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Olympus' Mju 725 SW digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Olympus Europe updates Stylus 720 SW
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, August 29, 2006 - 12:52 EDT)

Olympus Europe has announced a new digital camera model that's closely related to a model launched earlier this year.

The Olympus Mju 725 SW digital camera is an update to the existing Stylus 720 SW model, which was announced at the Spring 2006 Photo Marketing Association tradeshow. As with the rest of the Stylus line (known as Mju in Europe), the Olympus 720 and 725 designs are based around a weatherproof body that ensures wherever you go - in rain, sleet or snow - your camera will go right along with you. The "SW" in the name of both models hints at two more unusual features though - these cameras are rather impressively both shock- and water-proofed.

It is in this area that the one significant difference between the Olympus 725 SW and the original 720 SW model can be found. Where the '720 was waterproof to a depth of three meters, the Olympus 725 is waterproof to an even greater depth of five meters. As with the original camera, the Olympus 725SW is also shockproof to the MIL-STD-810F standard as well - meaning that the camera can withstand drops of up to 5 feet from any angle without harm.

Despite its array of waterproof seals and shock absorption technology, the 725 SW remains pocket-friendly and relatively lightweight. Other features look to be unchanged from the original model. The '725 includes an Olympus-branded 3x optical zoom with a 38 - 114mm equivalent focal length range and F3.5 - 5.0 maximum aperture, folded by a prism to allow the lens to be mounted at right angles to the front of the camera. This allowed the camera's designers to protect the delicate lens components, as well as to completely seal the camera body with no need for a lens to extend out of the camera body when powered on. The lens is coupled with a 7.1 megapixel imager and 2.5" LCD display that has 115,000 pixels. As is common on many digicams these days, this LCD is the sole method of framing images, as the Mju 725 SW forgoes any form of optical viewfinder.

Autofocus is via contrast detection, and ISO sensitivity ranges from 64 to 1600 equivalent and can be controlled automatically or manually. The Olympus Mju 725 SW also offers what the company calls "Digital Image Stabilization" mode - which should not be mistaken for true hardware image stabilization, where either lens elements or the image sensor are moved based on sensors that detect camera shake. The 725 SW is simply boosting ISO sensitivity to gain a faster shutter speed and using software deblurring, both of which will reduce blur at the expense of noise and/or image detail.

By default, exposures are determined with Olympus' Digital ESP multi-pattern metering, with spot metering also available. Users can also tweak the exposure with +/-2.0EV of exposure compensation, in 1/3EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 1/1000 to 4 seconds, and the Olympus 725 offers automatic or preset white balance control courtesy of six presets, but no custom white balance mode. The 725 SW also includes a four mode internal flash, and offers beginner-friendly control over images courtesy of a rather generous 24 scene modes.

As well as still images, the camera can also capture movies at VGA or lower resolution, at a rate of 15 frames per second with clip length limited only by available storage space and battery life. The 725 SW also has a twelve second self-timer to let you get into your own pictures. The camera stores images on xD-Picture cards, or 19MB of built-in memory. It also offers video and USB computer connectivity. Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery, of either Li-40B or Li-42B type.

The Olympus Mju 725 SW has been announced in Europe, but at this time no plans have been disclosed for sale on the US market.

Olympus Mju 725 SW
Olympus' Mju 725 SW digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type Compact
Manufacturer Olympus
Model Number 725 SW
Dimensions 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8"
91.0 x 58.7 x 19.8mm
Weight 149.0 g
5.2 oz
Image Capture
Sensor Type 1/3" CCD
7.40 megapixels (total)
7.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image Dimensions 3072 x 2304 (7.1 megapixels)
2560 x 1920 (4.9 megapixels)
2304 x 1728 (4.0 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
1600 x 1200 (1.9 megapixels)
1280 x 960 (1.2 megapixels)
1024 x 768 (0.8 megapixels)
640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 2.5", 115,000 pixels
99% field of view
Playback Zoom 10.0x max
Lens
Lens Type Olympus Lens
3x optical zoom
Image Stabilization No
Focal Length 6.7 - 20.1mm (actual)
38 - 114mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 (wide) / f/5.0 (tele) - ???
Focusing System TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection
Focusing Range Normal: 20" - infinity (50 cm - infinity)
Macro: 2.9" - infinity (7.0 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Shutter Speed 4 - 1/1000 second
Metering Modes Digital ESP multi-pattern, Spot Metering
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, Fluorescent1, Fluorescent2, Fluorescent3
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, red-eye reduction, fill, off
Range: Wide: 12.5ft (3.8m), Tele: 8.5ft (2.6m)
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Landscape Portrait, Night Scene, Night & Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self-Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select1 & 2, Beach & Snow, UnderWater Wide1 & 2, UnderWater Macro, UnderWater Snapshot
Digital Zoom 5x
Self Timer Yes, 12 seconds
Time Lapse No
Movie Format QuickTime Motion JPEG with audio
640x480 and 320x240
Max. frame-rate: 15 frames per second
Storage
Recording Medium xD Picture Card, Built-in
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format JPEG (Exif 2.2)
Connectivity
Video Yes
Computer USB 2.0 Full (LOW) Speed
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary Li-40B / Li-42B
Product Bundle
Software OLYMPUS MASTER
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 19.0MB built-in memory
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speake r Yes
Remote Control No
More Photos
Olympus' Mju 725 SW digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' Mju 725 SW digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Olympus' Mju 725 SW digital camera. Courtesy of Olympus, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
 

Original Source Press Release:

The tough just got tougher

Small and tough – the Olympus µ [mju:] 725 SW

London, 23 August 2006 – Sometimes life can be hard, so you need a digital camera that’s as hard as nails, such as the Olympus µ [mju:] 725 SW. Waterproof to 5m* and shockproof to 1.5m**, the µ [mju:] 725 SW is more than a match for today’s active lifestyles. Earlier in the year, Olympus introduced the innovative µ [mju:] 720 SW and its waterproof and shockproof protection proved a huge hit. The new Olympus µ [mju:] 725 SW is the worthy successor to its crown, being waterproof to an even greater depth of 5m*. The µ [mju:] 725 SW takes its protection from a durably-constructed and yet great looking metal body, which is available in three colours: Deep Blue, Cherry Red and Titanium Grey. Image quality is equally impressive, due to a 7.1 million pixel CCD and a sharp 3x optical zoom lens (equiv. to 38-114mm). Framing photos on its large, 6.4cm LCD screen couldn’t be easier either – even underwater. Whether it’s being taken snorkelling in a rock pool, mountain biking over rough terrain, or put in the hands of a butterfingered four-year-old, you need never worry about the µ [mju:] 725 SW. This tough little diamond of a camera delivers great results, regardless of what life throws at it and will be available from all good camera shops from October 2006, priced at around £300.00. For stockist information call 0800 0720070 or visit www.olympus.co.uk.

Whether you’re into extreme sports, lead an active lifestyle, or simply would like to pass a camera around at a children’s party without worrying that the kids might drop it, you’ll appreciate what the µ [mju:] 725 SW will put up with on your behalf. And, as it’s an Olympus, this ruggedness in no way compromises the quality of the photos it delivers. A 7.1 million pixel CCD ensures pictures are packed with detail, and a precision 3x optical zoom lens (equiv. to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera) lets the photographer delve into the middle of the action. As this specially constructed lens is housed wholly within the camera’s metal body and doesn’t protrude like conventional lenses, the chance of it getting knocked if play gets rough is significantly reduced.

The µ [mju:] 725 SW is simple to use. A choice of 24 special scene modes are on hand to take the fuss out of photographing special subjects and the µ [mju:] 725 SW can even record movies with sound (in 640x480 pixel quality) with the duration of the clip only limited by the amount of memory available.

Framing photos is easy on the 6.4cm LCD screen which, thanks to BrightCapture Technology, really comes into its own in low-light conditions – such as when photographing beneath the waves! And should the photographer ever get flummoxed as to what to do, they can consult the Guide Function, which gives brief explanations of the camera modes directly on the LCD screen – just like having the instruction book built in!

When other manufacturers say their cameras can “cope with anything” they usually mean awkward lighting or focusing, they don’t mean being dropped on the ground or dunked in water! Shockproofing up to 1.5m** and waterproofing up to 5m*, as featured on the Olympus µ [mju:] 725 SW, give a whole new meaning to the phrase. This camera, perfect for active lifestyles, will be in stores from October 2006, priced at around £300.00.

The Olympus µ [mju:] 725 SW – main features:

  • Waterproof up to 5m*
  • Shockproof (equivalent to 1.5m)**
  • 7.1 million pixels
  • Tough metal body in three colours: Deep Blue, Cherry Red and Titanium Grey
  • BrightCapture Technology for better low light photography – with improved brightness for underwater scenes
  • Large 6.4cm/2.5” LCD with 115,000 pixels
  • Bright 3x optical zoom (equiv. to 38-114mm on a 35mm model) 1:3.5-5.0, with optical folded light-path
  • 24 scene modes (incl. Portrait, Candle, Landscape and various underwater modes) plus Auto
  • Movie function with sound (640x480 pixels, 15fps)
  • Macro and Super Macro mode for shots from as little as 7cm
  • Editing functions (e.g. Red-eye Fix, Calendar Composition, Layout Composition, Title Composition)
  • Internal memory plus xD-Picture Card slot
  • Multi-language menu with 10 languages plus possibility to download 15 more languages from the internet (on board: English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Czech, Polish, Danish, Dutch)
  • Supplied with Olympus Master Software, Neoprene case and LI-42B battery plus LI-40C charger
  • Optional underwater case PT-033 (waterproof up to 40m)

*Waterproof equivalent to the IEC standard publication 529 IPX8.
**Shockproof complying with MIL Standard (MIL-STD 810F).

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