Olympus Stylus 760
The Olympus Stylus 760 offers both hardware image stabilization and software anti-blur in a very pocket friendly body. The Stylus 760 includes both a seven megapixel CCD image sensor and Olympus-branded 3x optical zoom lens, as well as a 2.5″ LCD display with 230,000 pixels. The LCD is a wide-view type that allows good visibility within a useful 140 degree angle, and unusually there’s a button on the camera body to boost the backlight strength to help improve the view when sharing photos with friends on the camera’s LCD.
The Olympus 760 packs these features into an all-weather metal body that can handle rain, dust and snow. Other features include a whopping 26 shooting modes, compatibility with an optional underwater housing, as well as 18MB of built-in memory, and an xD-Picture card storage slot. The Olympus Stylus 760 ships from February 2007, priced at $249.99.
Olympus Stylus 760 User Report
by Rob Murray
The Olympus Stylus 760 all weather camera is a sleek, easy to pocket camera built for the enthusiast photographer. It has the familiar Olympus styling, common to their Stylus models for some time now, which allows it to easily slip into any pocket for easy access. This model features a 3x zoom lens with a 37-111mm equivalent focal length and a F3.4 to F5.7 maximum aperture. This is coupled with a 7.1 megapixel imager that’s mounted on a carrier that can move in two directions, allowing for sensor-shift type image stabilization. This can be a great help for getting blur-free images under dim lighting, although I didn’t think the 760’s IS was as good as that of some other cameras I’ve played with. Additionally, there’s what Olympus calls “Digital Image Stabilization” — where the camera’s gyro sensor detects the amount of camera shake, and correction is made in software by compensating with blur removal afterthe exposure. This type of blur reduction is less effective than that accomplished by moving the sensor, but in combination with an increased light sensitivity setting and the faster shutter speeds that permits, as well as tweaks in the camera’s image sharpening algorithm, it does help somewhat.
The all-weather designation of the Olympus 760 deserves some special mention, as it represents a great step forward relative to most digital cameras on the market. In common with their film-based predecessors, most digital cameras really dislike like water or dust. The Olympus 760 though, includes environmental seals in a number of key areas, letting it shrug off the occasional rainstorm with no ill effects. Note that you can’t take the swimming, or dunk it under water for any reason (check out the 760’s sibling, the Olympus 770SW for that sort of use, or buy one of Olympus’ excellent underwater housings to put the 760 in), but splashes and raindrops are perfectly OK. A consequence of this splash-proofing is that the camera is also less susceptible to getting dust into its inner workings than are many of its competitors.
The Olympus 760’s LCD display is a nice large 2.5 incher with adjustable brightness and a high resolution of 230,000 pixels. There is no viewfinder on this camera so you must use the LCD display, but the camera does a (somewhat) better than average job of brightening the display when you’re shooting under dim lighting, so I didn’t find myself missing an optical viewfinder too much in indoor or after-dark shooting situations. Outdoors under direct sunlight though, I found it much more challenging to see what I was doing. The surface of the LCD window is very reflective, so in bright light, I ended up seeing more of my face than I did the picture I was composing. The Stylus 760’s LCD really needs an anti-reflective coating on it (or a more effective one than there is.)
Most of the camera’s controls are in a tight cluster on the back of the camera, with not a lot of space between them. In practice though, the combination of reasonable-sized buttons, and the fact that they project a bit above the surface of the case made for pretty easy operation. I also felt that they were well-marked, and had no trouble figuring out which button to press to accomplish any particular task.
Design-wise, I found the Stylus 760 very well executed, its trim, sculpted body a nice change from the more common “bar of soap” designs of many of its competitors. Looking down on the top of the camera, you can see that it’s tapered somewhat toward the left-hand side. Initially, I thought this a little odd, perhaps just one of those things designers do to make their products look different. Once I started using the 760 though, I realized that this slight taper made it easier to slip into my shirt pocket, a nice touch. In the hand, the Olympus 760 has a nice, quality feel to it, its metal-clad body is lightweight, but has enough heft that it doesn’t feel cheap, either. The 760 can be used one handed if need be as all the controls are on the top or far right hand side. Its an easy camera to hold as there is only one place for your thumb to fit on the back of the camera, I wish there was a rougher surface at that spot for a better grip.
Relatively unusual on a basic point & shoot camera like the Olympus 760 is an option for spot metering. This lets you tell the camera to only base its exposure on a very small part of the subject, such as someone’s face. This can be very handy for getting the exposure right in situations that would form a normal metering system (taking a picture of someone with their back to the sun, for instance), but I suspect most users of the 760 would never delve deep enough into its capabilities to access this feature.