Olympus Stylus 720 SW camera, waterproof for sure!

Olympus Stylus S720 under tap copyright Panbo

Honey, I think that man down there kneeling on the water taxi float is drowning a cell phone or camera or something!” I must have looked weird trying to see if this borrowed Olympus Stylus 720 SW really could survive a salt water dip. I took pictures underwater (of murky Boston Harbor), rinsed the thing off under the tap, above, and… it’s still working fine. That’s impressive, and very nice to have around a boat (tip of the hat to Eli Boat, where I learned about it). But I’ll leave the extensive reviews/feature lists to the pros at Steve’s Digicams, Digicam Review, and Digital Camera Info—so I can just bitch about some minor issues:

Olympus Stylus S720 odd usb* Why would Olympus use what seems to be a proprietary mini USB plug? That’s it at right (photographed with the 720 SW) next to a normal mini USB plug which works for my Canon XT camera and all sorts of other devices. And why couldn’t its relatively small battery be charged via the USB cable (like my new Motorola phone)? At any rate, owners of the 720 SW do have to drag along a special interface cable and a charger that’s bigger than the camera.

* While the 720 SW has lots of shooting modes—some very specific and useful, like shooting through glass (changes how the autofocus thinks)—it does not let you use traditional camera settings like shutter speed and F stop, which traditional photographers (like me) may find quite annoying. It also has no view finder at all and, though the LCD is brighter than other digital cams I’ve used, its still hard to use in bright sunshine.

* Finally, like the folks at Digital Camera Info above, I wasn’t all that tickled by the quality of the photos the Stylus took. Below, and bigger here
, is one of the best (a 2 photo collage, actually, showing the view from my roof). But then again, I am used to a very good digital SLR; I suspect a lot of people will be pleased with this camera’s performance, and especially its ability to take abuse.

323 roof view

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

4 Responses

  1. Eliboat says:

    I know that spot quite well! I have been quite happy with my Pentax Optio WP for about a year now. The pictures are actually not as good as the Olympus, but I love that it is the one piece of gadgetry that I never worry about. It is always in my pocket taking abuse, and I have gotten it wet accidentally plenty of times meaning that I would have detroyed several normal cameras by now. For most situations I have been very pleased with the camera.

  2. Anonymous says:

    After having a couple other cameras fail to live under sailing condidtions, i’m still looking for the perfect “boat camera”. Friends have just bought this one, and it looks pretty close; rugged-feeling in hand, and more than capable enough for the sorts of casual photography one would likely use such a camera for. The one lacking feature, to me anyways, is the absence of a decent wide-end to the zoom range; telephoto is nearly useless from the deck of a moving sailboat, whereas i can never seem to “zoom with my feet” wide enough to catch onboard action.

  3. vickyinstlouis says:

    did you have to do anything special to use the 720 underwater? I want to take mine kayaking and shallow snorkling but don’t know if I need to change any settings … I misplaced the manual months ago. Thanks for the response!

  4. George says:

    Lucky you. Mine stopped working after 3 weeks for no reason at all. Walmart won’t let me take it back either. What a waste. 🙁

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