Last year's Olympus point-and-shoot lineup was filled with a few too many also-ran cameras. Its 2011 models so far seem much more competitive. Case in point, the newly announced SZ-30MR: a somewhat compact megazoom featuring a 24x, f3-6.9 25-600mm lens (35mm equivalent), a 3-inch high-resolution LCD, dual image processors, and 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor.
Judging by the press release, this camera does many of the things I've come to expect from a camera with a BSI CMOS sensor. Those include easy, one-press in-camera panoramas; high-speed burst at up to 9 frames per second at full resolution; and handheld low-light shooting. But the SZ-30MR has one trick I haven't seen: the ability to multitask.
Now I've tested cameras like the Panasonic FZ100 that can take a couple photos at the same time at different settings. The SZ-30MR's new Multi-Recording mode expands on that so you can do things such as shooting video in full HD and at a lower resolution or one normal and one with an Olympus Magic Filter applied such as Pin Hole or Watercolor. You'll be able to do the same with photos as well as simultaneously record movies and shoot stills. Apparently it can also capture movie clips before and after you take a photo.
The SZ-30MR can also shoot 3D photos (MPO format) for playback on 3D-enabled TVs, computers, and digital frames. There's full support for Eye-Fi wireless SD cards, too, so you can shoot and share without connecting to a computer or popping out your memory card.
Olympus also announced the Tough TG-810, an update to its water-, freeze-, shock-, and crushproof Tough 8010. Other than some minor styling changes, the TG-810 gets a built-in GPS receiver, electronic compass, manometer, a new image processor, a 3-inch high-resolution LCD, and a few more shooting modes (no semimanual or manual controls, though). It loses the 8010's 2GB of internal memory, however.
It's just as rugged as its predecessor, with a metal body and shock-absorbing system that can survive drops of up to 6.6 feet, temps down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, dives in water down to 33 feet, and up to 220 pounds of crushing weight.
Look for both the TG-810 and SZ-30MR in April in silver and black versions for $399.99.