updated 09:00 pm EST, Tue February 7, 2012
Olympus SZ-31MR and Tough TG-820 arrive
Olympus brought out two specialized point-and-shoot cameras ahead of the CP+ show. Leading off is the SZ-31MR, one of the longest-ranged compact ultrazoom cameras with a 24X (25-600mm equivalent) lens. The camera makes up for the blur likely at the far end of its zoom both by using a 16-megapixel, backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and two previous-generation TruePic V chips that give it better low-light performance on top of improving camera speed and image processing.
The compact as a result of its newfound multitasking can shoot at up to 10 frames per second, lock into subjects quickly, and take photos even while recording 1080p video. Both photos and videos get dual image stabilization, and software brings both new art filters like Dramatic (contrast exaggeration), Fragmented (mosaic), and Reflection.
A three-inch touch LCD on the back serves as the main but not exclusive interface including for mid-video still capture.
Olympus' rugged Tough line is getting its own boost in the TG-820. Its hardened design now pushes the limits of punishment out further, letting it both be dustproof, take drops of up to 6.6 feet, survive temperatures as low as 14F, and stay immersed in water as deep as 33 feet. As much as 220 pounds of pressure can sit on the camera.
As a camera, it's now more workable for low-light shooting with a 12-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor capable of 1080p movies. Instead of the dual TruePic V chips, it has one of the newer-generation TruePic VI parts borrowed from the OM-D. A 5X (28-140mm) lens and an unusually sharp three-inch, one-megapixel (though non-touch) LCD frame the design.
The TG-820 bows first and will ship in March for $300. SZ-31MR buyers will have to wait until late April and pay $400 for the faster hardware.