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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Connectivity / Extras

 **Connectivity***Software*All Olympus digital cameras come with Olympus Master Software on a CD-ROM. It includes basic organizational and editing software, along with a program to stitch large panoramas together. *Jacks, ports, plugs*Under a tightly sealed and locked door on the right side is a single port that has many functions. The DC-in, AV, and USB cables all fit into this jack. A rubber seal around the door keeps water from creeping into the jack. *Direct Print Options*The direct printing features on the pre-production model didn’t work, but the options are in the initial screen of the playback menu. There is also a print icon on the button to the upper right of the multi-selector indicating its ability to transfer images to PictBridge printers. *Battery*The 1030SW comes with a small battery that is tightly sealed in its compartment under the right side. It has a tight latch to lock it in and a rubber ring around the compartment door to keep water and dust out. The LI-50B lithium-ion battery has a lifetime of 260 shots per charge, which is more than the 220 shots the 790SW got from its LI-42B battery. The battery indicator on the camera flashes for about a half-hour before finally dying; this is a nice change from most cameras that die without warning. Olympus claims the new battery even charges 2.5x faster than the old battery, a welcome change for those on the move. *Memory*Like other Olympus digital cameras, the Stylus 1030SW can only accept xD-Picture cards up to 2 GB. This is skimpy compared to the 8 GB compatibility other digital cameras are offering. The camera can also accept microSD cards if you own an adapter that fits it into the larger slot. The 1030SW has 14.7 MB of internal memory, which allows you to take three shots at full-resolution. **Other features***Waterproof* – The Olympus Stylus 1030SW is among only a handful of completely waterproof digital cameras. Pentax has a few, but the 1030SW is the flagship of Olympus' four-model series. The 1030SW can swim to depths of 33 feet, like the 770SW that it replaces. The Olympus booth had an aquarium on the PMA show floor where curious folks like me could dunk the camera and take pictures of fake coral. I dunked the camera and snapped a few pictures and was pleasantly surprised that my images were in focus. There were great details like tiny water bubbles on the branches of fake coral that were visible when I magnified my images. And when I took the 1030SW out, it kept working. That’s more than can be said of most cameras. 

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 *A demonstration of the 1030SW in an aquarium*
 *Shockproof* – Previous cameras in this lineup can be dropped from five feet, but the 1030SW increases that distance to 6.6 feet with a little more shock absorption springs and gadgets. Olympus’ booth reps had a blast dropping this camera onto their hard counter, picking it up, and showing off how it still worked just fine and dandily. Indeed, as a mother of a toddler this feature looks quite valuable to me. *Crushproof* – This tough camera fits nicely in a back pocket and won’t even break if you sit down, unless you are heavier than 220 pounds. That’s the amount the camera can handle, making it a fine candidate to pack along in your messy backpack on your climbing trip. The Olympus booth rep demonstrated this feature by smashing the camera against the table; he even said one woman stood on the camera with her heels. And it still worked. *Freezeproof* – The camera still functions in temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), while most cameras will stop functioning as soon as the temp dips below freezing. Indeed, the Olympus 1030SW is one of very few compact digital cameras that will work in such extreme conditions, making it the only option for mountain climbers, skiers, and others who battle the cold. For that matter, it does pretty well in the heat too – it works up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. And because it’s waterproof, it can work in humid environments, too. This camera truly is all-weather. *Panorama Mode* – The Olympus 1030SW has a Panorama mode that allows you to take up to 10 pictures in a row to be stitched within the included software later. The catch is that this feature only works if you use an Olympus-branded xD-Picture card. The Panorama mode is located in the initial menu screen that appears when the menu button is pushed. *Manometer* – This feature is located in the Setup menu. Once set up, it records the altitude whether it is below the water or up in the mountains. *LED illuminator* – The all-purpose 1030SW adds yet another perk with its little flashlight function. The LED can be used to light the dark water world for pictures or to find the keyhole for your car at night. *Shadow Adjustment* – This feature can bring out details in overly dark or overly bright areas in the image when turned on. It can be turned on with the button to the lower right of the multi-selector. 

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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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