Olympus Stylus 1030SW First Impressions Review

Olympus has introduced another tough digital camera with its Stylus 1030SW. It can handle a drop from 6.6 feet, a dunk in water 33 feet deep, temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and crushing weight of up to 220 pounds. The 10.1-megapixel 1030SW

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Design / Layout

 **Model Design / Appearance**The Olympus Stylus 1030SW looks like the tough kid on the block when compared to dainty and diminutive digital cameras that are vying to be the thinnest. The 1030SW is still thin, but is very solid. It is built from stainless steel and aluminum and is fitted throughout with rubber gaskets and O-rings to keep water and dust from creeping in. On the outside, this Stylus has visible bolts, perhaps to promote its toughness. Indeed, at first glance the Olympus Stylus 1030SW looks different. It still looks like a camera. But a very tough one at that. It comes in silver, black, and glittery green colors. The different colors mainly manifest themselves as the front plate. Overall, the 1030SW is a tough-looking but skinny camera. **Size / Portability**This tough little camera is heftier than you’d think just from looking at it. It measures 3.7 x 2.4 x 0.84 inches (93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3mm) and has flat surfaces that make it perfect for pocketing and carrying along to just about anywhere. It weighs 6.3 ounces (170 grams) without the battery and memory card; most cameras this size weigh less than five ounces. The camera comes with a wrist strap that attaches to an eyelet on its right side. For those who want to seriously venture underwater, Olympus sells a red wrist strap that promises to keep the camera from floating away. **Handling Ability**Convenience is the priority on this slim digital camera, and handling is what was sacrificed. There are a few token handling features, but they don’t really improve handling to the point where you’d want to hold this longer than about five minutes. There is a divot near the mode dial on the back of the camera where the thumb can rest, but it is small and far out on the edge. There is also a vertical strip of chrome on the front of the camera surrounded by black rubber-like material; this is meant to be a finger grip, but it doesn’t protrude very much and chrome isn’t exactly a great gripping surface. To top off the uncomfortable handling, the Olympus Stylus 1030SW’s components are poorly placed. The lens will likely be blocked by left fingers while the right fingers will probably block the flash. The Olympus Stylus 1030SW is designed for an occasional out-of-the-pocket shot with its nonexistent handling comforts and skinny and convenient camera body. **Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size There are several controls on the 1030SW’s camera body, but most of the labels are incredibly difficult to read. The multi-selector is embossed with icons that are hard to see without tilting the camera to catch the light at the right angle. The buttons around the multi-selector are labeled with silver text printed on the silver background. The buttons are generally small and too close to each other, with the exception of the large shutter release button on top that is properly spaced from the power button. To its credit, the 1030SW has a nice mode dial that has big grooves on the side that make it easy to rotate. Menu**The Olympus Stylus 1030SW has a menu system that looks mostly unchanged from its predecessors. There is a Function menu that is useful in avoiding the menus when possible. When not possible, there is Olympus’ typical menu system that opens with an initial menu page before heading to the "Camera menu" and other options like "Setup menu" and "Silent mode." The Function menu appears when the OK/func button is pushed. The menu items show up on the left edge of the LCD and the options appear on the bottom right, so there is still a nice live view that can be seen. 

White Balance Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Drive Single, Continuous, High Speed Continuous
ESP/Spot ESP, Spot
Image Size 10MP, 5MP, 3MP, 2MP, 1MP, VGA, 16:9
Compression Fine, Normal
 The standard Camera menu comes with numbered tabs on the side to skip to different pages, but the tabs don’t have icons so it’s hard to remember what options are on page two, for instance. 
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Drive Single, Continuous, High Speed Continuous
Fine Zoom Off, On
Digital Zoom Off, On
ESP/Spot ESP, Spot
AF Mode Face Detect, iESP, Spot
Voice Memo Off, On
Image Size 10MP, 5MP, 3MP, 2MP, 1MP, VGA, 16:9
Compression Fine, Normal
 The Setup menu is available from the initial menu screen that appears. It also has the ambiguously-numbered tabs in its menus. 
Memory Format Yes, No
Backup (didn’t work)
Language English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Power On Setup Screen (Off, 1, 2, My Favorite), Volume (Off, Low, High)
Menu Color Normal, 1, 2, 3, My Favorite
Sound Settings Beep (Sound Type 1-2, Volume off, low, high), Shutter Sound (Sound Type 1-3, Volume off, low high), Volume (off, low high), Playback Volume (off, low, high)
Rec View Off, On
File Name Reset, Auto
Pixel Mapping Start
LCD Brightness -2, -1, 0, +1, +2
Time YYYYMMDD, set date and time
Dual Time Off, On
Alarm Clock Off, One Time, Daily (set time)
Video Out NTSC, PAL
Power Save Off, On
LED Illuminator Off, On
Manometer Off, On, Calibrate
m/ft m, ft
 The menu system is a bit confusing but the Function menu makes it easier to avoid. The font is readable, albeit a bit archaic looking.  **Ease of Use **The Olympus Stylus 1030SW is an easy to use point-and-shoot digital camera. It has a user-friendly Guide mode directly on the mode dial that walks you through certain problems such as brightening subjects and even zooming. There are lots of live views throughout this mode, as well as a few in the Function and Recording menus. All you really need to know how to do is turn on the camera and push the shutter button: the camera does the rest. 

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Sections

  1. Physical Tour
  2. Components
  3. Design / Layout
  4. Modes
  5. Control Options
  6. Image Parameters
  7. Connectivity / Extras
  8. Overall Impressions
  9. Conclusion

What's Your Take?

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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