updated 09:00 am EST, Tue January 22, 2008
Olympus FE and Stylus 2008
Olympus today began the run-up to next week's PMA photography expo with several updates to its Stylus and FE point-and-shoot cameras. Headlining the charge, the Stylus 1030 SW (shown) is billed as the toughest compact camera in the world: a new design can take a drop from as high as 6.6 feet while also proofing the camera against dust, temperatures as low as 14F, and water up to depths of 33 feet. The camera can also shoot 10.1 megapixel images with a 3.6X wide-angle zoom and with face detection and ISO-based blur compensation. It accepts either xD or microSD cards and begins shipping in March for $400.
A lighter-duty model, the Stylus 850 SW, is more modest with support for depths up to 10 feet and an 8-megapixel sensor. It otherwise matches the 1030 SW but will sell this month for $300.
Three high-zoom Stylus models are also launching today, Olympus says. The Stylus 1010 and 1020 are some of the first compacts to shoot with 7X optical zoom, allowing them to compose distant shots without resorting to pixelated digital zoom; they also include sensor-shift image stabilization to prevent jolts from blurring the image without having to boost sensitivity. Both shoot at 10.1 megapixels and will ship in March at prices of $300 for the 1010 and $350 for the glossy-finish 1020. They are also joined by the Stylus 840, which drops to 5X zoom and 8 megapixels but ships this month for $250.
Rounding out the announcements are Olympus' starter FE-series cameras, each of which shares an 8-megapixel sensor but has a different emphasis. The FE-310 sports the same 5X zoom as the Stylus 840; the FE-320 has a standard 3X zoom but shrinks to a more pocketable 0.65-inch thick body. The FE-340 merges the best of both designs with a metal body that allows the 5X lens, while the FE-350 switches to a 4X, wide-angle lens and a 3-inch preview LCD larger than on any of the other compacts introduced today. All use ISO-boost image stabilization and will be ready this month at prices of $150, $180, $200, and $250 for the FE-310 through the FE-350.
Stylus 1030 SW (European model shown)
Stylus 1020 (European model)