Olympus 790 SW Review

 
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Olympus Stylus 790 SW Optics


Lens

Zoom
A typical 3x optical zoom range, with moderate performance. Very soft details and low resolution with the 5x digital zoom enabled.

38mm 114mm 5x Digital Zoom

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 38-114mm, about average among consumer digital cameras. Results at wide-angle are fair, with soft detail overall. There's also a significant amount of blurring in the corners, and some noticeable chromatic aberration and coma distortion. At telephoto, results are a little better with less corner softness, but still a general softness throughout the frame. Details are quite soft with the 5x digital zoom enabled, with strong chromatic aberration.

Macro
Average performance in the normal Macro mode, though a small area in Super mode. Flash exposures are uneven, but still usable.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash
Super Macro Super Macro with LED

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW's standard macro setting performed about average in terms of size, capturing a minimum area of 3.26 x 2.45 inches (83 x 62 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both good, though there's a lot of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) Exposure is slightly dim with the external lighting, resulting in a yellow cast. The Stylus 790 SW also features a Super Macro mode, which captures a much smaller area measuring 1.91 x 1.43 inches (49 x 36 millimeters). Detail is strong in the center of the frame, but blurring in the corners increases quite a bit. The Stylus 790 SW's flash almost throttled down for the macro area in normal mode, though exposure is uneven. In Super Macro LED mode, the 790 SW automatically enables an LED to light the macro area when you half-press the shutter button. Results here are uneven, but passable.

Distortion
A small amount of pincushion at wide-angle, practically no distortion at telephoto.

Pincushion distortion at 38mm is 0.1 percent
Distortion at 114mm is virtually nonexistent

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW produced about 0.1 percent pincushion distortion at wide-angle, which is much better than average and really undetectable in its images. At telephoto, we couldn't find a full pixel of distortion. Great results! This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration
Moderate at wide-angle but high at telephoto. Strong blurring in the corners intensifies the effect.

Wide: Low but strong blurring,
top left @ 200 percent
Wide: Moderate,
top right @ 200 percent
Tele: High and bright
top left @200 percent
Tele: High and bright,
lower left @200 percent

Chromatic aberration is moderate at wide-angle, showing handful of pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines. At telephoto, the effect is much stronger and brighter, and more noticeable in the camera's images. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) At both zoom settings, strong blurring in the corners intensifies the appearance of the distortion, so that it almost appears the target is underwater.

Corner Sharpness
Significant blurring in the corners of the frame at wide-angle and telephoto, very noticeable in the Stylus 790 SW's images.

Wide: Extreme blurring in the
corners (upper right)
Wide: Much sharper at center
Tele: Also quite soft in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Fairly soft at center

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW produced very strong blurring in the corners of the frame at full wide-angle, as well as at telephoto. The effect was quite visible in the camera's images, and stronger than average.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Pretty good accuracy with the Stylus 790 SW's LCD monitor.

38mm eq., LCD 118mm eq., LCD

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW's LCD monitor showed about 99 percent coverage accuracy at wide-angle and telephoto. Pretty good results.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Olympus Stylus 790 SW Photo Gallery.

Olympus 790-SW

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