Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShotolympus_7040_450.jpg
  • 14-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch LCD Screen
  • 7x Optical zoom lens: 28-196mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Dual Image Stabilization
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Artistic Filters
  • 720p HD video capture
  • Anti-Glare Screen coating
  • 2GB internal memory
  • SD/SDHC memory card compatible

Pros
  • iAuto shooting mode
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button
  • Versatile 7x optical zoom lens
  • Dual image stabilization
  • New simple menus
  • Bright 3.0-inch LCD with anti-glare coating
  • Huge internal memory
Cons
  • High amounts of noise in all ISO settings
  • Soft overall image
  • Soft video shooting
  • Slower performance when using internal memory
  • Limited shots with all burst modes
  • Below average batter life
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.6 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = 1 /10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 7/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 3.36 (SD) / 4.5 (Internal) seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 3.66 (SD) / 4.88 (Internal) seconds
  • Sequential burst =  3.0fps for 2 images
  • Sequential burst HI1 = 3.9fps 7 images (3M)
  • Sequential burst HI2 = 15.fps 27 images (2M)
Bottom Line
Olympus's Stylus 7040 is a full-featured, "Hybrid" digicam that is compact and easy to use. The camera lacks a little in image quality and the performance is average.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a compact digicam loaded with top of the line features, including One-Touch HD video, dual image stabilization, versatile 7x optical zoom and a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor.  
Olympus's new Stylus 7040 is a full-featured digicam which boast options like a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 7x optical zoom lens, 3-inch LCD, 4 creative art filters and dual image stabilization, just to name a few. The camera also sports a dedicated HD video recording button, allowing it to capture still images or HD movies at the push of a button, no need to switch shooting modes. Finally, Olympus has included 2GB of internal memory, allowing the user to capture up to 266 (depending on image quality settings) full-sized images instead of the usual 4 to 5 images that most other digicams allow on the internal memory.

Designed to be incredibly easy to use, the layout of the Stylus 7040 is very simple, leaving most of the settings in the camera menu and not cluttering the exterior with buttons. The few controls that are on the back are easy to see at anytime, thanks to a backlight behind them all. Olympus has also redesigned their menu system, making it easier to find and change camera settings. Viewing and composing your images, as well as searching through the menus, is done on the camera's 3-inch LCD screen. This large, bright screen is easy to see any light, and thanks to the anti-glare coating it is even easy to see in direct sunlight. 

Performance from the Stylus 7040 is about average for a compact digicam. You can capture your first image in about 2.6 seconds after the camera is turned on. Its shutter lag is approx. 1/10 of a second when the camera is pre-focused and 7/10 of a second when allowing the autofocus to work. Since the camera features 2GB of internal memory, we tested the shot-to-shot delay and continuous shooting rates with both the internal and SD memory types. Although the burst modes remained the same, the camera's shot-to-shot delay was faster when using a SD card. With a delay of 3.36 seconds between shots, or 3.66 seconds when using the flash, the SD memory prevailed over the 4.5 and 4.88 seconds of the internal memory. 

Also featuring three burst, or continuous shooting modes, the Stylus 7040 is capable of capturing 2 full sized images in just 1.5 seconds. If you are looking for more shots, the HI1 and HI2 shooting modes will capture smaller images, but allow for more of them. HI1 captures 7, 3-Megapixel images at 3.9fps while HI2 captures 27, 2-Megapixel images at 15.9fps before the buffer fills in all modes.  All of our tests were completed using the cameras 2GB internal memory or a Lexar Pro 133x 2GB SD memory card,  Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise. All times may vary depending on lighting, camera settings, media, etc.

Looking at our outdoor sample images, you can see that the camera gives you a good exposure and pleasing colors. However, when viewing the photos at 100%, there is a noticeable amount on noise in the image. With an ISO of 64, the image should not show any noise. This noise softens the image and can blur or even eliminate the fine details within the image. You can easily see the noise just by looking at the sky in any of the outdoor samples. This noise can also be seen in our indoor M&M man shots. At ISO 64, there is enough noise that you cannot see the threads in the flag. By ISO 200, most of the edges have become soft and noise can be seen in every part of the image.

The Stylus 7040's 7x optical zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent range of 28-196mm, which is a very versatile range for a compact digicam. Its 28mm wide end is great for shooting vast landscapes and large group portraits, while the telephoto end will be able to get you good deal closer to your subject that is a little ways off in the distance. While using the wide end of this zoom, you will see some barrel distortion, and slight instances of chromatic aberrations can be seen throughout the zoom range in some high contrast areas.

Portrait photography with the Stylus 7040 is easily managed thanks to the camera's face detection software. It detected the faces within the frame quickly and followed them well. The soft images that the camera produces can be a blessing in some portrait shots, as the noise will help to soften your subject's skin, but you will also miss some fine details that may be very important to the image.

Thanks to the camera's dedicated video recording button, this Stylus is always ready to capture video with just one push of the button. Since the 7040 can capture either still images or video with just one press of a button, it falls into the category of a "Hybrid" camera, which has become a major trend by many manufactures. With a top resolution of 720p, your home movies are recorded and ready to play back on your HDTV directly from the camera. Our video samples were not as sharp as you would like to see from a 720p HD video, but are fairly smooth when playing them back. The camera's built-in microphone is very small and sensitive, allowing it to pick up all of the sounds that are closest to the camera. This allows the camera to pick up any and all background noises surrounding the camera, which you might not notice at the time of shooting. To help avoid this, try to stay away from air conditioners, furnaces and out of the wind if possible.

Powering the Stylus 7040 is a 3.7V, 740mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. During our tests we were able to capture over 150 images and videos on a single charge. At this point the battery was very low and could only capture a few more images without being recharged. This is a below average battery life, as a little more power would be nice; at least getting it into the 200 images per charge range. Olympus does not include an external charger, instead they use a USB cable and power adapter to charge the battery while it is in the camera. This makes it a bit more difficult to keep a second battery charged and on hand all the time, but if you know you will be taking a lot of pictures, it would be an excellent idea to have a second battery ready to go. 

Bottom Line - Olympus's Stylus 7040 is "Hybrid" digicam that is loaded with fun and useful features. Sporting a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 7x optical zoom lens, dual image stabilization, 720p HD video capture, 2GB internal memory and 4 artistic filters allow anyone to capture fun, creative shots in almost any shooting condition. The camera's overall image quality was a little disappointing, as noise softens your images no matter what ISO setting the camera is on. With a MSRP of US $249.99, you might want to at some similar models before making your final purchase: like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1, Casio Exilim EX-H15, and Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS to name a few

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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