The camera's slightly larger than the ultra-slim digital cameras most users are used to these days (it won't fit into your shirt pocket), but the S800 definitely makes up for that with a big, beautiful 2.5' HyperCrystal LCD screen. No matter what you're looking at, the S800's screen makes it look perfect. It offers amateur camera users (and people tired of squinting into a tiny screen on their camera) a much improved view of their shooting subject, and the menus, options, and guides are crystal clear and easy to read.
The option list for the S800 could take up this entire space, ranging from a full user guide on photographing subjects in different shooting situations, to an entire preset library of photo configurations (allowing a user to choose a specific type of shot for the camera to auto adjust to). Watching your daughter's piano recital, but can't use flash photography? Try out the 'Available Light Portrait' option; it automatically adjusts the camera to pull in all the ambient light available, and takes the photo without the use of a flash. The pictures come out shockingly well-lit, making the S800 go where almost no other camera's gone before: every place with a 'No Flash Photography' sign on the door. You can check out more "Available Light Portrait" photos from the play "Chicken" that we covered here.. It's really incredible when you know there were no house lights on when the photos were taken, only stage lighting.
Getting your memories from camera to PC can sometimes be complicated; not so with the S800. Included with the camera is a standard (and very user friendly) photo suite compatible with both Mac and PC. Olympus Master gives budding photographers limited yet functional options for their photographs, and works seamlessly to bring your photos to your home computer. At 8.0-megapixels, the S800's photo quality is brilliant; users are able to choose from 9 different resolutions for their photos (some presets are more limited in their resolutions, but for the most part, it's very open-ended, giving users many different options for their photo size).
The largest resolution clocks in at 3264x2448, enough to print a poster sized image without any loss of detail and quality. It's more than enough for a casual photographer, and high quality enough for a professional to use as a point-and-shoot camera. My only beef with the resolution options is that you're not able to choose a default resolution, and every time you change your preset camera functions, the resolution resets to what the camera thinks is best. This can become irritating if you're switching presets quickly and on the fly but want to keep a uniform resolution, so beware if you get annoyed at resetting the resolution every time you turn the camera on or switch photo types.
Overall, the S800 delivers on every note it needs to. At $449.00, it's reasonably priced (though it's slightly on the steep side, the options and quality more than make up for its price tag), and I'd even recommend the S800 to someone totally new to digital cameras. It's completely user-friendly (even going so far as to include a guide to using the camera within the actual unit), it's easy on the eyes, and (most importantly) it takes incredible photos. If you're looking to dive into the world of digital photography for the first time, or if you're looking to upgrade an older camera, this one's worth picking up.
Find out more about the Stylus 800 from the official site, located here.
Published on Mar 02, 2006