PInterface Olympus Stylus 710 Review
Olympus' answer to increasingly small cameras is to make their line of compact cameras even more compact. And here it is. The Stylus 710 has 7 megapixels, a 2.5 inch LCD, 3x optical zoom and a weatherproof body. However, it has no manual controls and targets casual shooters who want to look stylish. Let's see how this camera fares in the review.
The Olympus Stylus 710 is also known as the Olympus µ700 outside of the USA.
Olympus Stylus-series comparison
And here is a comparison chart of the recent Olympus Stylus series:
*As of June 1st, 2006
Size and Weight
The Stylus 710 is a fairly compact camera. Take a look:
(173.3) 90.4 x 56.5 x 26.4 mm (165 g) - Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH
The Olympus Stylus 710 is one of the smaller compact cameras out there and the lightest.
Open up the Box
Open up that box and in it you'll find these:
Storage and Power
You'd wanna get at least a 512 MB xD-Picture card for the Stylus 710 which comes with only 19 MB of internal memory. While the Stylus 710 doesn't benefit from high-speed cards, getting a Type-H xD-Picture card can speed things up when transferring photos. Thankfully, the prices of xD-Picture cards are dipping enough to make them affordable.
240 shots - Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH
The Olympus Stylus 710 has a below average battery life rating of 180 shots per charge (CIPA Standard). Be sure to get an extra battery if you're shoot often.
The Stylus 710 has three accessories: an AC adapter, a waterproof resistance case (3 m) and a real waterproof case (40 m).
The Olympus Stylus 710's body is made mostly of metal and weatherproof. Olympus also mentions that the Stylus 710 is scratch resistant.
The entire camera is weatherproof means it can survive in rain, snow, sand and other elements but cannot be dipped into water.
The Olympus Stylus 710 has a self-timer lamp and flash on the top left. The flash is about average, having a range of up to 4 m at wide-angle and 2.4 m at telephoto.
The Olympus lens on the Stylus 710 is equivalent to 37 - 111 mm but is very slow with an aperture range of f3.4 - f5.7 - that's worse than internal lens cameras as well! Near the outside rim of the lens is a microphone.
The Olympus Stylus 710 features a 2.5 inch LCD which has only 115,000 pixels. While the resolution is low, it doesn't look as bad as it is. The LCD brightens in low-light and just okay outdoors.
The zoom controller is located on the top right of the Stylus 710. And then there's the mode dial:
The MENU, print, DISPlay/help and delete photo buttons around the 5-way controller are pretty self explanatory. Now, I wanna talk about the 5-way controller which has these functions:
Pressing the center button is to confirm a setting or bring up the FUNCtion menu. While the FUNCtion menu isn't exactly like Canon's... it does the job:
I'll talk about those continuous shooting modes later on in the review.
There's only two things up here; a power button and shutter button. As you can see, Olympus is taking a radical approach when it comes to making the depth of the Stylus 710. The camera becomes slimmer towards the left. At the bottom, there's a battery/xD-Picture card slotand tripod mount.
The Olympus Stylus 810 has 8 image size options ranging from 7 megapixels down to VGA - You can choose between SHQ and HQ for 7 megapixels but there's no way to select compression for image resolutions.
The Olympus Stylus 710 is just point-and-shoot so there's nothing much else to change:
The Olympus Stylus 710 has a disappointing 20 cm macro mode. It also has an 8 cm super macro mode which is not very super at all! Other cameras can go much closer - even as close as 1 cm.
The Olympus Stylus 710 has movie mode which records at VGA resolution with sound, but at a sub-standard 15 FPS till the memory card fills up. Exposure is automatically adjusted while recording but focus and zoom cannot be used. Overall movie quality was good.
The Olympus Stylus 710 starts up in two seconds. Focusing speed had times ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 second but the camera took quite long and sometimes couldn't even lock focus in low-light. The Stylus 710's zoom lens moves from wide to telephoto in 1.6 seconds.
Shutter lag is noticeable only at slower shutter speeds (1/30 second and above). The Stylus 710 takes one shot every 1.2 seconds - that's very quick! The downside to that is after a few shots, the camera will take a bit longer due to the limited buffer. Flash recharge time took 5 seconds.
There are two continuous shooting modes on the Stylus 710. At full 7 megapixels, the Stylus 710 takes 3 shots at 1 FPS while it takes 10 shots at a whopping 4 FPS in high-speed mode. The catch is high-speed mode lowers the resolution down to 3 megapixels.
Let's have a look at the Stylus 710's image quality!
From the start, the Stylus 710 seems to be over-sharpening but noise levels are low till ISO 400. At ISO 800, image quality is getting muddy and at ISO 1600, I don't think photos are useable. There's a bit of chromatic aberration (color fringing) in those crops.
I didn't find barrel or pincushion distortion to be a problem but overall photos are soft, especially at the edges. Also, the Stylus 710 attempts to sharpen photos, causing a muddy cast over them. The image quality of the Olympus Stylus 710 is below average.
All the photos in the Olympus Stylus 710 gallery.
In playback, the Olympus Stylus 710 can playback stills and movies as well as do all this: Print marking, slideshow, simple photo edit, voice memo, protect image, rotate, downsize and create calendar. There's also brightness and saturation adjustment along with the ability to add a monochrome filter to your photos.
There's an album feature which uses the memory card (!) to store the albums. Whack the images off the card, and you're whacking off the albums as well - best use the internal memory!
The Stylus 710 shows you pretty much everything except exposure information. But at least there's a histogram.
The Stylus 710 has 7 megapixels in a stylish and somewhat sturdy all-weather body which resists scratches. Though it has nice things like a large LCD with good visibility, there always seems to be a downside to every positive thing on the Stylus 710. In this case, the LCD has low resolution.
The Stylus 710 is a fast performer but its buffer fills up quickly. And while it has over 20 scene modes, that doesn't replace the functionality of manual controls. The Stylus 710 has a fancy built-in help and guide system but let's just face it, even beginners will be turned away based on the cons of this camera.
To summarize things up (since you should've been reading from top to bottom), the Stylus 710's continuous shooting, macro and movie modes did not impress me at all. I didn't find the slow lens and digital image stabilization amusing either.
No recommendation from me - Overall, I am disappointed with the Olympus Stylus 710. Almost everything was below average, including image quality (which makes soft, muddy photos). There are better cameras in the market and the Stylus 710 is not it.
Camera rating upon 10 (more about this): [Category: Ultra-compact]
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