Owning 3 other digital compact cameras and being an ex pro-photographer I would say that the 720SW is not a bad camera.
7 megapixels are a marketing catch because the small lens on the camera does not have enough sharpness to really use all those megapixels.
I use the 720SW pretty much exclusively for sea kayaking. When my paddling buddy takes pictures on his Pentax Optio WP and compares them to mine (same location/condition)I have much better results then he has. The color reproduction of Olympus is a bit under saturated (dull colors) and some photo-shopping is generally needed to adjust my pictures to my standard.
Strongest points: compact, solid (it really is), decent resolution (not brilliant) simple to use, best waterproof camera offering out there.
Weaknesses: colors of pix are average (Canon does a superb job but they don't have a waterproof camera!), poor sharpness of lens at maximum zoom (forget the digital one) annoying scrolling through menu when powered off/on to regain last mode used, battery life is short, movie mode average, LCD screen not really usable in bright light, set exposure to -1/3 stop or overexposing in outdoor conditions.I bought this camera so that I could get the "grab" shots on the water that I missed since going 100% digital. I dabated between a Pentax and the Olympus, and chose the Olympus for no particular reason other than that I have owned several of their film cameras.
Sounds like I hate the camera? No, I like it, but it could be improved. For the average non professional user it is a great camera. Being able to keep it in the pocket of your PFD will allow you to take the pix that you wouldn't with other cameras.
Before using the camera I applied some E-Grips sticky rubber (sold for cell phones) to make the camera easier to hold with wet hands. Then it was off to Summersville Lake for testing. All in all, I am pleased with the quality of the shots. Color & exposure seem well-balanced even in the PHD mode (Push Here Dummy). The 7 MP size allows for reasonable blow-ups and cropping. User-settable modes are many, and easy to access (not buried in a sub-directory).
The really big test was a week on and around the Youghiogheny River. I came away with bundles of good shots of friends in rafts, in kayaks, in canoes, in the water and in all conceivable situations, because I was able to stow the camera in my PFD pocket (on a lanyard, of course) ready for a quick shot. Sure, some shots were fuzzy from motion, or not accurately framed, but taking lots of pictures leaves you with many options for editing.
While I missed not having an optical viewfinder, the LCD is bright enough to compose shots in bright sunlight. Polarized sunglasses can cause the display to apparently black out if the orientation is wrong!
Several caveats though: The mild zoom lens will not bring that distant eagle close enough to touch, but this camera is made for candid snaps and not nature photography. And after a dunking, it is possible to have a smear of water on the lens after the protective shutter swings open. You need to carry a microfibre lens wiper as insurance. And you had better buy a spare battery: With an LCD-only viewfinder, battery life is not impressive.After reviewing the digital photos I took during my recent Chesapeake Bay trip I realized that I had taken few on-the-water shots due to the inconvenience of extricating my non-waterproof Canon A-610 (pop skirt, pull out dry box, take picture, reverse order etc). I bought an Olympus Stylus 720 WP last week, and used it on two separate days this past weekend.
Likes: Handy to store in my PFD pocket, on a safety lanyard, ready for a shot. Beefy attachment point for the lanyard. Large, bright 2.5" screen. Reasonably easy control button access and logical menus. 7MP produces good resolution for editing.
Dislikes: Why is a camera designed for wet environs so slippery? I added some e-Grips patches which helped immensely. While the screen is bright, it cannot compete with brilliant sunlight. And following submersion a few drops of water are retained behind the lens cover, steaking the lens each time the cover opens. Buttons are too small to operate with gloves.