to 3 frames
in SHQ mode, up to card capacity in
High speed: 3.5 fps, up to 12 frames
in SQ1 mode (2048x1536)
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.
Press the UP ARROW key to select Exposure
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)
The screen brightness will increase
or decrease to reflect the value you
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.)
New is the LED Illuminator that will
throw a light source on your close-up
subject. You can use it to add light,
remove shadows or to help achieve
Press the MENU/LED Illuminator button
when the camera is OFF to display
the Date and Time for 3 sec.
Press and hold the MENU/LED Illuminator
button (whether the camera is ON or
OFF) for about 3 sec. to turn on the
LED illuminator. The LED illuminator
turns off in 30 sec. if there is no
activity; turns off after 90 sec.
if there is activity; or press and
hold the MENU/LED Illuminator button
again to turn it off immediately
At the bottom of the camera, the tripod mount
thread is metal, which is so much better than
the easily damaged plastic threads used in most
P&S digital cameras. 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 2.5
in. LCD monitor with a high 230,000 pixels resolution.
The LCD has a fast enough refresh rate for a smooth
display in both good light and low light. It can
sometimes be difficult to see in bright sunlight,
but you can adjust the brightness in MENU/SETUP.
It is one of the few LCD monitors that gains up
very well in low-light (though not as well as
the one on the SP-550 UZ).
There is no AF-assist Illuminator so auto focusing
in low-light can sometimes be challenging. The novel LED Illuminator will
throw a light source onto your close-up subject.
While the FUNC. button gives access to the shooting
settings, the MENU button gives access to the
Menu and Setup settings.
- Turns off operational sound (warning
beeps, shutter sounds, etc.)
- AF Lock/Flash Standby, Programmed AE
Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Exposure Compensation
+0.7EV, Flash Off, xD-Picture Card used,
Space left for 294 images, Image Size 3072x2304,
Image Quality SHQ, Spot Metering, Continuous
Drive, ISO 80, Macro ON, WB Tungsten
- Press this button to bring up a visual
representation of the control buttons
- Useful when using the camera in low-light
when it may be difficult to read the control
The Olympus Stylus 770 SW is easy to use
and operate. It is built as tough as it gets,
yet succeeds in being elegant as well. It lives
up to its claims to be both shock proof as well
as waterproof, making it the ideal choice for
boaters, campers, hikers, and anyone else who
values a digital camera that does not go out of
commission at the first bump. The Stylus 770 SW is now also crushproof and winterized, and is hands down the perfect digital camera for travel and hiking to any part of the world. All compact digital
cameras should be built this way!