Camera Review: Olympus Stylus 790 SW

A brightly colored camera that shoots bright colors. And you can drop it, too.

— -- Do not adjust your screen settings. The camera you see here really is bright green.

Don't like green? It also comes in blue and orange, or, if you really, really don't want to stand out, black and silver.

This is the Olympus Stylus 790 SW, a pocket-size camera designed for fun (as if the colors haven't given it away) -- even if the fun gets a little rough. Olympus bills it as shockproof, with cushioned circuitry inside so it will survive bumps and drops. They say it's winterized (down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit) if you want to take it skiing, and waterproof (down to 10 feet) if you want to take it snorkeling.

For snapshots, it includes face-recognition software, so that it picks out faces in the frame and focuses on them. In low light it automatically bumps up its ISO (light sensitivity) so that while shots may be digitally noisy, they're less likely to be blurred. Some specs: 7.1 megapixels, a 2.5-inch screen, and a 3x optical zoom lens.

What are the tradeoffs? This is a snapshot camera, principally for younger people who want to take it places (or tend to drop it on the way). There are few manual settings. And there's no optical viewfinder, which you'll miss it on a bright day.

That matters, because this camera takes its best pictures on bright days. You'll want a more serious camera if you try to shoot a lot without flash indoors. But if you take it on the slopes, or to the beach, you'll come back with it in one piece.

Street price: $260 to $299, and Olympus prefers the tiny xD memory cards to the SD cards many of it its competitors favor.