Olympus Stylus 770SW: Submersible for Shutterbugs

This specialty point-and-shoot is pricey for an ultra compact, but it'll let you take pictures in a place that few other cameras can go: underwater. The Olympus Stylus 770 SW is submersible to a depth of 33 feet and will withstand temperatures as low as 14"F. It's pretty rugged, too: It can be dropped from a height of 5 feet, which I confirmed in my testing, and is designed to shrug off 220 pounds of direct force.

A 7.1-megapixel point-and-shoot camera, the Stylus 770 SW comes equipped with a 2.5-inch LCD and 3X optical-zoom lens. Overall, I was impressed by its performance. My still-life test shots displayed good exposures, although they were just a tad overexposed and showed some colored noise.

When I tested the camera's performance in the lab, I found that it had 1,650 lines of resolution, a boot up time of 2.4 seconds, and a recycle time of 3.8 seconds. That's not bad but not outstanding, and I did notice some shutter lag. Unfortunately, burst mode was sluggish and images on land were just passable. Underwater photos were not bad overall but were a little dark because the lighting of my indoor pool wasn't as bright as daylight.

The Stylus 770SW is pretty steeply priced, but in its specialty niche it's got little competition.
Olympus Stylus 770SW: $375


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