New Olympus camera Toughs it out

When the tough get going, they get Tough. Well that is what Olympus is hoping with its new water and shockproof camera the Olympus Tough 720SW.

The $599 Olympus Tough 720SW, which had its worldwide debut in Australia on Thursday, will be the company's flagship camera in its Mju range.

"Traditionally megapixels, zoom and size have been considered key items on a digital compact consumer's shopping list," said Olympus product manager Lisa Coggan.

However, with the 720SW the company is targeting the camera at what it calls the Design Active market. This segment she says is characterized by 25 to 35 year old socially active people who want a camera to take everywhere (beach, mountain biking, snorkeling), and not have to worry about damaging it.

The camera is waterproof to 3 metres (this can go to 40 metres if an additional under water housing is purchased), and it is shockproof to 1.5 metres.

Coggan said the camera was tested for shock by dropping it from 26 different angles. To help it function in such rugged environments, the camera is equipped with a floating circuit board that is wrapped with gel to protect it from shock. There is also a series of rubber seals around the battery and card ports and the 2.5in LCD screen.

On the outside you can find more types of steel than in a BHP smeltor. The face is made of aluminum to keep it lightweight, the frame from stainless steel to keep it strong and the edges a bronze/nickel allow to keep it sleek.

The camera itself has 7MP sensor, 3x optical zoom, a Bright Capture technology which rates the camera to ISO1600 so as to enable underwater photography. And surprisingly it also records movies with sound. The speaker in this instance is protected by a Gore Tex like material to protect it when it is immersed in water.

The camera will be available from late March.

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