The Olympus MJU 850 SW digital camera is a bit different to most others on the market. You can drop it from 1.5m and immerse it in water to a depth of 3m and it will carry on working. It is one of the very few consumer level digital cameras that you can do this with. The MJU 850 SW has 8 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom lens.
Why Buy The Olympus MJU 850 SW
As mentioned above the fact that it is waterproof to 3m and can handle a drop of 1.5m means that it is great for someone who puts a bit of wear and tear on their digital camera. You can use it at the beach and around the pool. It should also be safe in the hands of children as long as they are not planning to launch it off a cliff.
93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3 m
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom):
The MJU 850 SW digital camera gets off to an acceptable start, but I can already see that in terms of picture quality you are likely to have to make compromises if you are attracted to the idea of a waterproof and shockproof digital camera. In the brighter areas of the picture quality is quite good without being perfect. In the areas away from direct sunlight there is a loss of definition in the picture and it looks like noise creeps in. An example of this is the names of the boats are not as clear as with most other digital cameras.
Outdoor 2 (No Zoom): A darker photo than is normal, but there is plenty of colour in the photo. Sharpness is roughly average,
Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom): This is probably the best of my outdoor test shots. With the vast majority of the shot falling in sunny areas the definition and focusing is better throughout the shot then with my first two pictures.
Outdoor 4 (Building): This photo really does highlight the fact that the MJU 850 SW does much better where the light falls. The area of the building in shade really lacks definition and clarity compared to the parts of the building in direct sunlight.
Here we have another example of noise creeping in. It can be seen in larger prints in the hair on the side of the face shaded from direct sunlight. Otherwise the shot is fine, with plenty of colour.
Indoor Portrait with Flash: This is some way away from being pin sharp. That is a bit disappointing because although the picture was taken indoors the lighting was not particularly challenging.
Indoor Portrait without Flash: Without the flash the photo also lacks a little clarity. Noise is creeping into the hair again and causes a slight speckled effect.
Macro, Colours and Noise
I was able to produce a bright macro shot with the MJU 850 SW, but it is not that sharp. There is also a purple tinge in places.
The colours have a lot of depth to them, especially blues. This means that colour wise at least the camera should be able to produce some striking photos.
As expected, as noise has shown up in some of my normal tests it is certainly a problem at ISO 400 with this Olympus digital camera. Increasing the ISO setting to its maximum value causes even greater problems. All picture quality has disappeared.
I think the MJU 850 SW is a camera for use when the sun is shining. This may mean it really is suited to the beach and around the pool. Shady photos do struggle for definition.
I like the look of the black model I have tested. One end is silver and the contrasting colours help the MJU 850 SW to stand out from the crowd. It is also available in silver and pink.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
Underneath the tough body is a straightforward point and shoot camera. You should find little difficulty finding your way around.
Points I Like
Waterproof and shockproof - looks good
Where it Could Improve
Picture quality could be better
I see the Olympus MJU 850 SW as a camera that you can use just about anywhere. The picture quality could be better, so it's more likely to appeal to someone who is after a snapshot camera they can have fun with rather than one that will produce the perfect picture.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Olympus TG-820 Rating 83/100
There are a number of robust digital cameras with similar features and general qualities. The Olympus TG-820 is priced a little lower than most of its direct competitors, so if you are looking for a good quality, robust digital camera and you would like to keep a few pounds in your pocket then this camera could well be the one for you.
Read Review: Olympus TG-820 Review
Nikon Coolpix AW100 Rating 82/100
The Nikon Coolpix AW100 is up against some stiff competition. It does a decent job, has a good range of features and can handle plenty of different photo opportunities. It may not possess a knock out blow that marks it out as clearly better than its rivals, but it is good enough to make your shortlist if you are looking for a more advanced robust digital camera.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix AW100 Review
Canon Powershot D10 Rating 82/100
The Powershot D10 has a distinctive, fun look that means it will not get mistaken for any other digital camera. It has a number of robust features and is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof to varying degrees. It takes a good snap and is well worth a close look.
Read Review: Canon Powershot D10 Review