Olympus Stylus 1030 SW

Digital cameras lead rough lives. While desktop PCs end up coddled in offices and homes, laptops get gingerly whisked from place to place in padded cases, and cell phones are left behind on the most extreme adventures due to reception, cameras routinely end up in mess after mess. After all, that’s where the best shots are. Whether it’s the bow of a boat crashing through surf, a rainy jungle, or just a rowdy party with less-than-sober guests, cameras always seem to come out whenever the conditions are least appropriate for delicate digital devices.

Fortunately, manufacturers have caught on to the environmental gauntlets their products continually get run through, and now offer cameras especially suited to spills, dunks and grime. The Stylus 1030 SW is the latest in Olympus’ line of shock and waterproof resistant cameras, and the most fully featured to date. With a 10.1-megapixel sensor rolled into a durable case, Olympus has suited it up to take high-resolution shots just about anywhere shy of an active volcano.

Olympus Stylus 1030 SW
Image Courtesy of Olympus

First on the 1030 SW’s long list of durability claims: it’s impervious to falls from 6.6 feet and under. So unless you happen to be of pro basketball player height, or prone to taking pictures from the edge of extreme drops, the 1030 SW has you covered. Along the same lines, it’s also crushproof up to 220 pounds, so it should be able to take a foot while it’s down and come up alive.

For those who bring their cameras to the shore, the 1030 SW has also been beefed up to handle water, and not just in accidents. Unlike other cameras that earn a “water resistant” title by surviving brief dunks, the 1030 SW is actually fully waterproof to 33 feet, meaning it can go along on swims and snorkeling trips without incident. Of course, if you’re on a boat in the open ocean, the classic lanyard around the wrist might still be a good idea unless you’re a particularly talented diver.

Finally, the camera’s least impressive spec: it’s freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides being a feat that most other cameras seem to handle just fine, handling a mere 14 degrees Fahrenheit is truly nothing to brag about anywhere north of the 45th parallel.

Putting aside its strengths as a device that that can be dropped, stepped on, submerged and frozen, as a camera, the 1030 SW also sports some impressive specs. This includes a 10.1 megapixel CCD sensor, 3.6x optical zoom (and an additional 5x digital zoom), movie-shooting capability, 29 shooting modes, digital image stabilization, and face detection. Olympus’ HyperCrystal II LCD has also been designed to allow visibility in direct sunlight, where many of the camera’s owners are likely to be using it. And for extra neat-o factor, the camera’s built-in pressure sensor (known as a manometer) will tell you exactly how high up or deep underwater you were when a picture was snapped, and record it for bragging points during your vacation slideshows.

Although the 1030 SW has not yet been introduced in retail stores (it will debut in early March), Olympus has already announced it will carry a $399 price tag when it shows up. While that’s a pretty petty more than similar point-and-shoot cameras with the same resolution, the Olympus’ underwater capability alone justifies the expense if you plan on using it, since standalone enclosures can run over $150 easily. So, whether you’re a klutz or a born risk taker, you may want to further investigate the Stylus 1030 SW to save yourself from another painful camera casualty. More information is available at Olympus’s Web site.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…

Have an issue with your 3DS? We can help you fix it with these common solutions

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.

Forget folding phones, the Insta360 EVO camera folds in half to shoot 360 video

The Insta360 EVO is a...flip camera? Unfolded, the Insta360 Evo shoots 3D in 180 degrees, folded, the new camera shoots in 360 degrees. The EVO launches with what are essentially a pair of 3D glasses for your phone, not your face, the…

Obsbot Tail camera uses A.I. to follow the action (or a pet) for you

Want to capture more epic action selfies, or see what your pet is doing while you're gone? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 mimics tilt-shift blur for less cash

Want to create a tilt-shift image on a budget? The new Lensbaby Composer II with Edge 35 mimics the look of a tilt-shift lens for under $500. The new Edge 35 optic is part of the Composer Pro II optics system.

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.

Photography News: Taking a smartphone photo probably saved this guy’s life

A man was snapping a photo in Australia when the smartphone stopped an arrow shot at his face. In this week's photography news, see Canon's plans for a stabilized mirrorless, Hasselblad's newest accessories, Samyang's latest lens, and more.

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.