Submitted: 08-30-2006 by Jsaults
I bought this camera so that I could get the "grab" shots on the water that I missed since going 100% digital. I dabated between a Pentax and the Olympus, and chose the Olympus for no particular reason other than that I have owned several of their film cameras.
Before using the camera I applied some E-Grips sticky rubber (sold for cell phones) to make the camera easier to hold with wet hands. Then it was off to Summersville Lake for testing. All in all, I am pleased with the quality of the shots. Color & exposure seem well-balanced even in the PHD mode (Push Here Dummy). The 7 MP size allows for reasonable blow-ups and cropping. User-settable modes are many, and easy to access (not buried in a sub-directory).
The really big test was a week on and around the Youghiogheny River. I came away with bundles of good shots of friends in rafts, in kayaks, in canoes, in the water and in all conceivable situations, because I was able to stow the camera in my PFD pocket (on a lanyard, of course) ready for a quick shot. Sure, some shots were fuzzy from motion, or not accurately framed, but taking lots of pictures leaves you with many options for editing.
While I missed not having an optical viewfinder, the LCD is bright enough to compose shots in bright sunlight. Polarized sunglasses can cause the display to apparently black out if the orientation is wrong!
Several caveats though: The mild zoom lens will not bring that distant eagle close enough to touch, but this camera is made for candid snaps and not nature photography. And after a dunking, it is possible to have a smear of water on the lens after the protective shutter swings open. You need to carry a microfibre lens wiper as insurance. And you had better buy a spare battery: With an LCD-only viewfinder, battery life is not impressive.