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Olympus Stylus

12427-1464462-thumbnail.jpgOK.  To get this out of the way, here's a quick review of the camera used for these photos.  It's the Olympus Stylus 1030SW.  I purchased this camera right before leaving and had no experience with it prior.  After three weeks in the bush, I'm comfortable saying that it's the best pocket digital camera I've ever used.
I bought the 1030SW originally because it is so tough.  The S and W stand for "Shockproof" and "Waterproof" respectively.  What they left off is that the camera is also Freezeproof, Dustproof and Crushproof!  As their website says, the camera design "gives active people the confidence to take this camera anywhere and shoot in nearly any condition."  More from the website:
Accidents happen. A rugged metal body and revolutionary shock-absorbing construction are designed to withstand a 6.6-foot fall, drop or other mishap.

Innovative waterproof seals and gaskets allow you to take underwater movies and amazing pictures in a pool, lake or ocean.

Perfect for skiing, snowboarding, sledding and other winter fun, this camera is winterized to perform at below-freezing temperatures.

With a rugged body and reinforced LCD, the Stylus 1030 SW withstands up to 220 pounds of pressure so your camera and images are protected.

A wider field of view ensures you’ll never miss anyone or anything in your shot. Great for shooting landscapes, underwater scenery, group portraits and amazing panoramic pictures.

2.7” HyperCrystal™ II LCD.
With improved contrast and color reproduction, the HyperCrystal II LCD offers a more accurate and precise image display, as well as an extra-wide viewing angle and increased visibility in direct sunlight.
In addition to these pysical features, this camera also has some great firmware.  There's about a million custom adjustments you can apply to your photographs before taking them (which I've yet to learn!), a "steady cam" feature that gives you crisp photos even if the camera is moving (say on the back of a camel!) and the lens has a "supermacro" feature, which allows you to take great photos of things mere inches away (like that mosquito biting your arm!).  Other features include a rapid frame setting that uses the camera's video capabilities to simulate ultra-fast shutter speeds.  This is great for sports photos or action shots, such as the saluki chasing your land cruiser at 30 miles an hour.
 Oh, and did I mention great battery life?
Anyway, if you're in the market for the (currently) ultimate adventure/extreme camera, make sure to check out the Olympus 1030SW.

The above is all well and good, however I must report that the camera has turned out to be a total dud.  Whether I got a lemon, or it's simply vastly over-sold, I can't say.  What I can say is that my camera has been a complete failure!
I have had three total failures at this point, ironically one from a small fall (slipped off my lap to a grass lawn while seated), one from altitude (it ceased to take pictures above 5,000m in Nepal) and once under water (took it snorkeling and the case leaked, taking out the photo sensor shortly after getting back on the boat). 
While Best Buy has agreed to fix it (I got the extended warranty, even tho it is still under the factory warranty as well),  they've refused to replace it.  So, while it is working again, I no longer use this camera for travel.  I've lost too many photo opportunities to trust it. 
As you can see, this camera has no more business being in "extreme" environments than a $100 snappy cam.  Oh well.  It was certainly worth a try.

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