Olympus Stylus 'Tough' Cameras?

Has anyone any experience with any of the cameras in this model line? I am looking at the base model vs. a GoPro HD. I like the olympus because of it’s higher Mp and I’d plan on using this for still images as well as video.

Thoughts? Reviews?

Not a huge fan of the pictures.
I’ve got one of them - I think the pictures are OK and usually over exposed/washed out looking. I know people are getting good pics out of them (like gnarlydog), I’m just missing the secret.

I like the looks of the Canon waterproof camera.

I’ve had mine for two years now with no problems. It doesn’t seem to have the best flash settings in the world…but I’m sure it is operator error. It takes outside pictures just fine and I demand the weatherproof features for the watersports…

stylus 6000
I bought the olympus stylus 6000 last spring and it has been a pretty solid camera so far. Plenty of pics taken with no problems. Only issues Ive had is operator error.

6000 also
Its a good outside waterproof camera.

Right now you can pick up a refurbished one for $105… that’s what I did and like it for a kayak camera.

It’s also slower to focus, uses 2gb XD cards. I didn’t try the micro cards.

The extra battery on Amazon was $5, XD card $12.

I paddle in salt water so try not to spend much on electronics, and have gotten very good results.

Have Had 850 SW Over 2 Years Now

– Last Updated: Jan-04-11 10:59 AM EST –

I think it takes pretty good pics. My Canon takes better wildlife shots, but it's in the Pelican case so the Olympus takes most of my pictures. I've also noticed it has a much better Macro than my fancier Canon does. It's pretty tough, it's been dropped and banged around a bunch. So, for paddling snapshots, flowers, landscapes it does a fine job. Wildlife fair unless you use a lot of zoom. Here's a few samples. WW


nice shots
I like the one of the mill with the canoe in the foreground, nice composition.

thanks all
Thanks for the info, sounds like a reliable camera. Another reason I like it over the GoPro is the zoom ability. I believe the new GoPro only has two fixed length options, ultrawide and wide.

Anyone have experience with the GoPro who can contrast the two?

Easy to back down the overexposure
Make the default for exposure compensation -0.3 or -0.6 instead of the standard 0.0 default.

Point-and-shoots tend to be set to overexpose slightly anyway, and in the case of the waterproof Olympus cameras, this may be ramped up more for (assumed) underwater shooting.

You need to judge the setting and lighting to decide whether to leave it on minus-compensation most of the time. Autometering likes to assume certain things about your main subject and the background–your job is to outguess the programmed assumptions and make up for them. That’s why I prefer non-programmed user-settable exposures, in any camera.

Also, flare may be causing the washed-out look. These lenses don’t have hoods over them. You can try shielding the lens with a hand or other shade device when sun is at a bad angle.

In particular, the Olympus Tough digicams place the lens in the far corner instead of the middle of the body. I suspect this makes the flare problem even worse; for sure it makes it difficult to shield the lens with your hand and not get the hand in the image.

I sold my Olympus 1030SW for this reason and general poor image quality (it’s the last model before they began calling them Toughs).

One other caveat: make sure you computer monitor is correctly adjusted for both color and brightness. It’s possible that the screen is too bright.

Optical zoom or digital zoom
Use the optical zoom range to make comparisons, not the general zoom spec that makers like to boast. They include digital zoom range, which is not a real zoom function, and of poorer quality than optical zoom.

GoPro vs. others
The GoPro has a very wide angle lens. Almost fish-eye looking if you are not careful with your horizon position.

This is good if you want to shoot yourself paddling with the camera on the kayak or shoot most of your kayak with the camera on your helmet.

Good for panoramic views.

Not good for anything that needs detail and is far away. The video quality is very good and exposure is generally good. Colors may be off sometimes, erring on the warm side of things. The microphone will muffle anything but loud noises when in the waterproof case - can’t hear people talk with it if they are more than a few feet away from you.

To me the GoPro is an action video camera where it may take a beating and the wide angle is a must. For everything else, almost any other waterproof will be better.

I’m not a big fan of the Oly due to the lack of image stabilization and the relarively noisy images. But they have a good lens and interval shooting that some others lack. The 6000 at just over $100 is an appealing option.

Go to imaging-resource.com and use their comparison tool to check images head to head for almost any camera out there (use the “old camera” option to see cameras that are not the latest).

I used a Sony TX-5 as my only camera for my recent vacation and am generally pleased with its performance. It has very good exposure for both movies and stills (e.g. bright but with very little overexposure if any), very decent HD video (not full HD though), and some nifty shooting modes that are surprisingly useful: sweep panorama, HDR, handheld twilight (multi-shot combined into one image for very low noise), action shots at true 10 shots per second full resolution… Only thing missing is interval shooting and full manual control. And the “intelligent auto” mode gets confused as to what you are shooting and choses the wrong settings too often, so avoid that (use the regular automatic mode or choose yourself). Flash is also pretty good.

Sony uses a backlit sensor that gives relatively low noise while still preserving details.

The Canon D10 is nice (except smudged corners and edges) and the limited VGA video. The Panasonic TS-2 is probably the most versatile and well specified but the high-megapixel count sensor lets it down (too much noise and loss of detail due to noise reduction).

Eitherway, I’m not 100% happy with image quality of any of these cams - too small sensor sizes mean lost clarity no matter the pixel count. Most are perfectly adequate for casual snaps though. A cam like the Canon S95 in a waterproof case will have noticeably better image quality (if you are the pixel-peeping type I am -:wink: while still being portable enough.

wow - thanks kocho!
Great info and a nice web resource to compare images. You’ve given me a lot to consider!

Happy with mine
It takes some time to properly learn how to use all of the features and modes for the best picture quality. Generally I use “let the camera figure it out” mode and am happy.

Most all of the shots here were taken with one.


850 SW also
The photos aren’t bad, and are improving as I experiment more with this camera. It is tough and waterproof. Tethered to my PFD, it often bounces in the bilge as I paddle.

Thanks for the tips / pics for the OP
"Olympus 1030SW" is the camera I have, I think. (It’s at home, I’m not.)

For the OP, here are some sample pics of 2 of my outtings:



Stylus 1030 SW
I have been canoeing/kayaking for awhile, and have had a few stylus cameras. Ended up handing them down to kids as I set my sights on a newer model. They’re essentially bullet proof and last a long time.

Photo results are very good, and I’m overall happy with the entire camera line.

So…I’ll just tell you what I don’t like:

No viewfinder. Nobody seems to put these on these types of cameras, and it’s a deficiency.

The display. (Like all others) is hard to see in direct sunlight (I don’t care WHAT you hear, in bright sunlight, you have to guess about your framing with any no-viewfinder camera. With a 10MP camera, you have lots of room for error because you can crop a small area and still get good results. So I usually shoot wide and then fix in photoshop.

So if you can live with these limitations (I can, cause I love the waterproof, indestructible, take it anywhere features, you will be a stylus devotee like me.

One of MY favorites, too!

Love mine.

– Last Updated: Jan-04-11 7:32 PM EST –

It's the 1080. Stays in my pfd pocket while tripping. Got a lil' flexible wire tripod. Perfect. Takes some getting used to in terms of exposure settings and features, but that's the way it is. I take two extra batteries for a 2 week trip.

Stylus 1030 SW
I had the Stylus 1030 SW and did not like it. The biggest complaint I had was that it did not have image stabilization. I got rid of that camera and bought the Canon D10. Great camera. Have taken it kayaking and also in March 2010 took it on a three week vacation to the Caribbean. We were snorkeling a lot, and used the camera for underwater pictures and video. Also used it for land pictures. Was very pleased with the results. The D10 has been out for a while now, so Canon will probably be bringing out something new fairly soon, if you wanted to wait. But I would highly recommend the D10.

little secret
dsetzer, the secret for any photography is timing and composition. Yeah, I know, we all heard it before…

In my images I get close to the subject and fill the frame. I never ever use the zoom.

I find that super compact cameras (pancake lenses) are really not meant to be zoomed.

I set my exposure to -0.3.

But the real secret is not shooting in the middle of the day, at least not here in Australia, when the light is blue and harsh. Overcast days work best for me. And last but not least: postproduction.

Since current cameras can not capture what the eye can see, most of my images are worked. Again, the Australian lighting conditions often produce images too contrasty where info of highlights and shadows are a bit lost. I try to bring those back.

My opinion on the current crop of Olympus? the old ones were better. Corrosion is a problem and water intrusion is common (I have killed about 4!).

The Panasonic TS-2 is a way better camera. Unfortunately salt corrosion is still present. If you paddle in fresh water should be OK; in salt water is important to rinse the camera a.s.a.p. after use.

For vibrant images with Olympus 1030 (and others): http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnarlydog/sets/72157623239240856/