The most affordable of three new Stylus-series digital cameras announced at the Spring 2006 Photo Marketing Association tradeshow was Olympus’ new Stylus 810. As with the rest of the Stylus line, the Olympus 810 design is based around a weatherproof body that ensures wherever you go, your camera will go right along with you – unhindered by rain, sleet or snow that would see most digicams left at home or in a sealed case, unable to get that chance-of-a-lifetime photo that sneaks up on you when you’re not prepared.
Mounted on a pocket-friendly all-weather chassis, there’s an Olympus-branded 3x optical zoom with a 35 – 105mm equivalent focal length range and F2.8 – 4.7 maximum aperture, coupled with an 8.0 megapixel imager and 2.5″ LCD display with a higher-than-average resolution of 230,000 pixels. As is common on many digicams these days, this LCD is the sole method of framing images, as the Stylus 810 forgoes any form of optical viewfinder.
Autofocus is via contrast detection, and ISO sensitivity ranges from 64 to 1600 equivalent, with the ability to extend to ISO 3200 at 3.1 megapixel resolution or below, and can be controlled automatically or manually. The Olympus 810 also offers what Olympus 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 810 does have a gyro sensor to detect the amount of camera shake, but the correction is made in software by compensating with increased sensitivity, faster shutter speeds, tweaks to sharpening, etc.
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 810 offers automatic or preset white balance control courtesy of six presets, but no custom white balance mode. The 810 also includes a four mode internal flash, and offers beginner-friendly control over images courtesy of a rather generous 21 scene modes.
As well as still images, the camera can also capture movies at VGA or lower resolution, at a rate of 30 frames per second with clip length limited only by available storage space and battery life. The 810 also has a twelve second self-timer to let you get into your own pictures. The camera stores images on xD-Picture cards, or 28.4MB of built-in memory. It also offers video and USB computer connectivity. Power comes from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery, of Li-12B type.