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Olympus µ 1050 SW / Stylus 1050 SW Gordon Laing, December 2008

Olympus µ 1050 SW / Stylus 1050 SW Gallery

The following images were taken with an Olympus µ 1050 SW / Stylus 1050 SW. The 1050 SW was set to 10M Fine JPEG quality, Auto White Balance and ESP metering. The sensitivity was set to Auto for the first three images, but set manually for the remaining five. Image Stabilisation was enabled for all these handheld shots.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note: you may wish to open a number of galleries for direct comparison of detail and noise: Pentax Optio W60, Canon PowerShot SD 880IS / IXUS 870 IS sample images, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX35 sample images.

Landscape: 4.54MB, Program, 1/640, f4.5, ISO 80, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  This first shot was taken with the 1050 SW under bright, direct sunlight at its lowest sensitivity, so represents ideal conditions.

The crops as you'd hope, are clean and detailed, although there's evidence of coloured fringing and softness towards the corners which we saw on our first results page.

This shot was also taken with the 1050 SW fully zoomed-out, although at an equivalent of 38mm, it's not particularly wide and only just squeezed in the sail.

Landscape: 4.24MB, Program, 1/400, f3.5, ISO 80, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Another shot taken under bright conditions with the Olympus zoomed-out to its widest-angle.

We shot this at a very low angle, from which the 1050 SW's screen remained fairly visible.

As with the first gallery shot, the crops are clean and detailed as you'd expect at 80 ISO, although there's some softening as you approach the edges and corners.

Underwater: 4.53MB, Underwater, 1/320, f3.5, ISO 80, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  The 1050 SW's unique selling point is of course its ability to take photos while fully submerged at depths up to 3m. Here's an example taken under the chilly surface of Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu with its Underwater Snapshot preset.

The screen is reasonably easy to view underwater, and flash good for distances of a couple of meters. So long as your subject is relatively close, you can grab good shots.

The 1050 SW opted for 80 ISO for a clean, noise-free result, and the camera's done a good job of focusing and exposing here.

Portrait: 3.90MB, Program, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 200, 6.7-20.1mm at 20.1mm (equivalent to 114mm)

  For this portrait shot we zoomed the 1050 SW into its longest focal length at an equivalent of 114mm, activated face detection and manually set the sensitivity to 200 ISO.

The camera locked onto the subject's face with relative ease here, although can struggle with profiles. At its longest focal length and only one third of a stop from its maximum aperture though, there's not much chance of ever achieving a small depth of field.

Like most compacts at 200 ISO, the crops show an increase in noise artefacts and a reduction in ultimate detail.

Macro: 3.93MB, Program, 1/500, f4, ISO 400, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus in its Super Macro Mode.

The 1050 SW claims a closest focusing distance of 7cm in this mode, but we managed to get at least 2cm closer and maintain sharpness.

Like most compact macro modes, there's softening in the corners, but impressively little geometric distortion here.

The increase to 400 ISO hasn't been too detrimental in this example, but the subject matter is quite forgiving.


Indoor: 3.87MB, Program, 1/40, f3.5, ISO 400, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our first indoor shot was taken with the 1050 SW at 400 ISO under artificial light.

Face detection was beginning to struggle a little here, but just about managed to lock-on.

Like most compacts under the same conditions, there's a noticeable increase in noise artefacts here, especially in flat areas of colour, but the magazine covers still contain a fair amount of detail.

The result looks acceptable for most common print sizes.

Indoor: 4.09MB, Program, 1/20, f3.5, ISO 800, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. As such, there's an unsurprising increase in visible noise levels here, with the result only really acceptable at smaller sizes.

Of greater concern though is the camera shake due to the relatively slow shutter speed and lack of any sensor-shift or optical stabilisation.

As you'll see in our other galleries, a speed of 1/20 is well within the capabilities of anti-shake systems to counteract, but here the 1050 SW has no choice but to further increase the sensitivity and lose quality.

Indoor: 4.03MB, Program, 1/40, f3.5, ISO 1600, 6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (equivalent to 38mm)

  Our final indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity at 1600 ISO.

Here's there's a significant reduction in quality with undesirable artefacts through noise and noise reduction.

This is par for the course for most compacts, but the important thing to note here is most compacts can also avoid high sensitivities thanks to their image stabilisation.

Sadly the 1050 SW, like the Pentax W60, relies on high sensitivities for digital stabilisation.

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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