Olympus MJU 1010

Ultra-stylish compact with a 10.1 megapixel sensor and a 7x optical zoom.

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Olympus MJU 1010
  • Olympus MJU 1010
  • Olympus MJU 1010
  • Olympus MJU 1010

Pros

  • Great design, good images, speedy in most respects, some nice features

Cons

  • Burst mode is quite slow, colours can be too strongly saturated

Bottom Line

A great mid-range compact camera, the Olympus MJU 1010 should serve most happy snappers well with its combination of style, good image quality and useful features.

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Olympus continues to push the boundary of camera design, refining its already impressive compact style with every new model. The Olympus MJU 1010 exemplifies this, maintaining the trademark wedge-shaped design but making it even sturdier and more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, it also takes fairly good snaps and has a few funky features, making it a solid offering.

In many ways this unit is very similar to the MJU 1020 that we reviewed earlier. It sports a 10.1-megapixel sensor along with a 7x optical zoom, making it quite a powerful photography tool. As usual, the lens is also supported by sensor-shift stabilisation, which means you can make the most of the big zoom even without a tripod.

The unit produced fairly crisp, sharp snaps that are up to the standard of other units of the same resolution. They'll be fine for all but the largest prints. We sometimes lost a bit of detail in low light, but it wasn't too severe. Chromatic aberration was restrained to a reasonable level. There was a decent amount of purple fringing in our outdoor snaps, but this is common among compact units and isn't surprising considering the size of the lens.

Noise was well controlled, with everything up to ISO 400 producing minimal grain. Above this setting, we began to see some blotchiness; however, ISO 800 is still adequate for many situations. It isn't until you hit ISO 1600 that things begin to go pear shaped.

Colours were relatively well saturated, with some small errors. As we've said before, we've struggled a little in the past with Olympus' white balance and the lack of a custom option. It did an okay job here but we would still have preferred a little more control. Colours in our outdoor shots looked fine, with good saturation levels. However, photos were a little too vivid at times under indoor lighting conditions. Many users won't be bothered by this, or indeed will appreciate it; if not, you can tweak it later on.

The MJU 1010 was quite quick with one notable exception. It started up in 0.08 seconds, which is about average, and shot-to-shot time was a speedy 1.8 seconds. Start-up time was particularly fast at 1.6 seconds. However, the burst mode was very sluggish, snapping just 1.6 frames per second. You can speed this up dramatically by dropping the resolution, but this won't be satisfactory for many people.

The feature set is pretty standard for a compact. It packs in face detection and shadow adjustment, as well as Olympus' very cool guide mode that walks beginners through some basic photography problems. It also has a very intuitive panorama stitch mode that makes taking widescreen shots a breeze.

The unit's design is a standout feature. It looks absolutely fantastic, with a slim, stylish wedge design. The entire body is built from metal and it feels extremely sturdy as well as being comfortable to hold. The controls are well laid out and intuitive and should prove no obstacle even for novice users.

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