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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but not bad. You get what you pay for.
I bought this for an upcoming trip to take snorkeling, but first wanted to test it out. So I went to a pool party for a 4 year old, and gave the camera to my 6 year old neice and told her to do whatever she wanted with it. I posted 2 pics above for you to see. I figured it a good score just for still working after a 6 year old dropped it into the pool twice, and once...
Published on June 29, 2009 by Nathan Gaude

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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tested at the store... Disappointed.
I very recently bought the new Fuji Z33 WP camera, but since I am unhappy with the high levels of image noise, I will be returning it and looking for a replacement. The other top camera on my list was the Olympus 550WP. I went to a major electronics store yesterday and had the opportunity to play with the 550WP. The salesman even let me put my microSD card into the...
Published on March 24, 2009 by whoareyou


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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but not bad. You get what you pay for., June 29, 2009
By 
This review is from: Olympus Stylus 550 WP 10MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD (Blue) (Electronics)
I bought this for an upcoming trip to take snorkeling, but first wanted to test it out. So I went to a pool party for a 4 year old, and gave the camera to my 6 year old neice and told her to do whatever she wanted with it. I posted 2 pics above for you to see. I figured it a good score just for still working after a 6 year old dropped it into the pool twice, and once even got a nice big scratch on the side, but still works great. The pics aren't perfect, a little washed out, but the only reason I bought this camera was to take it underwater, and the price. I'm sure if you spent more money for the canon it might take better pics, but these will do just fine for me. So if you are looking for a basic underwater camera that takes decent pics, more for photo albums than publishing, this camera is probably for you. The kids LOVED it, and if my 6 year old neice can work it underwater, everyone else should have no trouble.
The only Con I have is that the battery was almost completely drained after about an hour and a half underwater. Don't know if it uses up more power somehow underwater, but that is my only concern. Haven't tested it long enough to know if that is normal or not yet.
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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tested at the store... Disappointed., March 24, 2009
I very recently bought the new Fuji Z33 WP camera, but since I am unhappy with the high levels of image noise, I will be returning it and looking for a replacement. The other top camera on my list was the Olympus 550WP. I went to a major electronics store yesterday and had the opportunity to play with the 550WP. The salesman even let me put my microSD card into the camera to save some test shots to view on my computer at home.

The image quality does not make me excited to buy this camera. The pictures show a significant amount of noise, even when I forced the ISO down to 100. Every shot without a flash looks pale and slightly hazy. With a flash, the image quality improved, but there is still an unreasonable amount of image noise. The best shots were taken of objects about 10 feet away. This was a good distance to prevent the flash from washing out the subject, but still providing an adequate amount of light to get a decent picture. Even those shots seemed to lack sharpness. They were OK, but I guess I expected more. I understand that there are trade-offs in image quality when buying a waterproof camera, but I had hoped that they wouldn't be this bad.

Besides image quality, my only other complaint was the couple of seconds delay between shots. The screen goes blank, so you can't even compose your next shot while you wait. The noticible delay upon startup and between shots was a deal-breaker for me when deciding if the image quality was acceptable.

On a positive note, the size and shape of the camera is pleasing and it feels well-built and sturdy. It is not too heavy, and I didn't feel like I needed to be overly protective of it. It's not ultra-thin, but it could easily fit into a pocket. Also, I really liked the menu graphics. The menu structure seems very similar to that of the Olympus weatherproof cameras from the last couple of years, but the icons on the 550WP are in color and are much brighter. This may seem trivial, but it definitely makes for a flashier interface than the couple of models just prior to the 550WP. I also tried out the Tough Series 8000 and noticed that it shares the very cool, updated menu graphics with the 550WP.

I wanted to like this camera and it was my top choice to replace the Fuji Z33, but I was not satisfied enough with the test shots I took to spend my money on it. The slightly older and mixed-reviewed Olympus 850SW that I tested on the same visit responded much more quickly on startup, on auto-focusing, and in recovering between shots. It felt fast in all areas and the pictures were much better than the Oly 550WP and the Fuji Z33 WP. The image quality on the 850SW wasn't perfect either, but I was much more excited about its performance than the two newer cameras. Since it has been out for a little longer than the 550WP and Z33, the 850SW can be found for a similar price. Without spending the extra $100 to step up to the next level of image quality and performance, I think my money is going to the Oly 850SW instead of the Oly 550WP or the Fuji Z33.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow, January 30, 2010
By 
Kerwinm12345 (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus Stylus 550 WP 10MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD (Blue) (Electronics)
I do love this camera for a variety of reasons, but the one thing that really irks me about it is the time between when you press the button and when it takes the picture- it's annoyingly long...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ScenicHikingPhotos .com, August 16, 2009
I was headed to the Grand Canyon for a rafting & photo trip. I needed a camera that was waterproof, and found at amazon.com the Olympus 550wp. It was priced right so I ordered it. It performed like a champion. On the raft we was soaked with in the first minute, as though we were scuba diving. The camera worked all through out the trip. You can see images of the pictures I took on my web site: [...]
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Genius, May 23, 2009
By 
Rev. Thomas Scarborough (Cape Town, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The first Olympus digital camera I owned was the Camedia C-2 Zoom, launched in 2002. This was an extremely popular camera, not least because of its superb cost performance. Sales far exceeded expectations, causing Olympus' purchasing departments some trouble in keeping pace with demand for materials and parts. In my experience, the camera's popularity was well deserved. It was on the strength of this experience that I decided, in 2009, to buy the very latest Olympus ì-550WP. On the surface of it, this was a tough little package that combined the best features of earlier Olympus cameras at a modest (for Olympus) price.

Regrettably, from the moment I had it out of the box, this camera presented me with a long string of snags that, had I anticipated them, would have caused me to think twice.

Beginning with the battery/recharger (which in many cameras is conveniently combined into one), the mains plug worked only in some power sockets, not in others. The battery went flat faster than expected -- and to make matters worse, the charge indicator went from full to flat in the blink of an eye. This meant that my camera required two hours' recharging, and was unexpectedly out of action at the very moment I intended to put it to its first serious use. Part of the problem, perhaps, was that I had not realised, when accessing the flash card inside the camera through the camera cable, that there was a drain on the battery. Yet nowhere was I warned about this. Many digital cameras do not discharge when plugged in. I decided to use the "power save" feature to give me better prospects next time round -- yet this kept blanking out the display while I was framing a picture. And every time, the camera wiped out the settings I was working with. So I went to buy a back-up battery -- which cost me more than a tenth of the (not too cheap) camera.

I registered the Olympus software over the Internet, as requested, and Olympus confirmed the registration. Very soon, however, an ineradicable message came up on my screen, insisting on further registration for some plug-ins. This process hogged my Internet connection, which from my location in Africa was not a luxury easily to be afforded. As my broadband usage shot up profligately, I cut off the connection. On returning to the Olympus software, however, Olympus once more requested registration -- and the plug-ins I could not find. It was the Panorama feature that interested me the most. I clicked on the Panorama icon -- yet an unrelated Olympus pop-up appeared, obscuring the screen. When I tested the Panorama feature, it did not stitch well at all. The manual didn't say as much, but apparently this feature should only be used at certain distances. Yet even the correct distances didn't necessarily yield good results. Apparently a panoramic view should be taken in bright light in order to stitch without banding -- again no mention was made of this was made in the manual. One would think that the software could have addressed such problems.

These were only the beginning of my problems with the Olympus ì-550WP -- but let me pause first to highlight some of its strengths and attractions. The Olympus ì-550WP is undoubtedly very pocketable. It is a pleasure to carry around. And it is attractive -- one might say "cute". It is also waterproof to three metres or ten feet (but more of this in a moment). It does take some nice panoramic pictures, if distance and lighting are appropriate. The zoom works well, if jerkily. Also, it offers a macro feature and a super-macro feature (as close as 7 centimeters or 2.8 inches), which have performed well. The movie mode has also performed well. The camera has recorded smoothly and without any "skipping", as some digital cameras do. I also like its easy white-balance, ISO, and resolution settings. The camera also has an "intelligent" setting which generally works well -- but I have sometimes found it to be hit and miss (as the manual says it may be in some situations), so that I would rather rely on my own judgement.

But back to my troubles. These have been various, and I shall survey them (not all of them) quickly. Photography in bright light is good, but in subdued light without flash (often required in my profession) the Olympus clearly under-performs. Photos in subdued light are markedly more grainy than those taken with other digital cameras using similar settings. With this in mind, the 10 megapixel resolution of the camera seems academic. Cameras with half the resolution may outperform the Olympus ì-550WP. Bright lights (not least the sun) prove to be a problem, too. The camera repeatedly produces "shadow" images of overhead lights in strange places, or blue smudges from the sun, where this is well out of the "field of vision". The layout of the face of the camera presents problems. Consider, for instance, how a person would hold this camera without obscuring the flash, or closing the microphone. Even if the owner should learn the trick, this is by no means guaranteed for anyone else who might use it -- for instance, someone taking a photo of the owner. The anti-red-eye flash feature does not necessarily avoid red-eye. Finally, although it works, I am not much impressed with the underwater feature. After using the camera in water, it is difficult to clear the lens of water droplets, which tend to reappear every time one closes and opens the external "steel door" shutter.

I would have liked to speak well of my new Olympus camera, after my early experiences with the Olympus Camedia C-2 Zoom. All in all, perhaps the greatest strength of the Olympus ì-550WP would be as an "outdoors" camera used, for example, for beach sports, scuba diving, or sunny surrounds (but bear in mind those "shadow" images). It would also perform well in many situations where a flash is judiciously used. But it begins to reveal its weaknesses particularly in more subdued light without flash (dusky evenings or indoor shots), or for sporadic use in the wet.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Happy, February 8, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Olympus Stylus 550 WP 10MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD (Blue) (Electronics)
We use this camera in wet, industrial environments. Previously, I'd buy cheap products that would last a couple of months. This camera stands up to the abuse our guys give it. We're very pleased.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good when it works, but unreliable, May 24, 2010
I purchased this underwater Olympus because I already had the unique batteries and memory cards for my weatherproof Olympus 760. I also liked the size and appearance. However, after a few uses on a trip, it "froze up" to the point where it could not be turned off. None of the buttons worked, and the only solution was to remove the battery while it was still turned on. This happened repeatedly so I returned the camera to the local camera store. They sent it back to Olympus, who replaced the circuit board. Great. Took it on another vacation, but this time, I took both this Olympus and my old Olympus. That was a good thing because the 550WP frequently overheated and froze up. I could temporarily resolve the problem by removing the battery, cooling it down, and reinserting the battery for a few more pictures. I decided to use it mostly for underwater (snorkeling) pictures. It worked well in the water, except, because it is slow on the shutter (much slower than the 3 years older Olympus.) That's a major flaw, because the fish were much faster than the shutter, and I got many pictures of just coral, sand, or grass. When it does take pictures on land, especially in landscape mode (which highlights the blues and greens), it works very well. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this camera because of its unreliability. Next time, I think I'll get a point-and-shoot with a viewfinder (so I can see what I'm photographing in bright sunlight) and an underwater case.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You should see my Manatee pictures!!!, February 6, 2010
By 
M. L. Antonsen (St Petersburg, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Olympus Stylus 550 WP 10MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD (Blue) (Electronics)
I used to take "professional" underwater photos and I love this little camera. I went to Three Sister's Springs and when I showed my photos to friends they thought they were postcards. They were shocked at the quality. Just remember for underwater shots, turn OFF the flash as all the flash will light up is particles in the water. I did have a drop of water on my battery when I went to pull out the card but as inexpensive as this camera is, I don't care if I have to replace it every 2-3 years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this camera!, April 13, 2010
If you are looking for a good, inexpensive, compact digital camera that takes good quality pictures and has cool features, this is the camera for you. Without setting the resolution quality to high, the pictures come out OK. I was not completely satisfied with the quality of the images until I found out that you can set the camera to take higher resolution photos and videos. Now I am very happy with the picture quality. I would suggest buying a 2gb or 4gb micro SD card, so you can fit lots of high quality pictures and videos. I have a 4gb card that I found for $20 and I can take over 600 pictures at the maximum resolution. Or over 30 minutes of video. The camera does have a microphone, so you can take videos with sound, even underwater. Having sound underwater is somewhat pointless, but it's fun to have that feature. Underwater, the pictures and videos look really good. I have had my camera for about 6 months now, and I have had no problems with it. One thing that is bad about it is the screen. The screen is not very good, and sometimes makes pictures look blurry and out of focus, when on the computer they look great. Also, this camera does not have a viewfinder. It isn't a big deal to me, but for others it might be. I would have liked for this camera to be able to take regular SD cards, but it does take micro SD cards, and mine came with an adapter. One last thing that I suggest you get is a floating strap. It is so that if you drop your camera in the water it will float, and be visible, because this camera does not float. Overall, I would suggest this camera because it is fun, inexpensive, durable, portable, and takes good pictures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fun camera, March 13, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
So I bought this camera after I already have a nikon d3000. I surf daily and decided to check this thing out. What your paying is a deal thy definatly worth it. I take a wave, thn on the way swimming back take shots of other people getting barreled! Pic quality is good enough. The only thing that I suggest is if you decide to get it, when using in water buy the glass cleaner rain-x to clean the front lens so not as much water spots slow you down. Overall I can't even tell you how many cool pics I have got with this thing!
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