Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My new Camera

As you can see in my last couple of posts, I finally got a running camera. I had some pretty specific requirements. First, the camera had to be small enough to fit in the pocket of my Nathan Fuel belt. Second, it had to be easy to use - the more point and shoot the better. Obviously, if I'm running, I can't be taking gobs of time to be adjusting a camera to take a shot or two.

In today's market, there are literally hundreds of cameras that meet these requirements. The information out on the Internet is voluminous and confusing. I ended up relying on two main information sources for my camera review: CNET( and the "What Camera Should I Buy?" forum at ( I used CNET to find the cameras that looked promising, and to converse with others about their experiences with those cameras. When all the smoke cleared, I had a short list of 3 different cameras:

(1) Canon Powershot SD1100/SD1000: This was the smallest camera of the group. Canon has a reputation for great photo quality.
(2) Sony DSC-T300: This was the fastest camera of the three I looked at.
(3) Olympus 790SW: This was the simplest camera I looked at. Also, the SW line is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof.

I ended up with the Olympus. The main reason was for selecting this one was the fact that the camera is waterproof. That means that I can put it in my fuel belt pouch or even carry it in my hand and not have to worry about my perspiration affecting the camera. Also, since the camera is shockproof (advertised to be able to withstand a drop of 5 feet), it will hold up to the repeated shock of running over distances. Also, I went to the Olympus refurbished web store on eBay and purchased the camera for less than $200.

The camera actually fits in my hand:

So far, the quality of the few pictures that I've taken seem to be good (it has 7MP resolution compared to the Sony and Canon at 10MP). It takes video and has image stabilization as well. My biggest beef so far is it's speed. It is not the fastest camera - especially when I want to take action pictures. I can only seem to squeeze out a picture a second...

Bottom line - if you are looking for a good point and shoot that can stand up to the punishment that we as runners can dole out, consider the Olympus. But, if you want higher quality photos, or need an ultracompact point and shoot to take action shots, then this camera is not the one that would make you happy.


  1. Hi I followed you over to your blog from the RW forums. (great blog by the way!) I'm curious what you thought of the Canon. I noticed that it has a traditional view finder which personally I prefer. And you are right Canon has a good reputation. I'm still leaning towards the Olympus myself since some of my long runs could be very sweaty this summer (I live in the desert). Also, did you know that Amazon just added the Olympus Stylus 850SW? Its the same as the 790 but it has 8 megapixels. Its only about $10 more!

  2. No issues really. Canon makes an excellent camera. I opted for the Olympus primarily for the waterproof/shockproof feature. To be sure, the Canon is a much faster camera than the Olympus. I can tell you this - it was a *tough* decision for sure! I took several weeks waffling back and forth between the three that I mentioned....

  3. get a treo. then you can listen to phil hendrie & take pictures at the same time while not missing any phone calls.