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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Olympus > arrow Olympus Tough 1030SW Digital Camera Review
Olympus Tough 1030SW Digital Camera Review


Digital Camera Review by: Andrew Duncan


Slightly larger than a pack of cards, the Olympus Tough 1030SW feels reassuringly solid. With a stainless steel case, it is designed to be water resistant up to a depth of ten meters and survive being dropped from two meters, crushed by 100 kg or even frozen in temperatures down to -10° centigrade. This camera can be used almost anywhere.


The camera is very responsive with start-up time almost instantaneous. Similarly, there is no apparent shutter lag.

A Lithium Ion rechargeable battery powers the 1030SW. A compact charger is provided with the camera, as are USB and AV cables, a wrist strap and a software CD-Rom.


The camera has a 14.7 MB internal memory and can use Xd-Picture Cards up to 2 GB. With a maximum resolution of 10.1 million pixels and a 640x480 30 fps movie mode, the internal memory can only hold a relatively small number of shots. While the camera can be set to shoot with image sizes from 3648x2736 to as low as 640x480, a large capacity Xd-Picture Card would be a wise investment to get the most out of the camera. The camera will function with other brands of Xd-Picture Cards, however some of the camera functions only operate when using Olympus cards.


The cameras battery and Xd-Picture Card slots are housed under a solid, waterproof cover at the bottom of the camera.


The back of the camera is mostly taken up with a 2.7-inch LCD display. The display is bright and readable even in direct sunlight. The right hand side of the back hosts a well laid out set of camera controls.


Unlike the majority of compact cameras, the Tough 1030SW has no protruding zoom lens. The lens is contained entirely within the camera body, which adds to the ruggedness of the camera. The lens zooms from a wide 28mm to 102mm telephoto (35mm equivalent) in nine steps, providing a very useable range of focal lengths.


In addition to the zoom lens, the 1030SW provides a function called Fine Zoom, which is not the same as digital zoom. When shooting at resolution below the cameras maximum, the camera uses both the optical zoom and image cropping to extend the zoom range.


The 1030SW is great for close up photography. In super macro mode, you can get to within 2cm of your subject. In S-macro LED mode a powerful white LED lights up your subject.


The camera has an ISO range of 80 to 1600, allowing you to shoot in very low light situations. The results are good below 800, while at 800 and 1600 there is visible noise. However, 6x4 inch prints even taken at ISO 1600 would be more than acceptable.


The 1030SW has a number of modes that are set using the mode dial. In auto mode, novice users can use the camera, with good results. Exploring the other camera modes will reward the photographer with improved results. Program mode unlocks all the camera’s features for the experienced photographer. Less experienced users will find the scene and guide modes invaluable.


In scene mode, the camera provides presets for almost every situation. The camera displays sample images and text explanation of each preset scene, making it easy to find the one you want. From firework displays to night portraits and from landscapes to sport, almost every situation is covered.


In guide mode, the camera steers you to the camera settings you want. Almost like an interactive camera manual, the guide mode shows you the settings you need to get the best results in situations such as “shooting into backlight”, “close up photography” or shooting underwater.


Finally, in shake proof anti-blur mode, the camera is setup to reduce motion blur. By default, while framing your shot, the LCD displays important information such as the number of shots remaining and battery level. Pressing the display button cycles the camera through different options including a visible frame for levelling horizons and a live histogram to ensure correct exposure.


A number of camera options, such as exposure compensation, displays four thumbnails on the LCD showing the effect of altering the setting. Even if you aren’t sure what the setting is used for, you can quickly select the result you want.


Silent mode is a thoughtful feature, as it mutes all camera-generated sounds, allowing you to be unobtrusive in quiet locations.


The camera has an inbuilt manometer enabling it to measure height above sea level (in 200m increments) or depth underwater (in 0.5 metre increments). It can monitor the depth of your dive to the 10m maximum depth or display the height of the mountain you have climbed.


medal-gold-r.jpgTurning the mode dial to playback or pressing view/print button on the back of the camera, allows you to display your photographs. You can view 4, 9, 16 or 25 thumbnails at a time. Alternatively, the camera can display a calendar so that you can jump to photographs taken on a particular date.

If you want to print directly from your camera, the 1030SW provides a wide range of image editing functions. The camera can crop, fix back lighting and red-eye, convert you picture to black and white or sepia, add text, a frame or even create a calendar.


The 1030SW camera would be an excellent choice for anyone wanting a camera that they can take anywhere. You would not be concerned about the sand at the beach on a family outing or about dropping the camera in a river on a trek through Nepal. The 1030SW has features for all levels of experience and great image quality.


Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $599
Effective Pixels 10.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 8 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 28mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 102mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 3.6x (zooming internally)
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 3648 x 2736
Shooting Modes 24 Scene options
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 2cm to infinity
Aperture Range F3.5 - F5.1
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 10cm to infinitiy
Shutter Speeds 1/2 s - 1/1000sec. (up to 4 sec. in night scene mode)
Shutter Priority No
ISO 80 - 1600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch TFT LCD colour monitor
Viewfinder Yes
Flash 3 mode options plus auto
Hot Shoe No
White balance Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Fluroscent 1 - 3, Auto
Self Timer Yes
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes. AV out
Storage Type SD/MMC Cards
Storage Included [Mb] Internal memory 14.7mb
Image / Audio Formats Jpeg and QuickTime Motion
Connectivity USB
Power Source D-7ACA (using CB-MA1 multi power adapter)
Battery Options Rechargable battery
Dimensions 93.2mm x 61.4mm x 21.3mm
Weight 173g without battery or card



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"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.

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