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Olympus mju 1030 SW review



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Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Olympus mju 1030 SW
  • Stylus 1030 SW 10.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - 5 mm-18.20 mm - Silver (2.7" LCD - 3.6x Optical Zoom - 3648 x 2736 Image - 640 x 480 Video - PictBridge)


Our Score:


User Score:

The original mju range was Olympus' flagship film compact and offered weatherproof protection. That was transferred to digital cameras, after overcoming the problem of heat dissipation from the electronics and sensor, with the launch of the mju 300. Olympus has taken this a step further with its recent SW range, with cameras offering full waterproofing, shock proofing and even freeze proofing. The marketing team has brought the range under the Tough moniker, highlighting the robust build of the cameras.

The 1030 SW is the latest in the Tough range and allows underwater shooting up to 10m, or 40m with the optional underwater housing. It is also shockproof and can be dropped from a height of 2m without suffering undue damage, while its crushproof credentials allow it to withstand up to 100kg. To top that lot off the case is also scratchproof. Finally it's freeze-proof to a temperature of -10°C. All in all, on the surface this could be the perfect camera for the extreme sport enthusiast, or for a family with excitable kids.

Inside the tough casing, which incidentally comes in a choice of three colours - platinum, black and British green - is a 10.1MP sensor allowing low light shooting with a top ISO speed of ISO 1600. The True Pic Turbo III processor offers the same processing engine as that of the Olympus E-3, and controls colour rendition, sharpness and noise reduction as well as faster processing for multi-burst shooting. This in particular is impressive at 5.2 frames per second for 11 frames in 3MP High Speed mode. Sequential mode at full resolution offers a more pedestrian 0.7fps over 7 frames.

The lens is a folded optical design, meaning its zoom is situated internally and doesn't extend from the case, using a periscope-like design. The zoom covers the equivalent of 28-102mm, making it one of the wider zooms on the market.

Image stabilization isn't incorporated in the lens or the sensor, instead the camera uses digital image stabilization, adjusting the ISO range to compensate for the danger of camera shake in low light.

Olympus has packed the camera with a whole bunch of features, including 24 scene modes, nicely illustrated in the menu with examples of the type of photography they are designed to deal with. This makes it a useful camera for those that aren't into photography but just want to get the best pictures they can in the circumstances. Incidentally there's a choice of 3 underwater modes, verifying the cameras waterproof capabilities.

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/consu...

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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