If the Olympus SW shockproof and waterproof cameras are the go-anywhere paratroopers of the camera world, this flexible top-end 10-megapixel model is Special Forces: it can be dropped from higher, sunk lower and crushed by heavier loads than any other snapper on the market. The mju 1030SW is available now for around £250.
Each generation of Olympus SW cameras gets a little smarter and a little tougher. The 1030SW is the flagship of the ruggedised range, with a specification that is little short of awesome. Waterproofing is extended to 10m deep, taking it beyond the previous 3m splash-about ratings and into the world of serious scuba diving. Drop-proofing is up to 2m (from 1.5m), so even the lankiest snappers can afford to be butter-fingered, and a 100kg crush-force should cope well with vigorous trampling.
In the past, we've found Olympus' ratings to be on the conservative side, so you can probably push these figures another 20-30 per cent (although don't come crying to us if your shiny new camera springs a leak while exploring the Great Barrier Reef).
The photo side of things has been improved, too. A wide-angle 28mm lens is an excellent addition to a camera that will be used in extreme outdoor conditions, being much more forgiving of framing and focusing errors. There is a touch of distortion at this wide-angle setting, but you don't sacrifice much at the top end -- the 3.6x zoom extends to a respectable 102mm equivalent telephoto. The 69mm (2.7-inch) screen is crisp and colourful.