The Olympus Stylus-7040's compact inch-thick body contains a 1/2.3"-type 14-megapixel CCD image sensor coupled to an Olympus-branded 7x optical zoom lens which offers focal length equivalents from a generous 28mm wide angle to a useful 196mm telephoto. A large 3.0-inch LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution offers the Stylus-7040's only option for framing and reviewing images, as there's no optical viewfinder on this model. Usefully given the telephoto strength on offer, the Olympus 7040 does offer true mechanical image stabilization, - one half of Olympus' "Dual Image Stabilization" system for fighting blur. The other half is what Olympus refers to as "Digital Image Stabilization" - essentially a setting that causes the camera to raise ISO sensitivity (along with shutter speeds and image noise) in an attempt to freeze motion. ISO sensitivity ranges from a low of ISO 64 to a maximum of ISO 1,600 equivalent.
The Olympus 7040 features 720p (1280x720) HD movie capture in MPEG-4 format, as well as an HDMI output to view images and movies on your HDTV. The HDMI Control features allows you to use your HDTV's remote to control the playback functions on the camera, via the HDMI interface. (HDMI cable not included.) The 7040 includes what the company calls Magic Filters, similar to the in-camera Art Filters first introduced in Olympus digital SLRs in 2009. These new Magic Filters include "Pop Art", "Pin Hole", "Fish-Eye" and "Drawing" filters, and their presence is enabled by the camera's TruePic III image processor. The Stylus 7040 also features a new graphical user interface (GUI), and comes bundled with new Olympus [ib] software which includes Geotagging and Face Recognition functionality.
The Olympus 7040 employs a contrast-detection autofocus system operating off data streaming from the camera's image sensor, and interestingly the Stylus 7040's face detection function is linked not only to the autoexposure and autofocus systems, but is also used to assist the camera's Shadow Adjustment Technology function. We've seen Olympus Shadow Adjustment function on the company's digital SLRs in the past, and here it helps ensuring that your subjects' faces are captured with appropriate brightness without blowing out the background in backlit scenes. New AF tracking technology continually adjusts focus and exposure to keep fast-moving subjects in focus. There's even "Pet Mode" AF tracking for animal lovers.
A total of 14 scene modes are offered in the Olympus Stylus-7040, allowing users some degree of control over their images without needing to understand the subtleties of shutter speeds and apertures. There's also Programmed Auto and an Intelligent Auto mode which can automatically select the most appropriate mode. Another interesting feature carried over from its predecessors is a Beauty Mode which softens shadows, and smooths wrinkles and blemishes on your subject's face. It's also possible to retouch images in-camera after capture using the Beauty Fix mode, and choosing from options such as Clear Skin, Dramatic Eye, or Sparkle Eye. An in-camera panorama mode is started with a press of the shutter button followed by panning the camera slowly across the scene. The Stylus 7040 then cleverly captures two more photos by itself at the correct moment, and combines the three images together in-camera to offer a single stitched scene automatically. For creation of larger panoramas up to ten images, the included software can be used on a computer.
Images can be transferred to a PC over a USB 2.0 High-Speed connection. A rechargeable LI-42B Lithium Ion battery with charger is included with the Stylus-7040, with battery life rated at 180 shots per charge. Images are stored in a whopping 1.8GB of available internal memory, as well as on SD/SDHC memory cards. Apparently, there is enough internal memory for Olympus to include the instruction manual in the camera, instead of on CDROM. Not only does this allow for easy reference on-the-go, but is also part of "Olympus' ongoing environmental commitment to conserve natural resources and reduce its carbon footprint".
The Olympus Stylus-7040 will be on offer in the USA from February 2010 with pricing of about $250. Available body colors will be titanium, pink and light blue.