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Olympus Tough Smart 1050SW Digital Camera Review


Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker


The extensive series of Tough Smart Olympus cameras are one of the best-selling varieties across the current digital camera market for a number of reasons: they are robust enough to withstand a variety of extreme conditions and yet are stylishly designed, they are fun and easy to operate, and they are appropriately priced for the features and functions on offer (RRP $399 for this model.)

The latest edition to the range, the Tough Smart 1050SW, is certainly no exception. If the 10.1 mega pixels, 3 times optical zoom and built-in digital image stabilisation isn’t enough to steal your initial interest, then certainly the 3 meter waterproof, 1.5 meter shockproof, and minus 10 degree snowproof capabilities will be.

Not only do these characteristics make the 1050SW exceptionally practical in the sense that there really aren’t many shooting situations it cannot withstand, they also make owning the unit largely stress-free and operating it good fun.

You wouldn’t need to think twice before taking the 1050SW camping, to the beach, cycling, skiing, snorkeling, to parties, to nightclubs, on road trips, you name it. Nor would you hesitate to let children use the camera wherever and however they can imagine.

The Tough 1050SW can withstand some fairly rugged treatment along with an array of extreme conditions and as such, does not inhibit one’s photo-taking opportunities in any obvious way. This in itself is an extremely enticing quality for a compact camera to offer.

If the sound of the 1050SW’s ruggedness and durability is creating visions of a boxy, unattractive camera lacking in style then you may be pleased to know that, in fact, this unit is both neatly and stylishly designed and comes in a selection of appealing colours including: silver, blue, pink, black and gold.

The box kit includes the camera, a wrist strap, charger with a single dedicated battery, AV and USB cables, manual, software (Olympus Master 2), warranty card and a MicroSD attachment.

While purchasing a protective case may be a good idea, rest assured it is not entirely necessary. The 1050SW has its own lens protect slider built onto the front of the unit, which will look after both the lens and the flash whenever the camera is not in use.

Throw it your handbag, pocket, briefcase or backpack and don’t think about the 1050SW again until your ready to take some photos. Remember that the robust unit is shakeproof, shockproof, and waterproof. Additionally, a nightproof feature is included, which promises to reproduce accurate colours at night with and without the flash and also further illuminates the 2.7 inch LCD to make composing and previewing shots easier.

Shadow adjustment and face detection technologies combine to automatically adjust exposure and focus while the Olympus TruePic III image processor helps to ensure images are reproduced with correct colours and superior clarity and detail. Shadow adjustment does tend to overcompensate in lowlight conditions at night, in which case it can simply be deactivated using tap control mode.

This is an interesting feature that offers a glimpse into the likely direction camera technology is headed: to quickly preview images, engage or disable shadow adjustment, select your flash option, and allow for tap control mode simply double tap the top, back, and sides of the Tough 1050SW body with your index finger and voila, the respective feature control appears on screen.

The main control/arrow pad on the back of the 1050SW may initially prove difficult to operate for some as it contains 9 different action buttons within a space no larger than the size of a 10 cent piece. Other than that, the 8-function mode dial, zoom, power and shutter buttons are placed logically and are easy to use.

A few seconds lapse between turning the camera on and being able to shoot and it will take approximately the same time between shots for the camera to process and ready itself for further shooting.

Navigation throughout the menu system is fairly low-fuss although, as with most cameras, the user will definitely benefit from a thorough read of the included manual to speed this process up and ensure all function options, settings, and controls available are fully comprehended.

Movie mode is an additional feature included in the Tough 1050SW along with a 23-strong scene mode menu, which helps to ensure the best possible settings are automatically assigned during the given shooting conditions including (but not limited to): underwater, beach, snow, portrait, landscape, sport, available light, documents, and night scene etc.medal-gold-r.jpg

Users have the option to make certain editing choices in camera ranging from cropping to colour edit, adding sound to still mages and creating a calendar from a chosen image. Photographs can also be locked in the 1050SW to ensure accidental deletion doesn’t occur and favourite images can be tagged and made easily accessible via the mode dial or general menu for quick previewing.

Overall, the Tough Smart 1050SW is a worthy edition to the successful Olympus Tough range and it certainly does live up to its name. Perfect for anyone active - be it in the outdoors or generally speaking - or those who travel and like to take their camera with them everywhere and all of the time.



Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
View finder / LCD screen 3.5 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $399
Effective Pixels 10.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 38mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 114mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 3x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 3648 x 2736
Shooting Modes 23 Scene options
Face Detection Yes, up to 16 faces
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 50cm - infinity
Aperture Range F3.5 - F5.0
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 20cm - infinity (wide), 30cm - infinity (tele)
Shutter Speeds 1/4s - 1/1000s (up to 4 sec. in night mode)
Shutter Priority No
ISO ISO 80 - 1600 AUTO
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7" HyperCrystal LCD Screen
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Red-Eye reduction, Fill-in, Off
Hot Shoe No
White balance Auto, Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Fluorescent1-3
Self Timer Yes, 12 seconds
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes
Storage Type 512MB ~ 2GB xD, Micro SD via MASD-1 Micro SD adapter (included)
Storage Included [Mb] 41.6MB Internal Memory
Image / Audio Formats JPEG, EXIF 2.2, PIM III, DPOF
Connectivity USB
Power Source D-7ACA AC Adapter with CB-MA1 Power coupler
Battery Options Li-42B Li-Ion Battery
Dimensions 93mm x 62mm x 22.6mm
Weight 152g




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About Olympus


In Greek mythology, Mt.Olympus is the home of the twelve supreme gods and goddesses. Olympus was named after this mountain to reflect its strong aspiration to create high quality, world famous products.

"Olympus" has been used as a trademark since the time of Takachiho Seisakusho, the predecessor of Olympus Corporation.

In Japanese mythology, it is said that eight million gods and goddesses live in Takamagahara, the peak of Mt.Takachiho. The name "Olympus" was selected as the trademark because Mt.Olympus, like Mt.Takachiho, was the home of gods and goddesses. This trademark is also imbued with the aspiration of Olympus to illuminate the world with its optical devices, just like Takamagahara brought light to the world.

Takachiho Seisakusho was renamed Takachiho Optical Co., Ltd. in 1942 when optical products became the mainstay of the company. In 1947, the name was changed again to Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. in an attempt to enhance its corporate image.

And in 2003, the company made a fresh start as Olympus Corporation, to show its willingness to establish a dynamic corporate brand by unifying the corporate name and the well-known brand.

In recent years, Olympus Corporation has focused on "Opto-Digital Technology" as its core competence, technological strengths that competitors cannot easily imitate, to maximize corporate value and to become one of the top optical instrument manufactures.

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