Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

Boil it, mash it, stick it in a stew: The Stylus just won’t break.

 

Durable cameras aren’t just for jittery, extreme-drink-guzzling kids. Sure, they’re the sort who would take a camera surfing or drop it down a skate ramp. But these solid, shockproof, waterproof, and otherwise element-proof shooters are great for anyone who doesn’t want to worry about having to be gentle with a gadget.

 

The durable Olympus Stylus 1030 SW shoots at temperatures down to 14° Fahrenheit, can withstand 220 pounds of force, and even dives to 33 feet for underwater photos. We stood on it, dropped it, shot underwater, and otherwise abused this armored camera. It stood up, always ready for the next photo.

 

We wouldn’t hesitate to take the 10.1-megapixel 1030 SW into any hazardous situation. It captured about eight photos in ten seconds in our tests and powered up in less than 1.5 seconds, making it quick enough for general use. Better than that, we measured almost no delay between hitting the shutter button and capturing an image.

 

But those images sadly looked worse than those of fragile, “normal” cameras. In our test photos, the 1030 SW recorded noise in nearly every picture. Nearly all shadows—even in bright daylight—showed a light dusting of noise. Image details looked generally undefined; blades of grass lean together to become clumps, and wood grains look splotchy. Color quality was sufficient, but mostly just looked bland.

 

Indoor pictures showed even more noise. Without a flash, colors skewed to yellow, but flash-lit images gave crisp hues. Unfortunately, flash photos had even more contrast between the noise-free center of the image and almost-pointillist edges.

 

The bottom line. The Stylus 1030 SW leads to creative, always-ready photos in rainstorms, ski trips, or just gazing up from a beer mug. A fragile camera can’t get many of those images, but the 1030 SW’s photo quality might make you wish it could.

 

COMPANY: Olympus

CONTACT: www.olympusamerica.com

PRICE: $400

Water-, shock-, cold-proof housing leads to creative photos. Looks like a regular camera versus one in a bulky case. Snaps images almost precisely with shutter button.

Mediocre image quality has more noise than detail. Hard to see the screen in bright light. Flash doesn’t light image edges along with a center subject.

 

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