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Olympus Mju-mini review

Megapixel geeks beware - digital cameras are going mainstrea

Our Verdict

It would be nice to see the Mju mini's style without the performance sacrifices


  • Weatherproof metal body

    Simple to use

    Reliable photos


  • Plastic buttons

    Rather slow

This is the first ultra-compact digital snapper from Olympus, and there's no mistaking who it's targeting. Rounded edges, a necklace strap and no optical viewfinder means young mums and students rather than weirdy, beardy camera-club types.

But Olympus can't just leapfrog into the lifestyle market in one bound, so from the back, the Mju-mini looks very much like its predecessors, with a 1.8-inch LCD and cheap, plastic buttons. It's also less mini than its name suggests, hiding a substantial 28mm waistline behind its weatherproof aluminium curves.

At the heart of the device is a four-megapixel sensor, served by a decent 2x zoom lens and 19 various scene modes. The handful of photo features are designed to be set up once and left that way - don't go looking for manual exposure, focusing or metering options here. A new playback edit menu adds soft-focus and fisheye filters (apply the latter over and over again if you fancy some bonkers effects).

Unfortunately, Olympus has built the Mju-mini for comfort, not speed, so there are still noticeable shutter and processing lags. Movie clips are below average too - just 320 x 240 pixels in size and captured at a flickery 15fps frame rate - but thankfully, still images are smooth and sharp with rich, punchy colours. The built-in flash is a bit puny at long distances, but perfectly fine for parties and portraits.

Olympus has been a long time coming to the ultra-compact market, and the Mju-mini is an ideal launch model. It's a cosy, unthreatening camera that won't upset anyone - but unfortunately, it won't excite anyone either.