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Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 - Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 25/01/2009
Rating: Recommended
Author: Joshua Waller
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Read reviews on: Olympus MJU 1060


Introduction: Announced on the 19th of August 2008, the Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 is one of Olympus' ultra compact cameras from their stylus range and features a 10 megapixel sensor, a 7x optical zoom lens, a 3.0" screen, shadow adjustment, high speed shooting, and a VGA video mode. It also features Dual Image Stabilisation (anti-shake sensor), Face Detection, and ISO upto 6400 (at 3mp). The Olympus Mju 1060 is available from around £180 which makes it good value for money. The camera is enclosed in a metal body and is available in black, green or silver. The camera measures approx. 93.7 x 56.4 x 25.1 mm (excluding protrusions), and weighs approx. 128g. excluding battery and memory card.

Olympus have this to say about the camera:

"Life is what you make of it. With an Olympus camera it is even more fun: the Mju 1060 combines miniaturised optics, state-of-theart design and cutting edge technology in a slim metal camera body. With a stunning 7x optical zoom there are practically no limits to the distance from your subject, and the Dual Image Stabilisation prevents blurry photographs. The extremely slim compact camera features the new Intelligent Auto Mode that allows the camera to detect the five most commonly used scenes automatically. And with a generous 7.6 cm/3.0” HyperCrystal LCD, it also enables you to frame and view your images, even in bright sunlight. Enjoy the miniaturised optics and maximum brilliance."

You can find more information on their website.

The Camera: a visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Olympus EVOLT E-410)


Front view - camera off.


Front view - camera on, flash, LED, lens, microphone.


Top: power, shutter release.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.


Size comparison.


Size comparison.

Specifications / Features:

  • 10 million pixel sensor
  • 7x optical zoom (Equivalent to 37-260mm)
  • Face Detection
  • Dual Image Stabilisation (anti-shake sensor, high ISO)
  • 3.0-inch LCD screen, 230,000 pixels
  • ISO : Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / (3200 and 6400 at 3mp)
  • VGA, 30fps Video
  • HD Output : No
  • Red-Eye Reduction: Yes
  • 2cm Macro mode
  • 42mb internal memory
  • Scenes: Mode dial: Program, Intelligent Auto, Play, Favourite, Video, Guide, Scenes: Portrait, Landscape, Landscape and Portrait, Night scene, Night and portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available light, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Behind glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot and Select 1 and 2, Smile shot, Beach and snow, Pre-capture movie.
  • Histogram available: Yes (Record and Playback)
  • Exposure bracketing: No
  • Optical viewfinder: No
  • Manual WB: No

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • Li-ion battery LI-42B
  • Battery charger
  • Strap
  • A/V cable
  • USB cable
  • CD-ROM: Olympus Master 2
  • MicroSD Adapter MASD-1
  • Owner's manual

Average box contents - The camera has a fairly large built in memory (41mb) however this will only let you take about 8 pictures at highest quality so the first thing you'll want to buy is a large memory card. Getting a case is also highly recommended.

Menu system: The function button gives you quick access to the most used options, such as image size, continuous shooting, ISO, white balance etc. Further options are available by using the buttons on the back. The menu system lets you change further settings - you shouldn't really need to change them - as you can access the common ones without going into the menu, which makes the camera quite easy to use. If you do go into the setup menu you will find the camera features an alarm clock! The camera also has a help button that explains each menu item. The playback menu is quite straightforward using icons to access each option - the delete feature even shows the picture going into a rubbish bin so it's absolutely clear what's going to happen with the photo if you continue to delete it.

Picture Size / Quality: The camera lets you choose the image size (10mp, 5mp, 3mp, 2mp, 1mp, VGA), aspect ratio (4:3 and 16:9 at 2mp), and compression (JPEG Fine or Normal). Higher quality images take more memory and more time to store, so this can affect shot to shot time. Although there are a good range of image sizes and compression options, not all of the advertised features can be used in the 10 megapixel mode.


Bottom - Battery (LI-42B, 3.7v, 740mAh) and XD memory card compartment, speaker, plastic tripod mount.

Battery usage: I managed to take around 220 shots, this is average for an ultra compact camera, and battery life will depend on the kind of use you make of the camera. The camera uses a proprietary battery type which is unlikely to be stocked in most shops so it may be worth buying a spare.

Memory cards: A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 1gb memory card, if you intend to take fine JPEG images, and preferably a 2gb memory card, or larger. The larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. You can use XD memory cards, or with the provided adapter you can use MicroSD cards. Listed below are links to XD memory cards that will work with the Olympus Mju Stylus 1060:

Find the latest prices for XD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 1gb (1000mb): £6, 2gb (2000mb): £8.
Need more help deciding what memory card to buy? Have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards or our article what size memory card should I buy?

Speed: The camera switches on and is ready to take a photo in just 1.8 seconds, which is quite quick. Focusing normally takes less than half a second except in reduced light where focusing was sometimes unsuccessful. The camera shutter response when pre-focused was less than a tenth of a second and shot to shot time was around 2.5 seconds. In continuous mode I measured a delay of around 1 second between shots using XD type H memory. The camera also features a smile shot scene mode - this takes 3 shots with flash at roughly 6 fps. Hi Speed 1 shooting mode shoots at roughly 6fps at 3mp, and Hi Speed 2 shoots at around 9 fps at 3mp. The cameras menus and zooming seem responsive and reviewing photos is quick. Moving around the different menu options is ok if you're used to Olympus menu layouts.


Back - 3.0" screen, zoom control, mode dial, menu, play, 4-way controller with middle OK Function button, display and shadow adjustment buttons.

Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, especially in the intelligent AUTO mode and has a number of scene modes that helps get good shots - intelligent AUTO mode will automatically select the correct mode based on subject. The built in guide is especially helpful, as it guides you through the steps needed to change settings and options, and previews the results on screen as you choose the options. The controls on the back of the camera are quite straightforward, and it's easy to switch modes using the clear mode dial. The menus are responsive and are also fairly easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are fairly easy to access, mainly thanks to the large screen, and a lot of the options can be accessed using the buttons on the back. It's also easy to see when photos are in focus.

Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The camera is very small and feels very well built with a metal body. The buttons are a decent size, and have a good layout that makes it easy to use the camera with one hand. There is no hand grip so it's probably worth holding the camera with two hands, and wearing the wrist strap. The camera handles well, though may be a bit tricky for anyone with long nails or large hands. The buttons are labelled well (with symbols and occasionally text). The compartments and covers seem well positioned and are easy to open. It would not be possible to operate the camera whilst wearing gloves.

Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 Sample Photo Gallery!

Inside:

Heather and Flower (ISO64) Flash photo (ISO64)

Inside: The camera has very good colour - It took a good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is almost no red-eye in the photo, and skin tones are very good. It has a fairly good flash, and copes fairly well with group photos, and there is little red-eye in group photos. On AUTO ISO, the ISO setting was quite low and noise was acceptable. The camera regularly struggled to focus indoors, due to there being no focus assist lamp, and often group photos were out of focus.

ISO Noise Test: Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (ranging from ISO 100 - ISO6400), and manual ISO settings (ISO: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400).

Below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops, viewable at 100%, from the image taken at different ISO settings, compared with the 10 megapixel Canon Powershot A2000 IS and Ricoh R10.

Canon Powershot A2000 IS (10mp) Olympus Mju 1060 (10mp) Ricoh R10 (10mp)

ISO Noise Test Photos - Flash is off. Canon Powershot A2000 IS on the left, Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 in the middle, Ricoh R10 on the right. Any tonal difference is due to white balance or lighting / metering differences.

Canon Powershot A2000 IS (10mp) Olympus Mju 1060 (10mp) Ricoh R10 (10mp)
ISO80 - Actual Pixels ISO64 - Actual Pixels ISO80 - Actual Pixels
ISO100 - Actual Pixels ISO100 - Actual Pixels ISO100 - Actual Pixels
ISO200 - Actual Pixels ISO200 - Actual Pixels ISO200 - Actual Pixels
ISO400 - Actual Pixels ISO400 - Actual Pixels ISO400 - Actual Pixels
ISO800 - Actual Pixels ISO800 - Actual Pixels ISO800 - Actual Pixels
ISO1600 - Actual Pixels ISO1600 - Actual Pixels ISO1600 - Actual Pixels
 
ISO3200 - Actual Pixels (2mp) ISO3200 / 6400 (rollover) - (3mp) ISO3200 - NA

Noise results: The Olympus Mju 1060 shows slightly more colourful noise compared to the other cameras here, but also appears to have slightly stronger noise reduction and softer images. The Olympus also underexposes these images due to the slowest shutter speed of 1/4 seconds when taking photos in normal mode. Normally in low light you would simply use the flash so this shouldn't case an issue, it just makes comparing the results with other cameras more difficult. Using one of the scene modes should enable longer shutter speeds (however ISO settings aren't available in the Night Scene mode).

Image Stabilisation: The camera features real image stabilisation, in the form of an anti-shake sensor in the Olympus 1060. This feature helps reduce image blur due to low light or long zoom photography. Examples showing this feature switched on and off can be seen below.

Image Stabiliser On
ISO100, 1/10
Image Stabiliser Off
ISO100, 1/10
Image stabilisation on Image stabilisation off
Image stabilisation on (Actual Pixels) Image stabilisation off (Actual Pixels)

With image stabilisation switched on the images are sharper and clearer, and is much more likely to come out blur free, especially in low light, when using the zoom or when using slow shutter speeds. The camera's systems appear to work well, and it's good to see that this feature is becoming the norm with digital cameras.

Olympus Shadow Adjustment Technology: The camera features shadow adjustment technology, this brings out more detail in dark areas of photos, Olympus explain it as: "A technology designed to improve exposure for pictures with dark areas. Using a sensor that works much like the human eye, dark parts of a composition (e.g. a shadow under a tree) are identified and the camera then adjusts the exposure settings accordingly for those areas. The result is a more realistic and detailed picture.". Examples with this feature switched off and on can be seen below:

Shadow Adjustment Off (ISO64) Shadow Adjustment On (ISO64)
Actual Pixels Actual Pixels

The effects can be seen quite clearly with the darker areas becoming brighter with the feature switched on - it can make it easier to see detail in the darker areas, however it does increase noise slightly as it is more visible.

Outside:

Liverpool shops (ISO64) Delamere Forest (ISO64)

Outside: The camera has quite rich, saturated, pleasing colours. There was good detail, and the camera took a number of very pleasing images outside, with good contrast, with little or no chromatic aberations and purple fringing. In general 'normal' quality jpeg artefacts are not easily seen, however areas with strong contrasts benefit from use of the highest quality setting. Images are slightly soft, with some slight corner softness, but nothing too worrying.

Zoom: This lens provides a 7x optical zoom starting at 37 zooming to 260mm (35mm equivalent) allowing photos of distant objects. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of. Digital zoom basically takes a crop of the centre of the frame and enlarges the image, degrading image quality, and is therefore best avoided.

Wide-angle 3x Optical Zoom 7x Optical zoom

Exposure: The photos of the clock tower are exposed well with detail in the dark areas as well as the lighter areas - exposure in other photos was generally very good. Vignetting was not noticed in these photos. It can be useful to under expose images with bright backgrounds (eg; sky) with use of exposure compensation, or alternatively the Shadow Adjustment Technology can help preserve detail in the shadows.

Lens noise and zoom: The zoom is fairly quiet in operation and provides zoom from 37 - 260mm in 11 steps.

Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing was visible in the usual high contrast areas / Chromatic aberration was not noticed.

Macro Lens Performance:

Timex Watch Macro Actual Pixels (ISO200)

The closest the camera lens can get to the subject when taking macro photos is around 10cm on normal macro mode - using the super macro mode lets you focus the camera on a subject around 1cm away from the front of the lens. Colour and detail are good - however the lack of manual white balance can hinder your results indoors.

Video mode: The camera has two video modes 640x480 at 30fps or 15fps and 320x240 at 30fps or 15fps. The videos are recorded with sound as AVI files. Digital image stabilisation is available while recording videos. The zoom can be used before recording but not during. Sound quality was quite low.

Conclusion

Image Quality: Image quality is good with very good colour, good skin tones, good detail and average noise levels (similar to other 10 megapixel cameras) however images from the 1060 were slightly soft. Red eye in photos was generally low, however focusing in low light was often a problem due to the camera lacking a focus assist lamp. It has a good success rate at taking shake free photos due to the built in image stabilisation. There are a wide range of picture resolutions available and a few compression options, and a 16:9 mode is available. Auto white-balance was generally good however there was no manual white balance mode. The camera gives good control over image quality, and allows some changes to the image afterwards, including shadow adjustment and red eye fix. Purple fringing was average. (8/10)

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The camera is available in black and silver and cyan green and has a strong and ultra compact body. The screen is large (3.0") and easy to read. The camera feels well built and is reasonably comfortable to hold despite it's small size. It is simple to use and quick to access the most commonly used options without having to go into the menu. The layout of buttons and controls is good. The camera speed is very good, with quick switch on time, quick focusing (in good light), excellent shutter response, quick play back mode, quick menus, very good continuous shooting and good flash recharge. The camera has plenty of features to suit most people such as face detection focus, anti-shake, many scene modes, shadow adjustment, red eye reduction, reasonable video mode, and excellent macro mode. It would be good if the camera had a few more features such as manual white balance, focus assist lamp, and a wide angle lens. (8/10)

Value for Money: The Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 from around £180 is good value for money, and if you want one of the biggest zooms available in an ultra compact then there is little choice. The closest competitors are the Canon A2000 IS (6x zoom) or the Ricoh R10 (7.1x wide angle zoom), or you could have a look at the Fujifilm FinePix F100fd (5x wide angle). (8/10) See more digital camera reviews sorted by megapixels here.

Summary: The Olympus Mju 1060 is a very good camera - however it has some minor flaws - which if corrected would make this an excellent camera. One of the most obvious flaws with this camera was the lack of focus assist lamp - this meant that the camera would often fail to focus correctly indoors in low light - so if you often go out to low light venues then this camera simply isn't for you. When indoor shots were in focus images looked great with excellent skin tones. I would also love it if the camera featured a manual white balance mode.

However, if you rarely take photos in low light, and simply point and shoot, then this would make an excellent compact camera, as it is very easy to use and has a geat built in help system. Image quality, whilst not the sharpest available, has excellent colour with very pleasing skin tones. The camera also features a useful 7x optical zoom lens, an excellent 3" screen, a great macro mode and an ultra compact body. The camera is also easy to use and surprisingly quick in use with some very impressive continuous shooting modes.

Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 Rating: Recommended (8/10)
Available for £180 - or Get the best price below!

What I like:

  • Very good colour - good skin tones
  • 7x optical zoom lens
  • Large high quality 3.0 inch screen
  • Ultra compact, stylish metal body
  • Includes face detection and anti-shake technologies
  • Quick - with some very quick continuous shooting modes (at 3mp)
  • Intelligent Auto mode
  • Excellent built in help and guide

What I don't like:

  • Average battery life
  • Menu system could be simpler to use
  • Lacks manual white balance
  • No focus assist lamp - indoor photos often out of focus!
  • Image stabilisation doesn't work in video mode
  • Takes XD memory cards - slow, and max size 2gb

Additional Test Images are viewable in the Olympus Mju Stylus 1060 Sample Photo Gallery.

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