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I am planning to do some touring on my cycle and required a camera that not only was lightweight and weather-proof but also took reasonable quality photos.
I used to take a Leica M4-P with a Summilux 35mm lens on such journeys It requires no batteries and has been submerged in puddles more than once and survived. However the cost of roll film is now a becoming drawback. Digital photography has the main advantage of disposible imagery but the disadvantages of being subject to water damage and always requiring battery power (when camping the opportunities for recharging are probably zero)
I already have an Olympus E-510 with a 14-54mm zoom lens that produces good quality pics, but is not puddle-proof. It does use XD cards though so I already had some to use in the 1030SW - No card is supplied with the 1030SW (These Xd type M version cards are available at about £8.50 for a 1g)
A 1g Xd card in the 1030SW set to max resolution gives you 205 shots.
So seeing the Olympus 1030SW I was 1st drawn to its waterproof quality etc. I did read a review elsewhere that had example photos with it and the opinion was that image quality had been sacrificed for the robust build.
Anyway I ordered one because at the end of the day it's better to have a camera that will work after a soaking than a better image-maker that does not. When it arrived I immediately fell in love with it. It has a weight that is just right (approx 200g with battery and card) and a size that is a lot more convenient than my Leica or Olympus E-510, just a bit bigger than a mobile phone. Also when using camera the lens does not stick out even when using the zoom,
You can start producing pics immediately after charging the supplied battery that takes about 1.5 hours. After reading the manual you find other features like face recognition and an image stabilizer that are a surprise, to me on such a small camera. There's even an alarm clock and a manometer that apparently tells you how deep you are when diving, (the 1030SW can go down up to 10m. Theres a case available for approx £190 that will get you down to 30m)
So I leapt forth into the sunlight and did some test shots that I then uploaded to a PC not expecting great results. My test shots where taken on a day when the wind was blowing and I was concerned that I could not hold the camera steady enough for sharp images because it is so small. I did try some with the image stabilizer switched on for that reason, along with some 'super macro' shots of bluebells.
I have a 22" monitor and was agreeably surprised to find that when viewing full screen the images where sharp the colour looks good and no worrying vinyetting observed. Amendment: On further viewing of my test shots and increasing magnification I can see some vinyetting on some of my pictures this seems to occur, rather oddly, only on either the bottom left or right corners. However at this magnification you would probably be printing in excess of A3. At about A4 size you can see it, just - and probably because you know its there, but its not really so large an area, and it doesnt appear on all my shots. This may be due to my varying the zoom etc. The camera still, I think, gives remarkable results for this size of the lens.
The macro shots were excellent and may be improved further if I had used a tripod. Yes this camera does have a standard camera screw on its base.
I will obviously have to do more to test all the features out fully, but so far results are far above expected.
Battery: On 1st day of mixed off and on shooting normally or with the flash with use ofediting and using LED light etc I got approx 9 hours use from a full charge. At this point the camera was still working but the battery icon went red. I would need to take some spares camping with me so found some for sale on a web site (Olympus versions) for approx £19 each.
Advantages: Drop-proofShock-proofWater-proof Advertised being able to stand a 3m drop, 100kgs of shock and dive of 10m For me no concern over damage when cycling or water issues when camping. For outdoor use in all weathers down to -10 degrees C
I can see this being used where dropping by small children may be a concern, or by pubs/party goers who may find their cameras going into all sort of liquid.
Small and light, so easy to carry around in pocket or handbag.
Great build and good looks ~ a little jewel.
Disadvantages: Would like ability to use an Olmpus remote with this. Can see some people with big fingers having trouble with small buttons - I tend to be using my fingernails.
Conclusion:~ Excellent small camera for the adventurous, seaside hols etc or normal everyday use Gives great results with the added bonus of a rugged build quality.
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