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Olympus drops perfectly good cameras into the drink

The company has pretty good demonstrations at PMA of the abuse its waterproof, shockproof cameras can withstand.

Olympus cameras are shown here frozen in a block of ice. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks
An Olympus Stylus 830 SW splashes into water after banging down a pegboard. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

Correction 7:50 a.m. PST: The lower-end model is the Stylus 850 SW.

LAS VEGAS--I can't speak for their optical quality or performance, but I like the idea behind Olympus' shockproof and waterproof compact cameras--and I liked the publicity stunts the Japanese camera maker used to show them off at the Photo Marketing Association trade show here.

In one demonstration, the camera drops down a pegboard, banging off several on the way down before splashing into a tray of water.

On another, a handful of cameras were frozen in a large block of ice.

And several cameras were positioned in a number of aquariums decorating the company's booth.

Olympus announced the two waterproof models, the Stylus 850 SW and 1030 SW, earlier in January.

Both are dustproof and can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The 10-megapixel 1030 SW has a 28-102mm equivalent zoom, can be dropped from 6.5 feet up, and will work as deep as 33 feet underwater, and the 8-megapixel 850 SW has a more stylish design, is equipped with a 38-114mm lens, can be dropped from 5 feet up, and will work as deep as 10 feet underwater.

The 850 SW should be on sale now for about $300, and the 1030 SW in March for about $400.