Review of the Olympus Stylus 800 Digital Camera

Olympus Stylus 800 is a very compact, weather-proof digital camera featuring 8 Megapixels resolution, large 2.5 inch HyperCrystal LCD screen, 3x optical and 5x digital zoom, 19 automatic scene modes, built-in help guide, and some other nice features.

Despite being a small (4″ x 2.3″ x 1.3″), pocket-size camera, Stylus 800 has a strong, solid feel. Its metal body is reinforced with rubber gaskets to keep out moisture, allowing you to safely use the camera outside when it rains or snows (the weather-proof design).

The 2.5 inch LCD screen, very large and clear, is located on the back of the camera, taking most of the back panel space. The big screen gives a very good view of the photos, in bright outdoor conditions as well as in darker areas; however, Stylus 800 does not have a viewfinder. On the back panel you will also find the menu control disk, zoom control, and the mode dial.

The top deck hosts On/Off button and the shutter release button. Battery compartment, USB, Audio & Video ports are located on the side. Stylus 800 stores the photos on the built-in 21.3 MB internal memory or on an xD-Picture memory card; the slot for the xD card is at the bottom of the camera.

While a 3x optical zoom is not much by today’s standards, combined with the 5x digital zoom it gives the overall 15x total zoom capability, which works fairly well. The built-in lens is retractable, with a cover that opens when the camera is powered on; when you turn the power off, the lens retracts and the cover closes. The maximum aperture is F/2.8 at wide-angle and F/4.9 at telephoto.

The camera is an excellent point-and-shooter. It has 19 pre-set automatic scene modes (like Landscape, Portrait, Night Portrait, etc.); all you need to do is select a scene, and then take a picture without worrying about all the settings. However, manual modes are available as well: Aperture and Shutter Priority. Altogether, Stylus 800 has 24 shooting modes.

The camera has a built-in help guide; although very basic, it is very helpful when you need a quick explanation/reminder of something and do not want to look in the manual. Another neat feature is the built-in editing: after taking a picture, you can play around with it turning it into black & white or sepia, resizing and rotating. You can also remove the red eye right there on the spot.

Like most digital cameras nowadays, Stylus 800 has a Movie Mode, with audio, allowing you to shoot videos as well as pictures. As I’ve already mentioned, the USB port is provided to connect the camera to a PC or Mac and upload pictures. Pictures can also be printed out directly from the camera using the PictBridge technology, on PictBridge-enabled printers.

Olympus Stylus 800 comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and a charger. Also included in the package are software CD-ROM, manual, USB/A/V cables, and a wrist strap. The camera costs around $310-$399, depending on where you buy.

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