GCN Lab Review: Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

Surf and tough: There is not much that the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW can't handle.

Above ground or underwater, it will take good photos every time.

Emily Barnes, GCN

WHEN YOU LOOK at the Stylus 1030 SW, the first thing that comes to mind is not rugged. It is metallic silver and green (with other colors available) and looks more like a designer accessory than a
camera ready to conquer the mil-spec tests. It's only 0.84 inches thick and weighs 6 ounces. The 3.7-inch by 2.4-inch frame can easily slip into your pocket.

It was only a short while ago that digital cameras started to enter the rugged market. There are too many delicate parts and panels of glass in cameras to make them rugged, or so the
traditional logic went. Olympus is blowing that stereotype out of the water.


Even reviewed as a typical digital camera, the Stylus 1030 SW is impressive. It's a 10.1-megapixel model that could rival film cameras in terms of quality. And for those of you who like to aim
their shots with the LCD screen, the Stylus 1030 SW comes with a 2.7-inch LCD that uses a new hypercrystal technology to make images on the screen look like your photos ultimately will. It's so
good that it's fun to just look at objects on the screen.


According to Olympus, the camera is made of a shock-absorbing material that will let it fall from 6.6 feet and survive. When we ran it through the mil-spec tests, we were still worried that the
beautiful LCD screen would shatter. But 50 drops later, at heights as high as 48 inches, the Stylus 1030 SW showed no signs of wear.


Next, the camera went into the freezer. Again, the Stylus 1030 SW seems engineered beyond mil-spec. The sealed design is rated to
withstand 14-degree Fahrenheit temperatures. It sat in our 20-degree environment for more than two days and immediately
snapped pictures afterward.


Finally, we gave the Stylus 1030 SW the ultimate test, full immersion, though we did not need to worry. The camera can
withstand water pressure down to 33 feet, so our fish bowl was not much of a challenge. We snapped pictures underwater and left the
camera there for 24 hours. Afterward, it was fine.


And if you happen to be up on a snowy mountain or down on a tropical scuba dive, the camera has a built in manometer to measure
the air or water pressure and adjust the camera settings accordingly so you always take clear shots.


With a retail price of just $399, you won't find a better deal on a tough little camera that takes amazing photos in any
conditions you can think of, on land or at ' and under' sea.

Olympus America, 978-468-8944, www.olympusamerica.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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