The SZ-31MR iHS retains its predecessor's compact design and 24x f3-6.9 25-600mm lens (35mm equivalent), but improves its LCD, image processors, and sensor.
The new model gets a 3.0-inch 920K-dot touch-screen LCD, an improved 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor that Olympus claims improves image detail and noise in low-light shots, and dual TruePic V processors that'll let you capture HD movies and full-resolution photos simultaneously.
The new iHS designation refers to the combo of the backlit CMOS sensor and dual image processors. Olympus says together they'll "dramatically improve low-light performance, speed up camera response time, enhance scene and subject recognition, and double zoom magnification without sacrificing image quality."
The SZ-31MR iHS ships in April for $399.99.
Its new sensor/processor combo allows it to shoot at up to 5 frames per second at full resolution and take HDR shots for backlit subjects, which is really nice to have on a rugged camera. Unfortunately, the new version no longer has built-in GPS, something that's also nice to have on a rugged camera. The TG-820 is, however, $100 cheaper than its predecessor at $299.99
Look for it in March.