The Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is a pocket-size camera with specifications that include: waterproof to 3m (10ft), shockproof to 1.5m (5ft), functional to –10 C, a 10.1 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom lens, digital image stabilization and some neat new features.


There are a number of things I love about the 1050 SW. Olympus has gone back to a metal casing giving it a very solid feel (some previous models in the SW series used some plastic to reduce weight). They added a sliding cover to protect the lens and flash, and to function as a power switch. The 1050 SW also includes an innovative “Tap Control” feature that, when enabled, allows you to control user-selectable camera functions by tapping on the top, sides, and back. By default, tapping on the back puts the camera into playback mode, and then tapping on the left or right sides changes to the previous or next image respectively. Tapping twice on the top exits the mode, tapping on the left gives access to the flash setting, and tapping on the right is for shadow adjustment. However, the user can select which functions they wish to access by tap. Combined with the sliding lens cover, the tap control feature makes the camera much easier to use while wearing gloves, and that’s great in cold weather.

I tested the camera around the house and during my daughter’s skating lesson, and it produced good quality images with the accurate colours we have come to expect from Olympus. I found the 3x optical zoom a bit limiting in the arena, but it’s not really fair to expect more from a pocket camera with an internal lens, and a 10 megapixel image leaves a lot of room for cropping. The image stabilization was a great help when I turned off the flash.

At one point during testing I removed the 1050 SW from my jacket pocket and found the lens cover open. However, the camera had apparently switched itself off to save power. Since most people would probably keep the camera in a small case to protect it from being scratched, I don’t think it will be much of a problem. I also found that the battery could be accidentally inserted backwards, which is a bit unusual for digital cameras. However, it just resulted in no power to the camera, didn’t appear to do any damage, and reversing the battery had the camera working again in seconds.

Overall, the Olympus Stylus 1050 SW is an attractive, functional, and well built pocket camera that, in the tradition of the SW series, really can be taken almost anywhere. The low temperature rating combined with glove-friendly features also make it a good gift option this holiday season.

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