Support Cameralabs by shopping at my partner stores or buying me a coffee!
Buy me a coffee!

Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
  Latest camera reviews

Lumix G80 / G85
Olympus OMD EM1 II
Sony RX10 Mark III
Sony RX100 Mark V
Nikon COOLPIX B700
Sony A6500
Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500
Nikon COOLPIX B500
Lumix LX10 / LX15
Fujifilm XT2
Nikon D3400
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Ricoh GR II
Canon G7X Mark II
Canon SX720 HS
Canon EOS 80D
Olympus TG Tracker
Nikon D500 review
Canon EOS 1300D / T6
Lumix GX80 / GX85
Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X70
Lumix TZ80 ZS60
Sony A6300
Canon PowerShot G5X
Lumix TZ100 ZS100
Sony A7s Mark II
Sony RX10 II
Lumix FZ330 / FZ300
Sony RX100 IV
Canon G9X
Fujifilm XT10
Nikon COOLPIX L840
Canon SX530 HS
Olympus OMD EM10 II
Canon SX410 IS
Panasonic Lumix GX8
Olympus TOUGH TG860
Sony A7r Mark II
Canon PowerShot D30
Olympus TOUGH TG4
Canon PowerShot G3X
Canon EOS 5Ds
Nikon COOLPIX S9900
Sony HX90V
Canon EOS T6s 760D
Panasonic Lumix G7
Panasonic Lumix SZ8
Canon EOS M3
Olympus EPL7
Samsung NX3000
Panasonic Lumix GM5
Nikon D5500
Panasonic Lumix GF7
Olympus OMD EM5 II
Nikon COOLPIX S9700
Canon SX710 HS
Panasonic TZ70 / ZS50
Sony Alpha A7 Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Fujifilm X100T
Nikon COOLPIX S3600
Sony Alpha A5100
Sigma DP1 Quattro
Sony Cyber-shot W830
Nikon COOLPIX L830
Nikon D750
Canon SX400 IS
Sony Cyber-shot H400
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Canon SX60 HS
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon COOLPIX P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
  Best Buys: our top models
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories

Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
  DSLR Tips

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW Gordon Laing, December 2007

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW lens and sensor

The Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW is equipped with a 3x optical zoom delivering an equivalent range of 38-114mm with a focal ratio of f3.5-5.0; the actual focal length is 6.7-20.1mm and we counted a relatively coarse ten steps when zooming from wide angle to telephoto. The closest focusing distance is a modest 7cm in Super Macro mode with the lens zoomed all the way out. As you’d expect for a water-proof model, the 790 SW’s lens remains within the camera body at all times; this allows the camera to be ready for action in about one second.

The 3x optical zoom range is fairly unremarkable, neither offering true wide angle capabilities nor a longer reach. This is a shame as compacts with 28mm equivalent coverage at wide angle really are very useful in a variety of situations. To illustrate the 790 SW’s coverage we mounted it on a tripod and shot the same scene fully zoomed-out, then fully zoomed-in. We then shot the same scene from the same position using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 which is equipped with a 28-100mm optical range.

Support this site by shopping via these links


Olympus µ 790 SW coverage wide
Panasonic Lumix FX33 coverage wide
6.7-20.1mm at 6.7mm (38mm equivalent)
4.6-16.4mm at 4.6mm (28mm equivalent)

It’s immediately clear from the coverage examples above how the 28mm equivalent of the Panasonic FX33 can capture a much wider field of view than the 38mm of the Olympus. This is not just useful for big landscapes, but equally handy for interiors, big group shots or situations when you can’t step back any further.

The examples below taken with each camera fully zoomed-in show the 790 SW getting slightly closer with its 114mm equivalent to the Panasonic’s 100mm, but given the choice most people would find the wider angle capabilities more useful.

Olympus µ 790 SW coverage tele
Panasonic Lumix FX33 coverage tele
6.7-20.1mm at 20.1mm (114mm equivalent)
4.6-16.4mm at 16.4mm (100mm equivalent)

Sadly the Olympus 790 SW is not equipped with optical or sensor-shift stabilisation. Instead its Blur reduction mode just increases the sensitivity to achieve quicker shutter speeds at the cost of image quality. See our Results and Gallery pages for examples of the 790 SW at higher sensitivities to see why this is not a desirable situation.

µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW focusing and flash

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - AF menu

The Olympus 790 SW offers three AF modes: Face detect, iESP (which attempts to identify the primary subject) and Spot focusing (which uses the AF target marks). In terms of close-up modes, the 790 SW actually features three different macro settings: normal Macro mode focuses down to 30cm, Super Macro gets closer at 7cm, while S-macro LED mode keeps the 7cm closest focusing distance, but in a nice touch, cunningly shines a bright LED in the front of the camera to illuminate the subject. It’s also possible to illuminate the LED by pressing and holding a button on the back, although it’s best used for close subjects.

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - flash

There’s four flash options: Auto, red-eye reduction, fill-in (always on), and flash-off. In use the flash and face detection worked fine when photographing people in relatively dim interiors, although wasn’t as swift as models like Canon’s Ixus 860IS PowerShot SD870.

790 SW sensor and processing

The Olympus 790 SW is equipped with a 7.1 Megapixel CCD sensor, measuring 1/ 2.33in. This generates 4:3 images with a maximum resolution of 3072x2304 pixels, and there’s the choice of no fewer than seven lower resolutions or 16:9 mode which operates at a reduced resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - quality Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - ISO menu

Best quality images can be recorded with the choice of two different JPEG settings, labelled as SHQ and HQ, with the former typically measuring 3MB each. There’s 14.7MB of internal memory to get you started and a slot for xD memory cards; Olympus confirms compatibility with cards up to 2GB.

The image quality is adjusted from the main menu system, while sensitivity is accessed through the Function menu. From there you can adjust the 790 SW from 80 to 1600 ISO, along with selecting an auto option.

In terms of image processing, the 790 SW offers a Shadow Adjustment option which is used to brighten people’s faces when they’re in front of a bright background. With Shadow Adjustment enabled, a number of other settings are locked, such as the AF mode to Face Detection. Shadow Adjustment is also offered on existing images along with red-eye correction as part of the 790 SW’s ‘Perfect Fix’ option during playback.

µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW movies

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - movie mode

The Olympus 790 SW offers three movie modes operating at 640x480, 320x240 and 160x120 pixels. The highest resolution mode records at 30fps, while the lower two modes record at 15fps. Set to the best quality mode, you’re looking at about 1.5MB per second of footage which is saved into an AVI format. The quality is fine, but you do miss the stabilising effect of a proper anti-shake system.

µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW burst shooting

Olympus µ 790 SW / Stylus 790 SW - drive mode

The Olympus 790 SW offers two Continuous shooting options but the company makes no claims to their speed, so we fitted a 256MB Fujifilm xD Picture Card and put them to the test. Set to the normal burst mode, the 790 SW fired-off just four best-quality SHQ frames in as many seconds before stalling. Set to the high speed mode, the quality was automatically reduced to SQ1 at 3 Megapixels, upon which we fired-off 37 frames in just over 10 seconds, corresponding to a much more useful rate of at least 3fps.

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ Best Cameras / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs