Design and Interface: Olympus 1050 SW
Both of the slim digital cameras have controls that are entirely too small – especially for gloved skiers who will actually use that 14-degree freezeproof feature – but the Olympus 1050 SW has a solution. It has a “tap control” feature that is activated in the setup menu (so do this before you put those big gloves on and head out into the cold) and controls the camera’s settings with different taps from different directions. For instance, two taps on the left side changes the shadow adjustment feature – a feature useful for snowy scenes. Tapping on the right side of the camera changes the flash mode. It works surprisingly well. Perhaps the most fun and best use of the tap control feature is in the playback mode; simply tap on the LCD screen and the playback mode appears, and then tapping on the sides of the camera scrolls through the images. This method is much better than tapping the sharp little multi-selector on the back of the camera – even if you don’t have gloves on.
Olympus opts to include a small mode dial on the back of the camera. Pentax, however, has its modes hidden in a menu accessible by pushing the bottom of the multi-selector. I prefer the mode dial on the 1050 SW because I can see all my options and make changes faster.
Pentax’s recording menu, though, trumps the Olympus 1050 SW’s though. Olympus digital cameras have a menu that looks more like a collage whereas the Pentax W60 has a more traditional layout.
Considering the menus and controls involved, the Olympus Stylus 1050 SW still takes the cake. Both cameras have tiny buttons, but the Olympus comes out with brand new tap control technology that makes it much easier to use when handling with big gloves or taking a dip underwater. The 1050 SW is the first digital camera to use this technology, but expect to see more cameras with this feature. Once you use the tap control, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.
Olympus has an edge when it comes to durability. It has a shockproof designation that keeps falls from five feet or less from harming the camera. If you have young kids, this feature is priceless.