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Olympus MJU MINI Digital Camera Hands-On Preview 03/09/04

The Olympus MJU Mini Digital 4.0MP weatherproof digital camera was announced at an Olympus press conference in Frankfurt Germany - there I was able to get a hands-on look at this new camera. The camera features a 2x Optical zoom lens, a 1.8", 134,000 pixel TFT screen and is designed in-house by Olympus. Features: Full flat front, weather proof metal body (when camera is switched off), an underwater case will be available, movie recording with sound (320x240/15fps), TruePic TURBO image processor - available in Silver, Pure White, Black, Crystal Blue, Velvet Red, and Copper Orange (all shown below).

Olympus have this to say about the camera: "The Mju (µ) -mini DIGITAL from Olympus is a real showstopper. With a futuristic design and smooth contours, it is true to the Mju philosophy, by creating a perfect balance between design and technology. Its four million pixels deliver stunning picture quality, whilst a weather-proof* metal body is available in a choice of six striking colours (Silver, Pure White, Black, Crystal Blue, Velvet Red and Copper Orange), so you can select the one most in tune with your personality."

The camera is planned for release in October 2004 in the UK with an RRP price of £249.99 inc VAT. With the release of this new camera, bargain hunters should be able to find the older but highly popular Olympus mju 400 and 410 for a very good price. (The Olympus Mju 400 is currently £149 inc vat at amazon.co.uk (was £179!) and the Olympus Mju 410 is currently £202 inc vat at amazon.co.uk.)

Dimensions of the camera: 95 x 55.5 x 27.5mm, weight: 115g

On the front: Flash, built in lens cover, microphone, self-timer lamp.

Shown with wrist strap attached.

The 5.8-11.6mm 1:3.5-4.9 2x Optical zoom lens - equiv. 35 - 70mm on 35mm camera)

Back of camera: Easy to use Quick View button, High-Contrast TFT ("Sunshine"), Wide/Telephoto zoom, Speaker, Scene modes (eg portrait, cuisine, etc), Macro (Super macro - flash cannot be used in super macro mode - the lens is extended into telephoto position, normal macro - flash can be used and the lens is in wide angle position), Flash, Timer, underneath is the tripod mount.

Top right of camera: Shutter release, below, power, on the right, the stylish mode dial - kept simple: Photo, Video, Play

Left side of camera from front: Rubber sealed battery, memory card, and usb connection cover.

Size comparison next to Mark Goldstein's Canon G3.

Size comparison next to a pair of glasses.

First impressions: The camera appears to have had the menu system updated / revamped slightly, to include scene modes, fish eye effect, soft focus, and make the camera more easy to use. The screen colour, refresh rate, and clarity is very impressive - due to the small size of the camera, the TFT screen appears larger than it actually is - it seemed like a 2" TFT screen, when in fact it is a 1.8" TFT screen. The speed and responsiveness of the camera seemed very good, with a very quick on/off time - watch a video of the camera being switched off and then on below.

3 second quicktime movie. (380kb)

I expect this camera will be VERY popular - it is small, EXTREMELY stylish, fun and easy to use, and is likely to deliver excellent images. In fact I'd go so far as to say that this camera is probably the most stylish digital / non-digital camera ever made.

Specifications / Features:

  • Revolutionary design
  • Six body colour variations (Jewellery Silver, Pure White, Cosmic Black, Crystal Blue, Velvet Red and Copper Orange)
  • Weather-proof* metal body
  • 4.0 million pixels
  • 2x optical zoom (equiv. 35 - 70mm on 35mm camera), f3.5-4.9
  • 1.8 inch high-contrast LCD (134,000 pixels) with 160° viewing angles on both the vertical and horizontal axis
  • TruePic TURBO image processor
  • Still image editing functions including new fish-eye and soft focus modes
  • Movie recording function with sound
  • PictBridge support

* weather-proof equivalent to the IEC standard publication 529 IPX4

For further information and full specifications please see www.olympus.co.uk / the mju mini digital page.