Olympus typically stick with a fairly traditional, conservative design for their digital cameras, so when we pulled the MJU Mini Digital from the box, we were pleasantly surprised to see a sleek, stylish camera with an innovative design that sets it apart from the competition.
- Looks great, well designed
- Poor functionality
A very small, very stylish camera that is a great offering for beginner photographers.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The most innovative thing about the Mini Digital is the function wheel, which, rather than being a small, plastic, horizontal disc, is a vertical scroll, metal knob that is seated in a recess on the top right of the camera. It is in a perfect place to be rotated with the first finger of the right hand and feels far more solid than the plastic wheels that have become standard across most digital cameras. We would have liked to see this sort of control on a more advanced camera, as this model is clearly entry level and only has photo, film and playback options, but it is a great design nonetheless.
The second design feature we liked was the shape of the camera. On the left hand side it juts out in a triangular shape which fits perfectly into the curve of the finger. Whilst not being a big thing, it gives the Mini Digital an original look and makes it just that little bit more comfortable to grip. It sits perfectly in the hand.
This design makes the model look fantastic as well. We got a pearly beige unit, but it is available in other colours including black, blue, pink and silver. It is compact and stylish enough to please even the most fashion conscious buyer. The simple controls are well laid out, and everything is easily accessible. People with big hands may have to slightly adjust their grip because depending on how the camera is held, the user's knuckles can get in the way, but this is a relatively minor thing.
As stated above, once we turned the camera on and began to take some shots, it became clear that this was an entry level model. The camera lacks any real manual function modes. It has 15 shooting modes, including the basics like portrait and landscape, and options to change whitebalance and exposure, but any sort of real control over things like aperture, focus or shutter speed is completely absent.
The lack of functions is a pity because the Mini Digital takes quite good pictures. The sharpness was particularly impressive in a 5 megapixel model, and the pictures were without the blurring towards the edges that seems to plague many midrange models. Colour saturation could have been improved a little however, with the pictures looking a little flat and lacking colour depth.
Battery life was fairly average, with the Mini lasting through 370 shots in our testing, which is more than enough to satisfy most consumers and is a solid performance for such a small camera.
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