updated 08:50 am EDT, Thu August 23, 2007
Olympus FE and Stylus 790
Olympus this morning joined in the camera introductions, beginning with updates to its FE and Stylus weather-hardened cameras. The Stylus 790SW is a complement to the 770SW with a 7.1-megapixel sensor and complete waterproofing up to near 10 feet as well as drop survival up to 5 feet. The design is slimmer than the 770 and comes in several brighter colors suited to the beach, Olympus says. A full-speed VGA video recording mode is onboard alongside ISO 1600 as a regular (rather than boost-only) option. It ships in September for $300.
Three upgrades to more conventional Stylus cameras have also been introduced. The 12-megapixel Stylus 1200, as well as the 8-megapixel Stylus 820 and 830, are designed to be used on land with only weatherproofing for protection against splashes; the 1200 exchanges its higher sharpness for a 3X optical zoom lens, while both of the 8-megapixel models ship with 5X optics. The 830 is the most unique of the collection with a dual stabilization that combines hardware correction as well as ISO boost (up to 6400 at 3 megapixels) to produce a focused shot even in dark scenes. The Stylus 820 arrives first in September for $300, and will be followed by the higher-end models in October at prices of $350 each.
Users less concerned with weather resistance can opt for FE-series upgrades, Olympus says. The FE-290 and FE-300 both reach 12 megapixels but with a different feature focus: the FE-300 offers face detection for portraiture, while the FE-290 offers a 4X wide-angle lens and a 3-inch screen. The 8-megapixel FE-280 includes a Smile Shot mode similar to Sony's Smile Shutter that recognizes facial expressions, while the FE-270 offers basic 7.1-megapixel performance. Every camera ships in September, though US prices are currently unavailable.