Olympus has a handful of new digital cameras on the way, including two models with some interesting features we haven't seen before.
The 7-megapixel Olympus SP-550UZ replaces the SP-510UZ as the company's premier ultrazoom camera. While the SP-510UZ had a powerful 12x zoom lens, its replacement goes even further. The SP-550UZ uses the most powerful zoom lens we've seen in a midrange camera, a 28mm-to-504mm-equivalent telephoto lens that offers an 18x magnification factor. The zoom power is impressive enough, but the 28mm-equivalent wide-angle shot makes the camera seem even more appealing. The SP-550UZ features Olympus' dual image-stabilization system that including a sensor-shifting optical image-stabilization mechanism. Of course, if you're going to zoom in the full 18x, you're probably going to want a tripod anyway.
The Olympus Stylus 770SW takes the Stylus 720SW's waterproof, shock-resistant design and makes it even more durable. Beyond keeping its predecessor's dunkable and droppable characteristics, the 7-megapixel Stylus 770SW ups the ante by adding freezeproof and crushproof to its list of features. The camera can function in temps as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit and can handle as much as 220 pounds of force. The Stylus 770SW also features a built-in manometer that can measure how deep the camera is underwater, then writes that information to images' EXIF information. The manometer can also warn divers if they're straying past the camera's 10-meter underwater limit.
Also on the way is the Olympus Stylus 760. While it's not shockproof or waterproof like the 770SW, the 7-megapixel Stylus 760 retains the Stylus series' weather-resistant traits. You won't be able to swim with this camera, but it'll handle rain and snow with ease. While its 3x lens isn't nearly as powerful, it features the same digital image stabilization as the SP-550UZ.
Finally, Olympus is releasing four new FE-series point-and-shoot cameras. The FE-210, FE-230, and FE-240 are 7-megapixel cameras, while the FE-250 sports 8 megapixels. The FE-210 is the most inexpensive member of the FE-series and is the only model that takes AA batteries. The FE-230 is the slimmest FE camera, with an all-metal body measuring less than 0.7 inch thick. The FE-240 has the most powerful lens of the series, with a 5x optical zoom. The 8-megapixel FE-250 has both the highest resolution and the most sensitive sensor, able to reach up to ISO 3,200.
The Olympus Stylus 760 and FE-210, FE-230, FE-240, and FE-250 ship in February, and the Stylus 770SW and SP-550 hit stores in March. The Stylus 760 will retail for approximately $250. The FE-series cameras will range from $150 to $300 in $50 increments. The Stylus 770SW will have a suggested retail price of $380, and the SP-550UZ a suggested price of $500.