Olympus Stylus 550WP

Want to add a bunch of fun to your next trip to the beach? Get an inexpensive waterproof camera like the Olympus Stylus 550WP. Your whole family will love taking shots underwater, in the surf or on the sand.

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But before you decide on an Olympic Stylus 550WP buy, or any other brand, what are the features you should look for? You don’t want to be like that  guy down the street that bought the cheapest waterproof camera he could find and all he was able to get were blurry pictures of his thumb. Here’s a summary:

What to Look For When Buying a Waterproof Camera

Underwater Depth

Cameras are rated on how deep they can operate in the water. They are constructed to withstand a certain amount of pressure and to keep water out of the casing. Generally more expensive cameras can go deeper. Many point and shoot cameras are made to go no more than 10 feet down.

Easy Controls

There’s a funny thing that happens to cameras in water: they get wet. If you ever tried to handle a wet camera, you know it can be tricky. Ease of handling and convenient controls are paramount for waterproof cameras.

Image Quality

Waterproof cameras have a difficult job–they need to take good pictures in dry conditions, rain, and underwater. The difficult part of taking pictures underwater is the low light conditions. Many cameras meet this challenge by having high-quality sensors that allow very low ISO settings.


Durability is a huge factor for waterproof cameras. They get wet, dropped and banged around. Heck, it might even get chewed on by a shark if you get into a real bind.

Olympus Stylus 550WP Review

An Olympus Stylus 550WP review will show you how it stacks up against our criteria:

Olympus Stylus 550WP – Depth

This Olympus Stylus 550WP model can operate underwater up to 10 feet deep. It has an aluminum case sealed off from the elements by rubber gaskets and O rings. Some of the more expensive cameras can go up to 30 feet or more. But 10 feet should be enough to handle most common uses: swimming, snorkeling and general mayhem with the family in swimming pools, oceans, lakes and water-parks.


Olympus Stylus 550WP – Easy Controls

The Stylus 550 WP is well known for their intuitive buttons and menus and the Stylus 550 continues that tradition. While fairly thin with a depth of only .85” (height=2.34” x width=3.69”), it is easy to handle even when wet.  At 4.48 ounces the Olympus Stylus 550WP it is as light as it is slim. The 10 Megapixel 2.5” LCD screen is easy to see even in low light conditions.

There is also a floating wrist strap that frees up your hands to man-handle any attacking squids or 6 -year-old kids with too much sugar in their system. Another cool feature is the carabiner strap that allows you to clip the camera right to your swimming suit or a bag. Of course, if you insist on hooking your camera to your swimming suit you may look dorkier than usual.

Olympus Stylus 550WP – Image Quality

If you make an Olympus Stylus 550WP buy, you’ll get sharp jpeg still images as well as smooth jpeg (avi) movies. It has a maximum image resolution of 3650 x 2736 pixels and a maximum video resolution of 640 x 480. The optical 3x zoom is standard.

At the beach or water-park you don’t want to worry about fiddling with 29 controls. That’s where the Intelligent Auto system shines. The camera will figure out what you are looking at (example- Portrait, Landscape, Sports, etc) and automatically use the best settings. This is especially handy for little kids or anyone that does not use a camera a lot.

One great feature on all the Olympus Stylus models is Face Detection. When you are lining up a group shot, the camera detects faces in the frame and provides the best focus and exposure settings for each. This can be a real time saver if you are clicking off pictures in the middle of an outing or it is raining and you want to get it done fast.

At times you might be on uneven ground or perhaps in rolling surf.  That’s when you’ll be glad to have Digital Image Stabilization. It increases the ISO (light sensitivity) and shutter speed to help prevent blurry images.

Olympus Stylus 550WP – Durability

Olympus was the first company to offer shockproof/waterproof cameras to the mass market way back in 2006. This heritage is evident in the Olympus Stylus 550WP– its design and construction came directly from the rugged Olympus Stylus Tough family. One web reviewer called it “well-built and sturdy…not too heavy.” Another called it “a good buy, good optics, solidly built, dependable.”

What People Are Saying about the Olympus Stylus 550WP

The Olympus Stylus 550WP is getting favorable commentary around the web:

“This camera is great for the boat and the beach…”

“I was looking for something that would be ok through rain, and mud…did not disappoint…” “It’s a champ.”

“Excellent picture quality, easy to use and waterproof.”

“very happy with the picture quality…suggest buying a 2gb or 4gb micro SD card.”

“great where it rains a lot…I would recommend this camera!

“I’m a surfer. I take shots of other people getting barreled!”

“We use this camera in wet, industrial environments…very pleased.”

Some people had reservations about the battery life:

“ran out of battery life on a snorkeling trip…”

“short battery life…but the plus side of that is the quick recharge cycle.”

One person also suggested that “for underwater shots, turn OFF the flash as all the flash will light up is particles in the water.”

You can get the Olympus Stylus WP on sale at Amazon through this link.

For this Olympus Stylus 550WP review, we first considered the important features to look for in waterproof underwater cameras: underwater depth, easy controls, image quality and durability. With a history of toughness in the Olympus Stylus line, you can count on rugged performance. Features like Digital Image Stabilization and Face Detection help insure great image clarity. Easy menus and convenient controls allow anyone in the family to take snaps. And with a healthy water depth of ten feet, you can’t go wrong when you make an Olympus Stylus 550WP buy.

This camera averages 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  Here’s a partial excerpt of what one Amazon user had to say:

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 niece 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.

For the complete Olympus Stylus 550WP reviews listed on Amazon click here

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