Gadget Guy: Olympus Stylus 1030SW

Olympus Stylus 1030SWRating: 4 out of 5
Price: $399

Digital cameras are great for catching those unplanned moments. But how often have you left your camera behind because you were afraid it could break or accidentally fall into the water and get ruined?

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The picture-perfect solution for you may be the virtually indestructible digital camera, the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. Encased in a rugged metal body, this 10-megapixel warrior can withstand a direct drop of 6.6 feet. It’ll laugh at up to 220 pounds of crushing pressure. It won’t flinch in freezing temperatures. And when you’re out swimming in the summer, don’t even think about leaving it on the beach because it’s waterproof up to depths of 33 feet!

A special watertight case prevents water from getting in to where it could do damage. The same barrier that keeps liquid out also makes the camera dustproof, so you can take it to a desert or even a dusty baseball diamond time and again without worry.

In addition to durability, the camera also has some other cool features: It sports a widescreen lens allowing you to fit even more in a shot, you can set it to panorama mode where it will hook together three shots to give you one large picture. And it does extremely well shooting in low light or where you don’t want to use a flash.

Not sure what all the symbols or terms like “aperture” or “F-stop” mean? This camera has a guide so you can select “super close up photo” and it will change all the settings according to take a picture of something as close as 3/4 of an inch away!

The Upsides: It’s extremely rugged and would be great for anyone camping, hiking, or into water sports. Parents could also get some great underwater shots of their kids. At 10 megapixels, you won’t be disappointed by the prints. Face recognition technology, shadow reduction and anti-shaking also come in handy when you need them.

The Downsides: The user interface could be a little easier to use. When you are looking to do something, like panorama mode for instance, you’ll likely need to peek into the user manual to completely figure it out. There are help features built in, but a few more could make it even more user friendly. Additionally, at $399, it’s on the high end of the consumer price scale but here you’re paying for the extra features and the durability.

The Bottom Line: If you’ve broken a camera before or ever considered taking photos underwater but couldn’t risk a leak and a ruined camera, this should definitely be on your list.