updated 10:50 am EDT, Mon August 25, 2008
Olympus SP-565UZ and More
Olympus on Monday swept through its camera line with several updates ahead of the Photokina expo. The SP-565UZ ultra-zoom keeps the 20X, 26-520mm equivalent lens range of the 570UZ but is both smaller and lighter than the earlier camera. It makes a few minor sacrifices to reach this goal, including a smaller 2.5-inch preview LCD (down from 2.7); in exchange, the camera gains a microSD adapter to use the normally cellphone-oriented cards to store photos.
The camera continues to shoot at a native 10 megapixels and will drop to three megapixels in return for a fast 13.5 frames per second mode. Olympus doesn't plan to ship the 565UZ until October but will sell it for $400, or a full $100 less than the 570UZ.
Two Stylus updates front the compact camera updates. The 10-megapixel 1050SW is Olympus' rugged entry and meets US military-grade durability levels with the ability to handle five-foot drops, temperatures as low as 14F, and complete submersion underwater as far down as ten feet. A new accelerometer also adds tap control: users can hit the back, top, or sides of the camera to take photos and make basic changes even when gloves would make normal button presses impossible. The camera supports both face detection and microSD storage and should be ready in October at a $300 price point.
The simpler Stylus 1040 shares an identical resolution but removes the extra protection in favor of a slimmer body that measures 0.65 inches thick. Its features are otherwise identical to the 1050SW but see a reduced price to $200 for the 1040's October shipping timeframe.
A pair of FE models round out the update. Both the FE-360 and FE-370 shoot at eight megapixels and offer face detection. The FE-360 produces just basic shots with a 3X zoom lens and ISO-based stabilization, while the FE-370 shoots further with a 5X lens, adds sensor-shift stabilization, and adds a smarter sensor with smile detection and a full automatic scene adjustment mode for beginners. The differences result in a $150 price for the FE-360 and $200 for the FE-370 when the two go on sale before the end of August.