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Olympus took a big leap in creating an 8-mega pixel compact camera in the form of Olympus Stylus 800. Was the risk worth it? Let’s take a look.

First of all, Stylus 800 boasts of being one of the first 8 mega pixel all-weather digital cameras out in the market today. Like other cameras in the Olympus stylus series, Stylus 800 can be used rain or shine. A splash of water does not compromise does not compromise picture quality but that doesn’t mean you can take the camera underwater. In short, the camera was built to resist a splash and not a wave.

Like many other digital cameras, Stylus 800 features a 3X optical zoom lens—something which Olympus could have improved considering the high resolution the camera offers. It also supports a VGA movie mode and boasts of a 32 megabyte internal memory.

Although a 32 megabyte internal memory is twice the average 16 megabytes featured in many cameras, only 21.3 MB is usable for storage in the Stylus 800 which means the numbers are not really that far off. Also, only four JPEG images at the highest quality (this is an 8 mega pixel camera, remember?) can be stored in the internal memory. You would want to buy a larger memory card to be able to really use the camera. In order to appreciate the high resolution the camera offers, a 1 GB XD card would be the best choice.

Another error Olympus made was in using a LI-12B lithium-ion battery. The batter has 4.5 working hours which is good for a compact camera. However, Stylus 800, all-weather camera as it is, would have done better with AA batteries that can be bought anywhere at anytime, instead of a rechargeable LI battery that cannot be recharged on the beach or in the woods.

Stylus 800 is fairly compact and fits well in ones hand. It is made with a mixture of metal and plastic and to make the camera weather proof, the important parts are protected by rubber gaskets.

You cannot attach an external flash to the camera but Stylus 800 makes up with its 0.2-65 m at wide angle and 0.2-3.5 m at telephoto flash range, which is a lot better than other compact cameras in the market.

Another good feature of the camera is its 2.5 LCD display which has 215,000 pixels resolution which makes images on the display nice and sharp. Stylus has the best low-light visibility LCD in the market as well. The camera does not feature an optical viewfinder or a peep hole but most amateur camera users do not use them anyway.

At ISO speed of 1000, 4X6 prints using blur reduction mode featured by Stylus 800 turn out to be high-quality images. Pictures do not have the grainy noise like the Fuji F10 has when using high ISO.

Lastly, Stylus 800 allows for a very limited manual control over exposure. You can control the shutter and aperture priority modes but a full manual mode cannot be found.

For an amateur photographer, Olympus Stylus 800 can be good enough (although it is not really much better than other cameras of its range). One of the best features of the camera is its all-weather protection, which suits any photographer on the go. However, if you are a professional photographer who uses SLR cameras and then wants to shift to digital cameras, Olympus Stylus 800 might not be able to cater to your needs.

About the Author: Steve Campbell is the author of The Discount Electronics Report and an expert on Home Electronics. Visit his website for more information about Discount Digital Cameras

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