Consumers who place a premium on ultra-compact size must be prepared to accept certain realities - mini digicams obviously can’t be expected to compete on an equal footing with full sized models.
Like the first Stylus, the 790 SW is eminently pocketable and capable of capturing exceptional snapshots and memory photos with little effort on the part of the photographer. If that’s not enough, the diminutive 790SW is built like a tank and can be taken along on adventures (like back country hiking, rock climbing, off-road biking, snorkeling, skiing, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, hang gliding, and white water rafting) that would require leaving most other digicams at home.
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Image quality isn’t the 790 SW’s strong point, but it isn’t particularly bad either at lower ISOs. Colors aren’t quite as saturated as they can be on some other cameras, but they do look fairly accurate. The images also aren’t as sharp as I’d like to see, but not terribly so, and given that this is a waterproof camera, that’s not totally unexpected. The 790 SW’s automatic white balance leaves photos shot under incandescent lights slightly warm, but does a good job with fluorescent lighting and, of course, natural sunlight.
While the Olympus Stylus 790 SW is far from perfect, it’s one of the few cameras on the market, especially in this price range, that can take a beating and actually operate under water or at the top of a ski resort without worry. If you need a camera that can face up to those challenges, then the 790 SW makes sense.
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