It hardly seems five minutes since we were singing the praises of the last ruggedised Olympus camera, and now the toughest of them all has come bouncing and swimming its way through a remote jungle and into our paws.

While previous Olympus SW models have been waterproof to two or three metres, the 1030 SW has been beefed up to handle depths of 10m, as well as being shockproof for drops of up to 2m, crushproof to weights of 100kg and freezeproof to -10°C.

Incredibly for a rugged gadget, it’s far from hideous too. Somehow Olympus has made one of the toughest snappers in the world look, if not stunning, then at least pretty. It’s even available in three different colours, gawd bless it.

Versatile performer

Since the 1030 SW is likely to be taken to all kinds of places and used in all kinds of situations, it’s just as well that it can perform well under most circumstances.

In good light conditions, on dry land, it takes excellent shots with strong colours and good detail. Low light’s a problem, as there’s no optical image stabiliser and the pics are very noisy at high ISO – but thankfully the flash is decent.

After an underwater sojourn, you’ll be impressed how well things come out. Forget those terrible disposable underwater cams you used last time; this is the real deal. Video footage is similarly pleasing.

Review continues after the break...

Clear as water

Given that it’s so easy to get disorientated beneath the ocean wave, it’s nice to see that Olympus has kept controls on the 1030 SW to a minimum. A D-pad and a fairly chunky mode dial on the back handle most functions, and the menus on the 2.7in screen are nice and clear.

More good news is that, if you find underwater shooting is the best thing you’ve ever done, there’s an optional underwater housing that’ll take it down to 40m for some scuba action. Time to get diving.


Stuff says... 

Olympus Mju 1030 SW review

A sexy snapper that can be taken to the extremes and still produce good snaps