Olympus MJU 820 Review

Ultra Compact

Picture
Olympus MJU 820 Ease of Use 8
Features 8
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 7
Style 8
Lowlight 8
Macro 7
Value for Money 8
8 Megapixels
5x Zoom
2.7 inch LCD Screen
96.4 x 56.4 x 24.3 m
125g

Overview

The Olympus MJU 820 is one of the few weatherproof digital cameras on the market. It can stand up to most conditions and you should have no problem using the MJU 820 in the rain. At a shade under 25mm wide it will squeeze into most pockets. Inside its metal body is a fairly typical snapshot digital camera. The emphasis is placed more on ease of use than advanced features.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

8
5x
2.7 inches
96.4 x 56.4 x 24.3 m
125g

Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

3cm
No
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
xD

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom): The first thing that strikes me about this camera is the fact the MJU 820 has a problem with bright sunlight reflecting from light coloured objects. This can be seen on the side of the boats. Putting this issue aside focusing is good. The brickwork on the building stands out well and focusing remains fairly strong as you move out away from the centre of the photo.

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): This is quite an extreme test, with parts of the scene very distant. The MJU 820 handles it well enough. As with most digital cameras focusing does start to drift as you move towards the edges of the photo.

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): Looking at this picture I can see the same problem with sun glare as in the first photo. This could be a problem if there are a lot of light areas in the photos you are planning to take and the sun is shining down. Focusing is again quite good and you can see the extra length of lens helps to get you in a little closer than a typical 3x zoom does.

Portraits

Outdoor Portrait: The colours produced with this shot are softer than the majority of other digital cameras produce. This may or may not be to your own personal taste, but I am quite happy with the result. I have used face detection focusing to increase sharpness and white balance has been adjusted to cloudy to suit the weather conditions. This helps to give a bit of boost to the colours.

Indoor Portrait with Flash: Moving indoors and turning on the flash produces a decent indoor portrait. There is plenty of detail in the shot and the camera managed to avoid red eye on this occasion.

Indoor Portrait without Flash: This is my favourite photo out of this set of test shots. The lighting may not be overly challenging, but even so the MJU 820 does a better job with it than most cameras I have tested. The photo has a very natural look to it when compared to the portrait taken with flash.

Macro, Colours and Noise

The macro shot is a little disappointing. It does not have the same clarity a lot of other cameras manage. Even so the MJU 820 should be good enough to take the occasional macro shot, especially if you are using more natural light than in my test.

Olympus digital cameras produce more gentle colours than most other brands (especially Panasonic, Kodak and Samsung). There is a tendency for some blues to take on a purple tinge under bright sunlight.

Compared with other cameras the MJU 400 stands up pretty well when the light is less than perfect and flash is not used. Noise inevitably does creep in, but it stays within reasonable bounds and there is still plenty of detail showing.

As ever picture quality has fallen away at ISO 1600. Even so the MJU 820 produces a better photo than many cameras I have tested. I can't see this setting be using all that often though.

Summary

I am happy with the test photos I have taken with the MJU 820. They are not the best set I have ever taken, but the camera holds up well in most cases. Shame about the sun glare!

See sample images link arrow

Style

With a sloping front the Olympus MJU range has a slightly different look to most pocket cameras. This camera is just about small enough to fit into a pocket. It is available in four colours, Midnight Black, Starry Silver, Ruby Red and Crystal Blue.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots

0.32 seconds
12.39 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par With not too many features to get used to the camera is easy enough to use. The menu system is quite straightforward, but some items are a bit tucked away.

Points I Like

Weatherproof - neat design

Where it Could Improve

Sun glare

Verdict

There are not many weatherproof digital cameras to choose form. So if this is important to you then the Olympus MJU 820 is probably as good as any. Picture quality holds up until you really start to push the camera. Shutter lag times fall well within what is acceptable and the camera is also easy enough to pick up and get started with.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

playback menu playback

camera menu menu

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

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Read Review: Canon IXUS 510 HS Review

Canon IXUS 125 HS Rating 86/100

If you are looking for a pocket camera and you are prepared to pay extra for picture quality and build quality then the Canon IXUS 125 HS is a good choice. Although it doesn’t have all the latest features like 360 degree panoramas it does an excellent job when it comes to taking pictures. It is straightforward, easy to use and will fit into just about any pocket.

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Canon IXUS 1100 HS Rating 85/100

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is a very good choice if you are looking for a pocket digital camera with a combination of a longer zoom lens and touch control. Once you get used to the screen and improve your touch accuracy it responds well. Picture quality compares favourably with other pocket cameras. The style and build suggest a bit of extra class too. The IXUS 1100 HS ticks most of the boxes for a camera in this category.

Read Review: Canon IXUS 1100 HS Review

Related Pages

Olympus MJU 820 Review Olympus MJU 820 Specification Olympus MJU 820 Sample Images Olympus MJU 820 Features Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

February 2008

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