Olympus MJU 850 SW Review

Waterproof

Picture
Olympus MJU 850 SW Ease of Use 9
Features 7
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 8
Photo Quality 6
Style 8
Lowlight 7
Macro 6
Value for Money 8
8 Megapixels
3x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3 m
136g

Overview

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.

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:

8
3x
2.5 inches
93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3 m
136g

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

7cm
No
No
Lithium ion
xD

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.

Portraits

Outdoor Portrait: 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.

Summary

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.

See sample images link arrow

Style

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

Shutter Lag Rating Fast

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash

0.27 seconds
8.07 seconds
0.47 seconds
14.85 seconds


Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Easy 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

Verdict

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.

Product Shots

Front View

Olympus MJU 850 SW Front View

Back View

Olympus MJU 850 SW Back View

Top View

Olympus MJU 850 SW Top View

Sample Menus

menu  playback

main menu white balance

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

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Read Review: Olympus TG-820 Review

Olympus TG-320 Rating 81/100

The Olympus Tough TG-320 offers quite a lot of features for the price. It is able to cope with most typical snapshot opportunities. It scores well for ease of use. All in all it is a good choice if you are looking for a digital camera with robust features and you would like one with a lower price tag.

Read Review: Olympus TG-320 Review

Panasonic DMC FT20 Rating 81/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FT20 is a mid range robust digital camera. In terms of performance it is mid range too when it comes to picture quality. It is one of those digital cameras that do not stand out from the crowd, but at the same time it is hard to come up with reasons not to buy it. Picture quality is fine for snapshot print sizes.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FT20 Review

Related Pages

Olympus MJU 850 SW Review Olympus MJU 850 SW Specification Olympus MJU 850 SW Sample Images Olympus MJU 850 SW Features Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

April 2008

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