Olympus 770 SW Review

 
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Olympus Stylus 770 SW Design

This camera's modern design and sleek good looks belie its sturdy build and its ability to truly be a go-anywhere camera. Whether you choose its silver tone-on-tone, bronze coloring or the snazzy royal blue model, the 770SW makes a good outdoor companion. As is common with small cameras, external controls are equally diminutive and may be difficult to use by those with larger hands, or when wearing gloves. Despite some inconveniences in control design, the Function button is the most easily accessible -- and will be the most often-used -- control. Measuring 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches (91.8 x 59.2 x 20.6mm) and weighing 6 ounces (171 grams) with battery and xD card, the camera is small enough to tuck in a pants pocket or stow snugly in a daypack or small camera bag. It would be nice to see Olympus switch its cameras to dual slots to accommodate both xD and SD media cards since the latter are much more common, available in higher capacities and speeds than xD cards, and are much less expensive.


With no grip on the 770SW's flat front surface, be careful that your fingers don't wander in front of the lens. The small built-in flash is positioned next to the LED Illuminator/Self-Timer lamp. A small microphone is barely visible below the LED Illuminator/Self-Timer Lamp and the small lens is protected by a built-in lens covering that automatically opens and closes as the camera is powered on and off.


The right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) has a sturdy and sealed cover and latch to protect the multi-connector port (USB/DC IN/AV OUT); below that is the manometer for measuring and recording depth or altitude.


There is nothing to see on the left side (as viewed from the rear).


The camera's top panel is simple with only the tiny power button and the shutter button. "3.0x optical zoom" is engraved into the top panel.


The Olympus 770SW's rear panel is home to the remaining controls and function buttons, the camera's 2.5-inch color LCD monitor for previewing and playing back images and a small speaker. The LCD information display shows basic camera information including shooting mode, number of images remaining, and a memory gauge, the current memory source (internal or xD card), image size/quality. Preset white balance, manual ISO settings and continuous shooting modes are also indicated when selected. Left and right zoom buttons control the 3x optical zoom lens and are positioned just above the Card Access lamp, which blinks when the camera is reading or writing data from or to the card. To the left of the small speaker are two square buttons: one cycles through Record, Digital Image Stabilization and the Scene mode options; the other changes to Playback. A Four-way controller surrounds a Function/Set button; Menu and Direct print buttons are positioned below. A metal plate, through which the wrist strap is threaded, extends out to the right from the edge of the 770SW, serving as a good thumb rest.


On the bottom of the camera you'll find the battery and xD card compartment. Like the rest of the camera, the cover is well-built and seals the compartment from the elements. The tripod mount is metal but you won't be able to change the battery or xD card when the camera is attached.

 

Olympus Stylus 770 SW External Controls


Shutter Button: Positioned along the camera's top edge, the shutter button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.


Power Button: Located just left of the shutter button, this tiny dot of a control lies almost flush with the top of the camera and turns the camera on and off.


Zoom Buttons: The zoom buttons control the optical and digital zoom in Record mode. The left button zooms the lens into wide angle; the right button moves the lens in to telephoto. In Playback, the left "zoom out" button changes the view from a single image to sets of 4, 9, 16, 25 and then displays the calendar view. The right button zooms in for a close-up view of a single image.


Mode Button: Switches between Record (Program AE or Auto, selectable in the menu), Digital Image Stabilization, and Scene modes.


Review/Playback Button: Changes to playback mode. Also marks image(s) as Favorites.


Four-way controller: A navigational control for scrolling through settings menus in capture and playback modes. In all capture modes, pressing the controller up/right/down/left provides access to Exposure Compensation (+/- 2 in 1/3 steps), Flash (Auto, Redeye Reduction, Fill Flash, Flash Off); Self-Timer (On/Off), Macro modes (Off, 3 Macro, Super Macro, Super Macro LED). In Playback mode, the down arrow activates the single-image Erase function.

OK/FUNC button: (see above image) Surrounded by the Four-way controller, the OK/FUNC button opens the Function menu and is used to confirm selections in any menu. In Playback, the OK button turns off the image information display overlay (but does not turn it back on). The Function menu offers the following options:

  • Shooting Mode: Selects between Program autoexposure and Auto. In Auto, the remaining function menu options are not available.
  • White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the image according to light source. Options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, and three Fluorescent settings.
  • ISO: Select from Auto and manual settings that range from ISO 80 to 1600.
  • Drive/Continuous Shooting: Chooses between Single, Sequential Shooting where the focus and exposure are locked in the first frame and a Hi Speed sequential shooting. In Hi Speed mode, the flash is turned off, ISO is set to Auto and image quality is limited to 2,048 x 1,536 or lower, which enables the increase in shooting speed.
  • Metering: Options include multi-segment and center metering to meter the scene for exposure settings.


Menu Button: Below the Four-way controller, this button activates/deactivates the settings menu in any camera mode. When the camera is turned off, this button accesses the built-in alarm (when the alarm is activated) and time display. Hold down the Menu button for about four seconds with the camera either on or off, and the LED Illuminator lights up to provide extra light when composing or to use as a mini flashlight. The light turns off automatically after 90 seconds, and after 30 seconds if no operations are performed, and can be turned off by pressing and holding the Menu button for four seconds.


Print/Share Button: Used for quick direct printing to a compatible printer.

 

Olympus 770 SW

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