Olympus Stylus 1050 SW review: Olympus Stylus 1050 SW

The 1050 SW mainly uses xD cards for storage, which, at this time, only go up to 2GB in capacity. If you want more space, Olympus includes a small adapter for use with microSD/microSDHC cards. This is probably the better option for shooting, especially if you plan to use the Movie mode. When set to the camera's highest resolution and frame rate, 640x480 at 30 frames per second, you can only record 10-second clips when using an xD card.

If the majority of the stuff you intend to shoot with the 1050 SW is still (e.g. landscapes, portraits, flowers, rocks), the camera's slow performance might not be an issue for you. But with shutter lag times of 1.3 seconds in good lighting and 1.8 seconds in dim and a full-resolution burst speed of 0.4 frames per second, this is not for action photography or capturing small children or pets. It also has an irritatingly long shot-to-shot time of 5.1 seconds; turn on the flash and you added another second to the time. The one thing it does somewhat fast is start up--2.4 seconds from off to the first shot.

Photo quality is good. While colors reproduce accurately, the camera's bright exposures can sometimes make them look a bit washed out. Although test shots show good detail, the photos tend to be soft. In fact, the 1050 SW isn't going to score many points for sharp focus. Overall, the photos look pretty pleasing, though. Image noise and detail degradation starts creeping in fairly early, about ISO 200, so try to keep the ISO set at 80 (the lowest available).

Video quality is decent, but again, you'll want to use a microSD card to make the most of the camera's abilities.

The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is ultimately disappointing. I really like the Tap Control, so it's great to see it carried over to newer models. But everything else about the camera, save for a few features and its "-proofing," is comparable to an average point-and-shoot camera that you can find for less. So if you don't need the Tap Control and extra protection, go elsewhere. And if you do want those things and can afford a little more, check out Olympus' Tough series instead.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
Olympus Stylus 1030 SW
Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
Fujifilm FinePix F60fd
Olympus Stylus 1050 SW

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 1, 2008
  • Digital camera type Ultracompact
  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixel
    10.1 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.33"