The Olympus Stylus 760 is a great choice if you just want a small, light, weather-resistant camera, but beware of image flaws.
We suspect Olympus must have put Hermes in charge of the Stylus digital camera releases since they came to market so quickly. The Stylus 740 and 750 are barely six months old, and the Stylus 710 was only about that old when they arrived. With an accelerated release schedule like that, there's not a lot of time to make significant changes from model to model. So, it's unsurprising this little camera doesn't differ much from its predecessors. But its small form and mechanical image stabilization still make it a very appealing camera.
As with all of its siblings, the Stylus 760's most distinctive feature is its sleek, weather-resistant metal body. The stylish camera, measuring less than an inch thick and weighing only 4.5 ounces, is small and light enough to fit into almost any pocket and comes in light blue, pink, black, and silver versions. The camera's body is sealed against moisture and gunk, so it can handle splashes, showers, and snowstorms. It's not completely waterproof, though, and probably won't survive being submerged in water. If you really need a submersible camera, you should consider the Stylus 760's significantly sturdier and more expensive bigger brother, the Stylus 770SW. The 770SW can function in up to 33 feet underwater and can handle far more drops, stomps, and chills than the 760.
The Stylus 760 features Olympus' Dual Image Stabilization (DIS), a hybrid electronic and mechanical system that combines ISO boosting with shifting the camera's sensor to compensate for shake. The latter does the bulk of the work. You can enable DIS by pressing a tiny button on top of the camera, next to the shutter release. While DIS helped reduce some shake and blur in our photos, it just didn't seem quite as effective as the optimal image stabilization we've seen on other compact cameras, such as the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. Still, the feature works better than most cameras that just boost the sensor's sensitivity.
Besides the shiny shell and image stabilization, the Stylus 760 has a mostly standard feature set. The camera includes a fairly narrow-angle 37mm-to-111mm-equivalent 3X zoom lens, a 7-megapixel sensor that can reach up to ISO 1,600 sensitivity, 26 shot presets, and a built-in help guide to walk users through setting up shots. These features are useful, but there is very little you wouldn't find on almost any other Olympus Stylus camera and most of their higher-end FE-series cameras.
The Stylus 760's performance was decent, but not remarkable. After a startup time of 2.1 seconds, the camera could take a shot every two seconds thereafter. With the onboard flash enabled, that time increased to three seconds per shot. Shutter lag was a brisk 0.5 second in bright light, though shooting targets in dim light more than tripled the lag to 1.7 seconds.
Our testing yielded reasonably sharp photos with well-resolved details in the center, although there were a few spots where postprocessing smeared some edges--a common problem in compacts. Colors tended to be a bit too cool but appropriately saturated, and measured noise was surprisingly low, appearing as only a moderate grain even at ISO 800. At ISO 1,600, however, the photos exploded with noise-driven speckles and fuzz. As you'd expect from the narrow, short-range zoom lens, distortion was almost nonexistent, barreling only slightly at the edges at its widest.
Though its images aren't perfect and it's a bit sluggish, the Olympus Stylus 760 is still a good compact camera. Its light, pocketable design and logical, simple features make it a fine choice for anyone who wants a small camera he or she can take nearly anywhere.
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