Olympus Tough 1050SW
Tough but a little on the slow side.
- 3m waterproof and 1.5m shockproof, can survive in low temperatures, tap controls
- Lots of chromatic aberration, extremely slow shot-to-shot and burst modes
Unfortunately the Tough 1050SW is a bit of a step backwards in the otherwise excellent tough series. Its extreme levels of haloing are problematic and the overall performance is downright slow. The tap control system is pretty innovative, however, and the pictures are good aside from the chromatic aberration.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
It’s always a welcome surprise when we get a chance to really beat up on a product and that’s exactly what we do to Olympus' 'tough' range of cameras. The latest unit, the Tough 1050SW, is an upgrade to the Tough 850SW and provides a 10-megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom. It also features a funky new control mechanism known as tap control, which should prove popular with skiers (as will the fact that it can survive in temperatures as low as -10°C).
The 1050SW isn’t quite as tough as its predecessor, the Tough 1030SW. It is waterproof to three meters and shockproof to 1.5 meters, which makes it fine as a beach or pool camera but doesn’t quite give it the flexibility granted by the Tough 1030SW’s 10m water capabilities. Still it passed all the tests we could throw at it and is as sturdy as always. One small issue we had was that often when we dropped the unit the slide panel on the front would flip down, turning it on if it wasn’t already.
The other feature of note is the 1050SW’s tap control system. Primarily designed for skiers so they don’t have to remove their gloves, it allows several of the camera’s options to be tweaked just by tapping the edges. The sides correspond to flash and shadow adjustment, while tapping the screen brings up playback mode. From there you can tap the sides to scroll through pictures, which is a pretty intuitive way of scanning through a slideshow.
This functionality can also be activated by simply tapping the top of the unit twice, so you can switch it on and off without removing your gloves. We found it wasn’t quite sensitive enough on the default setting, but fortunately there is a calibration option and with a little tweaking it worked flawlessly.
Like its predecessors the 1050SW has a tiny lens. However there are trade-offs; namely, a huge amount of chromatic aberration. This camera was one of the worst we’ve seen recently in this regard, with significant detail loss in corners and a large amount haloing and purple fringing. Some of it isn’t noticeable at very small print sizes, but the fringing was bad enough to be visible regardless of magnification.
Aside from that issue our shots were crisp and clarity was as good as we’d expect from a 10-megapixel unit. Colour balance suffered a little, however, as there are no custom white balance or colour tweaking options. Reds were surprisingly accurate but greens and yellows were noticeably darker than they should have been.
Noise performance was pretty standard for a compact camera. Everything up to ISO 400 produces acceptable shots; however, at ISO 800 the noise jumps up significantly and by ISO 1600 images are a total mess.
Unfortunately in our speed tests the 1050SW was a disappointment. Shot-to-shot time was the big offender here, with a delay usually in excess of four seconds which is just inexcusable. The burst mode was also very slow, taking roughly a shot every two seconds. There is a high-speed option, but it reduces the resolution to 3 megapixels. Start-up time was pretty poor, too, at 3.5 seconds; there was a very minimal 0.05 seconds of shutter lag, however.
The unit’s features are pretty much what you’d expect. It has image stabilisation, face detection and shadow adjustment to achieve balanced exposure. Olympus’ panorama mode is also included which is a very funky and simple way of stitching together great pictures.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCProject Scheduler-Port MacquarieQLD
- CCApplication Solution Designer (Automation) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- FTOracle Forms PL/SQL Analyst ProgrammerQLD
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXVIC
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedVIC
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- CCSalesforce - Functional Analyst (BA)NSW
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- FTInfrastructure Security Compliance OfficerNSW
- FTIT Project Coordinator - Mascot/AlexandriaNSW
- CCProject Manager (Event Management)NSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerNSW
- CCManager AnalyticsNSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW