Olympus has taken the wraps off a new compact digital camera that will enable avid shutterbugs to activate a variety of device settings by simply tapping on the camera's body.
Many consumers are already familiar with the motion-sensor technology built into gaming consoles that translate physical motion into electronic commands, noted Nadine Clark, Olympus product manager. The Stylus 1050 SW employs similar technology.
"Adjusting the camera settings is intuitive because the whole camera reacts to the way it's tapped," Clark said. "When you absolutely must get the shot in tough conditions, the Stylus 1050 SW is the camera to have at your side."
Photo Tap Dance
Featuring a 10.1-megapixel imaging sensor, the Stylus 1050 SW is housed in a rugged body that renders it impervious to sudden shocks, freezing temperatures and water. Olympus even goes as far as to claim that the new digital camera can survive five-foot drops onto the ground, operate in a snowstorm or even go swimming, and keep on clicking.
However, the camera's main claim is that it can be controlled by means of a simple tap on its top, back or sides. The camera's built-in 3-D accelerometer detects the direction of the force impinging on the camera's body and converts it into individual commands. To activate the camera's flash or built-in shadow-adjustment technology, the user simply needs to tap twice on the camera's side.
The tap technology could come in handy whenever users operate the device under less-than-optimal environmental conditions, such as when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. For example, users forced to wear gloves will find it much easier to tap on the camera's body than push a button or adjust a knob.
Even better, the lightweight, aluminum exterior of the Stylus 1050 SW mates with interior rubber gaskets and O-rings that tightly seal out the elements. According to Olympus, the seals enable the new camera to function normally while submerged to depths of approximately 10 feet (three meters).
The Stylus 1050 SW also integrates a preset underwater-scene mode that makes it easy for users to snap off photos while snorkeling or swimming in a pool. The camera lens is coated with a water repellent that prevents water droplets from getting in the way of a crystal-clear underwater shot.
The camera's TruePic III image processor is designed to make use of all the available pixel information delivered by the camera's sensor. Moreover, the user simply needs to press the shutter button and slowly pan across an entire scene in order to take panoramic shots. The camera will convert the equivalent of three individual shots into a single composite image for printing.
Users operating the camera in bright-sunlight conditions will be able to employ the device's built-in shadow-adjustment circuit to compensate for the extreme contrasts that otherwise would result in pictures with heavily shadowed areas that lack visible detail. Digital image-stabilization technology is also on tap to keep fast-moving objects free from blur.
Like all other Olympus digital point-and-shoot cameras, the Stylus 1050 is designed to work with xD-Picture Card media with a capacity of 2GB or less. However, the new digital camera also ships with a memory card adapter that will enable users to store images on microSD cards featuring up to 4GB of storage capacity.
The Stylus 1050 SW is scheduled to begin shipping in October at a suggested retail price of $299.99.