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Olympus Announces Stylus 790 SW

Along with a new army of colored camera coats, the Stylus camera can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water at 14 degrees Farenheit and survive a fall of up to 5 feet, according to an Olympus press release today. This waterproof, shockproof, freeze-proof

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August 23, 2007 – Olympus today announced the 7.1-megapixel Stylus 790 SW, an addition to its waterproof, shockproof camera line. The Stylus camera can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water at 14 degrees Fahrenheit and survive a 5-foot fall, according to an Olympus press release. The new model features a TruePic III image processor and comes in five colors. It will retail for $299.99 when it is available in September.


The Stylus 790 SW is "a durable, worry-free camera," said Olympus Product Manager Sally Smith Clemens in an interview with

Targeted toward vacationers and travelers, the SW-series was first introduced a year and a half ago. The Stylus 790 SW, the third in the series, marks a price cut from the previous two models. At just under $300, the 790 SW is less expensive than last year’s $400 720 SW and the $380 770 SW, released earlier this year.

Despite the higher model number "790 SW," it reverts back to some of the features of the earlier 720 SW. For the new reduced price, the 790 SW downgrades to a 10-foot underwater submergence level, down from the 770 SW's 33-foot maximum. The new camera also ditches the crushproof rating, whereas the 770 SW can withstand 220 pounds.

The 790 SW retains some of the same features from the earlier models. It has a 7.1-megapixel count and 3x optical zoom lens. It also has the 2.5-inch, 230,000 pixel resolution HyperCrystal LCD screen, a borrowed feature from the 770 SW. The LCD has an anti-glare coating and 176-degree angle of view. It carries over the shockproof rating of up to 5 feet and includes specialized components that allow the camera to function at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, like the 770 SW.

The 790 SW adds a few updates, including the TruePic III image processor, the same technology used in Olympus’ EVOLT E-510 and E-410 digital SLRs. With the 790 SW, the processing technology is brought down to the consumer level, according to Clemens. The TruePic III promises to reduce grain at high ISO settings and increase processing speed. It also equips the camera with face detection to automatically expose and focus on faces.

The 790 SW comes with Shadow Adjustment Technology to compensate for underexposure in high contrast situations, such as backlit scenes. Like its predecessors, the camera features Olympus' Bright Capture technology that boosts sensitivity to 1600 ISO for improved low light shooting. To reduce blur, the 790 SW possesses Digital Image Stabilization (DIS) that increases both ISO sensitivity and shutter speed.

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Other features include in-camera editing tools for red-eye fix, resizing, and adding borders to images. The camera possesses a Perfect Shot Preview that displays a multi-frame window on the LCD so users can select exposure compensation, white balance, and metering before capture with the live view. The 790 SW has 27 Scene modes.

Among the noticeable exterior differences are the Stylus 790 SW's new color options. In addition to the standard silver or black, it is offered in orange, blue, and lime. For additional waterproofing, users can purchase the PT-041 underwater housing for a submergence level of up to 130 feet. The Olympus Stylus 790 SW is compatible with xD memory cards and accepts lithium-ion batteries.

"This is the year where technology, style, and price merge together," Clemens said. "You’re not forsaking technology for that lower price.'

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