Olympus Stylus 1030SW review

A few months ago I purchased the Olympus Stylus 1030SW, the unbreakable and waterproof little point and shoot. Having spent the bulk of the time using my E-500 with reasonably nice f/2.8 lenses in the last few years it initially felt like rather a downgrade. The quality of the images wasn’t all that great, particularly for landscape shots. For close up people type stuff it does well, and I can commonly get away without the flash.

Recently I got a chance to try out what I saw as one of the coolest features of the camera: the waterproof bit. Having given it a brief test run one evening with a glass of water, the real test came as I prepared to jump into the water along Ningaloo Reef, on the Western Australian coast near Exmouth. Attached with rubber bands, I took it into the water and tried it out inbetween gulps of seawater. Two of the nicest shots I got are posted here. They came out beautifully, so I’m totally stoked I went to the effort and cost to get a waterproof one…

The camera spends pretty much its whole life in my pocket. Being waterproof I think it can hack a bit of dust and the odd bump. As it happens it got a solid hit one day, but saved me a bit of pain. One of my tent poles slipped out of my hand pitching the tent one evening, and recoiled straight into the camera in my pocket. Damage documented below (as is the rubber band setup for swimming)…

my bashed up olympus stylus

my bashed up olympus stylus

Any Olympus people who want me to be a poster boy for their unbreakable camera can use my story for the reasonable price of an E-3 back…

So in short: nice camera for cool stuff like swimming and treating roughly, but not an SLR. No surprises.

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