Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Olympus Stylus 770SW

At PMA in Las Vegas this week (through Sunday), the latest in waterproof cameras that can take a beating are on display. The Olympus Stylus 770SW, which was announced in late January, has a tough metal body built to survive drops of up to five feet. The 7.1-megapixel camera has a 3X zoom and is rated for underwater use up to 33 feet deep. How will you know if you've reached that depth? The camera has a built-in manometer, and a warning will display on the LCD as you approach that depth. Underwater housings are available for roughly $250 if you want to go deeper. Here's a couple other interesting features: A small LED light on the front of the camera can be used in macro mode for photographing small objects up close; and, the lens has a coating that sheds moisture so water droplets don't remain on the lens after you've returned from your swim. The Stylus 770 SW (pictured below) cost $380, and should be available in April.

Pentax is showing its Optio A30, which the company announced in late February. This $300 camera is more suited to snorklers than scuba divers--it's rated to go up to 10 feet deep for two hours. The 7-megapixel camera has a 3X zoom and its macro mode allows you to take photos of subjects as close as half an inch. The $300 point-and-shoot will be available this month.

Here's perhaps the oddest-looking waterborne camera we saw: the Vivitar ViviCam 6200w. This camera's rubber armor is unique, and it comes in three colors: yellow, black and blue. However, the 6-megapixel camera lacks a zoom--the lens has a fixed focal length. Price has yet to be determined.

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