Olympus Stylus 7010 Review
The Olympus Stylus 7010 brings a wide-angle optical zoom lens in an ultra-compact body with a pretty long reach, going from 28 to 196mm in 35mm terms. It is fitted with a 12 megapixel senor and a 2.7" LCD with 230K pixels. This is entirely point and shoot camera with very few controls but it is relatively simple to use.
|12 Megapixels sensor|
|7X stabilized wide-angle optical zoom, equivalent to 28-196mm, F3 / 5.9-F8|
|ISO Sensitivity from 64 to 1600|
|Shutter-speeds from 1/2000s to 4s|
|Automatic white-balance, 6 white-balance presetsSunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent 1, Fluorescent 2, Fluorescent 3|
|Evaluative and spot metering|
|Exposure compensation, -2..+2 EV, 1/3 EV steps|
|Shadow adjustment feature|
|High-speed drive at 3 megapixels, 8 or 11 FPS|
|Panorma modes with in-camera and PC stitching|
|12 Second self-timer|
|640x480 30 FPS Movie mode|
|2.7" LCD 230K Pixels|
|xD and MicroSD memory supported|
|Uses a lithium-Ion battery|
Suitability - What is it good for?
The feature set of the Stylus 7010 being ultra-simple, the suitability of this digital camera revolves around its 7X stabilized wide-angle optical zoom. The bright 2.7" LCD makes it easy to see images and its HyperCrystal View technology is really effective for outdoor visibility.
It is easy to see this as a camera for family snapshots and record-keeping photographs. The slim body size and metal exterior means transporting it everywhere is not cumbersome at all.
The primary weakness in the feature set is the lack of custom white-balance which will be missed in difficult lighting, although there are 7 presets. Although there is 3 continuous shooting modes, the full-resolution one shoots 2 frames at a glacial rate, making it not really continuous. Low resolution continuous drive modes on the other hand are very fast and the LCD does show a view of the subject, contrarily to many ultra-compact in continuous drive mode.
A silly thing for tripod work, which is not a concern for most people looking at this camera, is that it only has a single 12s self-timer countdown. The tripod mount is also not exactly in the center. What a pitty, considering the panorama modes are very good.
Usability - How easy is it to use?
The Olympus Stylus 7010 is quite easy to use, mostly due to its limited feature set and a well implemented Func menu system to change common settings. The camera body lacks a grip in the front and space on the back is inexistant, so the wrist-stap is a most. It is easy enough to work with.
The first thing one notices after using the camera is how fast it is. With very few exceptions, it responds really quickly. Buttons are a little soft though so, the 4-way controller in particular, so accidental changes are easy to make. Also, since buttons are tightly packed, using the 7010 with gloves on is very frustrating.
The shutter-release is easy to use with a slight halfway point. The zoom rocker moves the lens quickly but in 10 steps which is too coarse for precise framing. Common features are accessible from the 4-way controller.
Olympus calls the screen a HyperCrystal View LCD. It uses a semi-reflective backing that lets bright light help the viewing experience. At 2.7" and 230K pixels, framing is easy and comfortable with this Stylus.
The Func button brings up a menu for changing White-Balance, ISO, Drive, Metering (Multi-Segment or Spot), image resolution and quality. The full menu system is oddly organized but since it contains few items, it is not hard to learn your way around it.
This digital camera has excellent panorama modes. Two of them stictch up to 3 images at 3 megapixels in the camera. These modes only support horizontal, left to right or right to left, stitching. One is feature based. It takes subsequent pictures automatically when some feature is matched, just be carefull of camera tilt! The other mode is more traditional as it lets the user take each image one by one with a guide for overlapping features. The last panorama mode lets you combine full-resolution images on the computer. This one has excellent flexibility as it works in all directions. This is great as panoramas stitched from portrait-oriented images have better vertical angle of view.
The Olympus Stylus 7010 is an interesting offering. It is a clear let-down in terms of image noise and details but for typical small prints this should not be an issue. Even the ISO 800 setting will make a nice small print. When we consider the good exposure, natural image colors and corner-to-corner sharpness, the total image quality is nice except for large prints. A lack of custom white-balance though is a problem in mixed lighting though.
The most impressive side of this digital camera is its speed. Every important aspect other than shot-to-shot speed is relatively fast. In good light, focusing speed is also quite good.
The package offered by the Olympus Stylus 7010 is one of simplicity and portability. At that it fullfills its niche. A great deal many competitord except though with wide-angle long-zoom lenses being not so uncommon now but the 7010 is the smallest camera with a 7X optical zoom that starts at wide-angle. An interesing option to consider is the Nikon Coolpix S640 which is also one fast ultra-compact.
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