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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Olympus Stylus 770 SW


   


Olympus Stylus 770 SW Review

Review Date: May 21, 2007

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Olympus Stylus 770 SW

HANDLING & FEEL

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 SW.

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.

STYLE
- Colours: overall silver with chrome accents. Front plate available in Silver, Bronze or Royal Blue.
- Looks: tough, elegant
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate, though can be slippery
- Controls & FUNC. menu are intuitive to use
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- 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
- Takes 1 rechargeable Li-ion battery Li-42B 3.7V 740mAh
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Startup and LCD turning on in about 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time less than 3 sec.
- Slight shutter lag
   

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 recommended.

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.

Controls

Olympus Stylus 770 SW Top View

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)
18MB
128MB
1GB
SHQ
640x480
15fps
16s
2m 19s
18m 37s
HQ
320x240
15fps
38s
5m 26s
43m 37s
SQ
160x120
15fps
1m 35s
13m 26s
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.

xD-Picture Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images)
Quality Pixels 18MB 128MB 1GB
SHQ 3072x2304 4 36 294
HQ 3072x2304 8 73 586
SQ1 2560x1920 12 105 841
SQ1 2304x1728 15 128 1031
SQ1 2048x1536 19 163 1305
SQ2 1600x1200 23 194 1560
SQ2 1280x960 36 307 2460
SQ2 1024x768 55 469 3762
SQ2 640x480 90 726 5815
16:9 1920x1080 28 242 1938

As the above chart shows, at SHQ, only 4 images can be saved into the 18MB of Internal Memory. We recomend that you purchase at least a 1GB xD-Picture Card.

Olympus Stylus 770 SW Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (clockwise starting from the Zoom Button)
- Zoom: It takes about 2 sec. to zoom from wide-angle to telephoto (I counted 9 steps).
- SCN (Mode) Button: 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, Beach&Snow, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2, Underwater Macro, Underwater Snapshot, Movie)
- Speaker: remarkably, waterproof
- Playback (allows playback w/o turning on camera)
- 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 Guide
- MENU/LED Illuminator
   
MACRO
-

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.).

CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
-

Select Drive from the FUNC menu.

-

Normal speed: 1.1 fps, up to 3 frames in SHQ mode, up to card capacity in HQ mode

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.
   
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)
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- 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.)
   
MENU/LED Illuminator
-

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 focus.

-

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.

MAIN MENU

MENU 1 of 2

- WB
- ISO
- Drive
- Metering
- Digital Zoom

MENU 2 of 2

- AF Mode
- Voice memo
- Panorama

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Sunny day
- Cloudy day
- Tungsten light

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Fluorescent lamp 1 (daylight / home)
- 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 (2048x1536)

METERING

- ESP (Multi-Pattern)
- Spot

AF MODE

- iESP (camera selects area to focus on)
- Spot (Center)

PANORAMA

- Horizontal Left to Right or Right to Left
- Vertical Top to Bottom or Bottom to Top

Only with Olympus xD-Picture Card

 

SETUP MENU

SETUP 1 of 5

- Format
- Backup
- Language
- SCN and Playback buttons can turn on camera
- Save Settings

SETUP 2 of 5

- Power on Setup
- Menu Theme
- Beep
- Warning Sound
- Shutter Sound

SETUP 3 of 5

- Volume
- Rec View
- File Name
- Pixel Mapping
- LCD Monitor Brightness

SETUP 4 of 5

- Clock
- Dual Time
- Alarm Clock
- Video Out
- Power Save

SETUP 5 of 5

- LED Illuminator (use LED to provide additional lighting and also aid in focusing in low-light)
- Manometer (atmospheric pressure and altitude/depth)
- m/ft (display altitude/depth in m or ft)

LANGUAGE

 

MENU THEME 1 of 2

- Normal
- Blue
- Black
- Pink

MENU THEME 2 of 2

- My Favorite

MANOMETER 1 of 2

 

MANOMETER 2 of 2

- -10m to 5,000 m

 

SCENE MODE 1 of 5

- Portrait
- Landscape
- Landscape + Portrait
- Night Scene
- Night+Portrait

SCENE MODE 2 of 5

- Sport
- Indoor
- Candle
- Self-Portrait
- Available Light

SCENE MODE 3 of 5

- Sunset
- Fireworks
- Cuisine
- Behind Glass
- Documents

SCENE MODE 4 of 5

- Auction
- Shoot & Select 1
- Shoot & Select 2
- Beach & Snow
- Underwater Snapshot

SCENE MODE 5 of 5

- Underwater Wide 1
- Underwater Wide 2
- Underwater Macro
- Movie

SCENE MODE HELP

- After approx. 4 sec. a help screen appears for the selected Scene Mode

DIGITAL IMAGE STABILIZATION

- Favours a high ISO so a high enough shutter speed can be chosen to reduce the likelihood of blur caused by subject movement and camera shake

 

FUNC - Shooting Mode

- P (Programmed AE), Auto

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

 

IMAGE QUALITY

IMAGE QUALITY 1 of 2

- SHQ
- HQ
- SQ1
- SQ2

IMAGE QUALITY 2 of 2

- 16:9

SILENT MODE

- Turns off operational sound (warning beeps, shutter sounds, etc.)

 

PROGRAM

- 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

BUTTON GUIDE

- 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 buttons markings

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!

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