Olympus Stylus waterproof digital camera

I just got an Olympus Stylus 850 SW for my birthday.

Don’t know the first thing about cameras. Was hoping to hear from the “in” crowd–damiano, uliasz, etc.–is this thing going to meet my needs on the water? Was $270 an okay price? Thing sure looks insubstantial. Buttons look close together–like they may be tough to navigate through with glacier gloves on. Any ideas of what to do for a lanyard? (Needing a little hand-holding here–guess it’s time to start learning about cameras …)

Many thanks in advance!


I believe you won’t be disappointed
Bohemia, I have never used a 850SW but I have had a 720SW for some years now. All other users that I personally know with Olympus waterproof model cameras are very satisfied with the product.

Admittedly the buttons are a little small and fiddly but it would be hard for a manufacturer to produce a camera that would be targeted to a very specific end user that wears gloves and needs large dials/buttons.

Don’t be too upset if your screen at times is hard to see in bright sunlight. I generally compose my image with barely being able to see what exactly is happening on the LCD screen but I rather look at the subject that I am shooting then the screen itself.

Take a lot of images, they don’t cost anything since it’s digital and you can simply delete the files once downloaded to a PC.

Get a large memory card, 2G will do :slight_smile:

If you are handy with computers I suggest a bit of post production work to take out occasional low contrast/distorted colors. I use Photoshop.

If the camera will be on water I strongly suggest a CFD (Camera Floatation Device). I made mine out of minicell http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnarlydog/2507422346/

Take the time to read the manual. The statement: “real man don’t read instructions” is over rated :slight_smile:

Gnarlydog aka Damiano

Don’t use a lanyard
or a CFD (camera floatation device). I found that they both get in the way when I am trying to take pictures in the boat. When I am not using it, I keep the camera is in the big pocket of my PFD with the Velcro flap down. I’ve taken some long swims and never had a problem. You just need to be careful about making sure the Velcro sticks. Without anything attached to it, I find it easier to get the camera in and out of my pocket.

I’m a point and shoot photographer and agree with gnarlydog – get a basic understanding of the camera, take lots of pictures, and delete the ones that don’t turn out.

Got One a Few Weeks Ago

– Last Updated: Jun-24-08 7:44 AM EST –

Trying to get used to the LCD instead of a view-finder, I still sometimes put it up to my eye (LOL)! I think you'll like it, easy to use and I've already dropped it a few times without any damage. IMHO, it's easier to use than my other digital cameras were, I usually have a bit of trouble figuring them out, but this one has been a piece of cake. Here's a couple pics with it. WW

Get a big memory card and xtra battery

– Last Updated: Jun-24-08 7:56 AM EST –

Run the highest resolution, learn to shoot pics "from the hip" (not using the LCD , just aim by hand), frame & crop the pics you want using photo editing software (running the highest resolution allows you to crop without losing clarity, having the extra memory & battery allows you to run the higher resolution without running out of storage or power)

My wife and daughter got together and bought me a Stylus 1030 for my bday. 10+ megapixels. Great camera!

Good camera
and good advice so far.

I carry an oldeer 720 in my PFD pocket, and love teh ability to grab shots on the run.

I do use a lanyard though, either a retractable Nikon rangefinder keeper or a sevtion of 1/8" shock cord. I just do not want to loose the camera! If you go the CFD route make sure to test-float the rig.

One caveat: It is possible to get water droplets on the lens glass that are not visible on the LCD in sunlight. A small microfibre wiper is handy.

ANother thought: I believe Olympus has improved teh grip, but the 720 was a slippery little devil. I affixed several pieces of silicone rubber grip strips designed for cell phones. Cannot remember the brand name though.


No Problems
Have the 790, have had no issues, works well in variety of settings, easy, point and shoot! and shockproof - good for my moments of stupidity!

Second the Bigger memory card and spare battery!


Olympus has a float strap
for their Stylus line. Sort of a tiny PFD for your camera. My daughter got me one for Father’s Day, I haven’t tested it yet but it looks like it’s up to the job.

All the photos in the Edisto River
post were taken with Olympus Stylus cameras.Mine is an older one(500); Kayak Ken’s is the newer version. Note the ability of Ken’s to take underwater photos.


Thanks for the advice; thanks everyone below, too. I’m running over ideas for a “CPFD” in my mind; ways to fix the camera to the boat … Think I got one.

(PS: I assume Georgia_Kayaker’s camera doesn’t wear a PFD)

no one has mentioned the price
My wife got it at Costco, so she thought she was getting a good deal. And $270 isn’t bad. Plus, when it comes to electronics, it’s always nice to buy from a store with a good return policy in case something goes wrong. It just seems like–given the lead time that she got (a couple of years)–she might have been able to find something cheaper.

When I bought my 720, from Best Buy several years ago I recall paying $329. Don’t complain. Give your wife a kiss.



Just a note to rinse off the salt water
with fresh water if you use it when you paddle in the Ocean.


The good deals are about
$230 according to google. The fancy new 1030SW is advertised for about $275 online if you look around.

The Costco price isn’t bad, but for tech stuff, it always pays to do a couple of online searches.

I’m considering the 1030SW, so I’ve been watching prices fairly close the last few weeks.

It’s a point and shoot, so fo the most part, put it in a mode before you put the gloves on and just push the button to take the picture – it’s no SLR, but it’s not $1000+ either. I prefer neck straps, but a lanyard should be fine no bigger than the 850 is. I’d pass on the floatation, but I would clip it in somewhere.


lanyard is good but
after two of the paddling buddies lost their cameras to the bottom of the ocean I don’t want to be the next victim (and laughing stock).

I have my Olympus in the pocket of the PFD and it is on lanyard but the floatation device for the camera is cheap insurance for when I pass the camera to somebody else or I want a camera angle/view further away then the short lanyard.

Your call :slight_smile:


we’ve been using the float strap from our marine binoculars for our 1030.

Price sounds right
Have been using ours for a while now and really like it. I keep it in the front pocket of my PFD and then on my arm when using it (it’s had to flop around while hanging on my arm a couple of times to get through some waves - then back to shooting pics :slight_smile:

The float strap sounds like a good idea.

BTW WW, your flower pic is beautiful.

Here’s one of Gremmie: