The most affordable of three new Stylus-series digital cameras announced at the Spring 2006 Photo Marketing Association tradeshow was Olympus’ new Stylus 710. As with the rest of the Stylus line, the Olympus 710 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.
Inside its pocket-friendly and relatively lightweight all-weather chassis, there’s an Olympus-branded 3x optical zoom with a 37 – 111mm equivalent focal length range and F3.4 – 5.7 maximum aperture, 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 Stylus 710 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 710 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 710 is simply boosting ISO sensitivity to gain a faster shutter speed, 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 710 offers automatic or preset white balance control courtesy of six presets, but no custom white balance mode. The 710 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 710 also has a twelve second self-timer to let you get into your own pictures. The camera stores images on xD-Picture cards, or 19.1MB 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.