First of all I should say that I have a digital SLR, and I never owned a compact camera. The reason why I started looking for one is simple. First, you just can't carry around all your stuff, a 2-lbs camera body, 3 lenses and a tripod, all the time. Second, I'm quite into snowboarding, and I want a compact camera that wouldn't break if I fall on it or drop it into the snow.
The 770, as claimed by the manufacturers, can be dropped from 1,5 meter hight, and operates 10 meters underwater without any protective cover. I couldn't believe it when I heard it!
There is a guy in my local Jessops outlet who made me believe. They've got a laboratory where they process photoes, and there's a sink there. So he just took the camera from the display window, poured some water into a bowl, put the camera underwater and took a picture of himself!!! It was really impressive! He didn't drop it on the floor though, but I believe nothing would have happened to it either.
Another cool thing about the 770 is its design. You can see some screws in the body, and the strap holder is so solid, it's appearance is all metallic and it makes an impression of an invulnerable hi-tech gadget. The buttons are quite big and sit separately which makes it easy to operate the camera wearing gloves. And the size is just ok to pop into your pocket.
But the main purpose of any camera is to produce quality pictures... And that's where the 770 leaves much to be desired. Maybe I'm a bit spoilt by the quality of SLR pictures. But... The lens of 770 is really small and it moves inside the body when zooming. You can't expect any quality from this kind of equipment. Another very important thing is the censor. It's 1/2.3", which is really small. The main thing is not how many megapixels are there (there are 7,4), but what size the sensor is - physically. And the small sensor size results in high noise levels, and overall bad picture quality. If you choose ISO1600 the image is indistinguishable from the one your mobile phone would produce.
I think this camera would be all right for my purposes. In bright conditions, like in the mountains, or at the beach, it should be all right. It has 5x optical zoom, can capture video and has all features a modern camera should have. But as an SLR user, I just can't accept the picture quality. So I'll look further.
And finally, here's some official specification from the Olympus website:
3x Optical zoom, Focal length (equiv. 35mm) 38 - 114mm
6.4cm / 2.5'' HyperCrystal LCD
Metal Body, waterproof up to a depth of 10m
Shock-proof from heights of up to 1.5m
Crushproof up to 100kg
Freezeproof up to -10°C
Best performance also in low light condition thanks to BrightCapture Technology
Max ISO 1600
Video recording AVI format 640x480 15 frames per second
Dimensions (WxHxD) 91.8 x 59.2 x 20.6 mm
Weight 155 g (without battery and card)
It's time for a camera that stands up to life. The Olympus µ 770 is the world's first compact camera that's waterproof to 10m, shockproof against falls to 1.5m and crushproof to an unbelievable 100kg! It's even a delight to tote around - with a stylish metal casing. Test the limits of tough photography with this charming addition to the µ family - because if it's in your life, it's in your Olympus µ 770.