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Olympus mju 1030 SW - Olympus mju 1030 SW

By Jamie Harrison



Our Score:


Another useful tool is the exposure compensation. This is of course available on most cameras, but Olympus has implemented a very nice version. When selected the LCD screen goes into split screen mode, with the effect of the various steps of exposure in real time, so you can scroll through to the desired exposure setting. Very nice. The feature can also be used post capture in the edit menu.

Olympus has also added a shadow exposure adjustment button, which opens up the darker areas of the image before capture. This is similar to systems employed by other manufacturers, but the button is readily available and it's simple to operate so it's more likely to be used.

Another useful, and increasingly popular too, which Olympus has added to the camera is Face Detection, enhancing the auto focus by searching for faces in the frame, and the exposure system then provides the best exposure for that subject.

The 1030 SW has a large 2.7inch Hypercrystal LCD, which is said to enhance the brightness of the screen in bright sunlight, while Olympus' BrightCapture Technology is used to brighten the LCD in low light conditions to allow easier framing of the image. BrightCapture is also used in the low light scene modes to enhance the detail and colour of the images when flash isn't being used.

The metering system uses Olympus' ESP system, recognised from the myriad of cameras it's produced over the years. This allows multi pattern metering to provide the best exposure across the whole scene. A spot metering mode is also included for more tricky or precise needs. Centre weighted metering is not included, but the camera does have a live histogram. How much of a help this is on a camera with no manual controls and that's aimed at consumers, I'm not sure.

In general terms the camera handles really well. The screen is bright enough to use in demanding conditions, including nightclubs and on bright direct sunlight. The back of the camera has a main control dial to reduce the amount of buttons presumably but it can easily be knocked to a different setting if you're not careful.

The other buttons are small, but raised enough to be able to be pressed easily and efficiently. My one criticism is that the engravings aren't cleared marked, and you have to angle the camera in certain lights to be able to see which button you need, which is annoying and slows operation down somewhat. I dare say with constant use, you'd get used to their positions and functions though.

Andrew Katz

August 5, 2008, 7:50 pm

Good review. I bought the camera on the strength of it, and I am very impressed. I've just been on holiday in the Caribbean, and the camera performed pretty much faultlessly. I took some great pictures snorkelling, and it's good to have a camera you can slob around with on the beach and not worry about sand getting into the works. It's also pretty much kid-proof. The only two negative comments are (1) I ran out of battery power one day: I think I must have left it switched on by accident, and didn't have the power saving mode enabled. Once I enabled power saving mode, it was fine; and (2) it may be fussy about third party memory cards. The supplied XD card worked fine, as did a Veho 4GB micro SD card which I popped in the supplied XD-micro SD adapter. A Kingston 4GB micro SD card was not so happy, however, and I kept on getting "contacts dirty" errors. I wouldn't hold this against the camera, though. The bottom line is that, for beach-holiday snapping, it's pretty much unbeatable. Even torch mode was invaluable when I needed to pick my way across an unlit beach in the dark.

Andrew Hicks

January 6, 2009, 6:31 pm

Great litle camera so far but the video recording time was bugging me as its only 10 secs in VGA 30fps. Then I got this from customer services when asked why 10secs:


There are no technical reasons but law restriction.

The reason for the limited video length in our newly released cameras are the criteria for customs classification, reinterpreted since November by EU.

The Tariff and Statistical Nomenclature Section of the EU Customs Code Committee now resolved on following criteria for customs classification:

Cameras that comply with following relating criteria are no longer free of duty:

• video recording capability of minimum 30 minutes for one sequence

• resolution of 800 x 600 pixels or more

• frame rate of 23 fps or more.

Cameras with these 3 features will be classified under Code 8525 80 91 in the future and subjected to customs duty. The tax rate here is 12,9% (and it would surely affect prices)


Anyone know if this applies to all countries, possiblity of getting it to last longer by putting another countries software on the camera.

Geoff Richards

January 6, 2009, 9:29 pm

It would appear they are attempting to define a "video camera" from a "digital camera", and charge duty on the former. The curious thing is you say 30 seconds, not 30 minutes, and VGA is 640 x 480 pixels, which is less than 800 x 600...

Is it ALL three features, or just any one out of three?


February 6, 2009, 5:40 pm

This firmware update allows full 640x480 30fps to the capacity of the card http://www.olympus.co.uk/co...

as long as you buy olympus cards of course.

Can't decide between this camera and the new m tough-6000 which is only shockproof not crushproof but has more features.


August 10, 2009, 2:31 pm

Great heavy duty camera, was perfect in the water too....... Seems to have a defect though. I used it in the water for the 4th or 5th time after purchasing the black one 8 months ago and the paint was literally pealing off in the water as if it were a sticker. Camera was never left in the sun and i washed it under tap water after each use at the beach. PLEASE LET ME KNOW if there is anyone else out there with the same defect with there sw 1030.


September 11, 2009, 12:29 am

i got this camera because my work takes me outdoors. bittersweet affair for me with this camera.

Peeling is normal. i got my 1030 panel replaced under warranty so you better do it soon. pls choose the silver panel otherwse the painted ones will peel again.

i rate this camera 5/10. takes terrible images in low light conditions, stiff trigger button that causes blur pictures unless u use anti handshake (which results in high noise especially when in low light). silly engineers never included a memory when choosing scenery or in anti handshake.... you always need to reprogram to your preferences including flash conditions when you have changed the modes via the dial or power off. very irritating.

my ancient nikon 5200 takes better pictures than this camera. to improve further, rugged cameras should have optical viewfinder. why? what if you shatter the viewing screen?

whats worthy? waterproof, shock resistance, led light in macro (good as flashlight or lighting up other people's shooting), macro,

better to try panasonic version which is a collaboration with olympus. i reckon it takes better pictures.


December 9, 2015, 3:16 pm

Mine has started peeling too. I like its compactness and the fact that with my ageing trembling hands it can survive being dropped. However, as my favourite light for taking photos is twilight this is not the best.

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