For those of you who read the Olympus Mju 1200
review, you will remember my disdain for the tiny zoom that accompanied the large resolution. The Mju 830 seems to alleviate that problem with a lower 8Mp resolution but a 5x optical zoom to grapple with.
Olympus Mju 830 Specification
- Sensor: CCD - 8 Mp
- Image Size: 3248 x 2436 pixels
- Lens: 36-180mm f/3.3-5.0 (5x zoom)
- Focus: TTL Auto - 3 cm Macro
- Exposure: Prog. AE/ 22 Scene
- Metering: ESP/Spot
- Monitor: 2.5in TFT LCD
- Other Features: PictBridge Support
- Movie Mode: Yes (with sound)
- Storage: 14.8MB Internal, xD Card
- Batteries: Lithium-ion
- Video Output: Yes
- Transfer: USB
At £205, the Olympus Mju 830 is comparable in resolution and build with the Canon Ixus 860 IS for £235 and the Panasonic FX100 at £245. Neither cameras have as large a zoom or are weatherproof like the Olympus.
Olympus Mju 830 Modes and features
In appearance, the Mju 830 is identical to the Olympus Mju 1200 with the sleek, glossy, black frontage and gunmetal grey rear.
The front houses the off-centre lens with slim flash and standard advertising. Moving to the top is a little more exciting with some buttons to look at. The Power button, shutter release and image stabiliser button can be found here.
The rear of the camera is where the fun is and the top is where the small zoom rocker is situated alongside the simple Mode dial. Only six options adorn the dial and they are Favourites, Playback, Auto, Scene mode, Guide and Video. The Favourites is for use in the Playback mode and is to store a select few of your favourite images, so your camera becomes a kind of portable picture library.
The Scene mode holds a further 22 modes which should cope with anything you can throw at it. The modes range from the usual Portraits, Landscapes and and Sports through to more obscure ones like Documents, Auction and even three underwater modes. Bear in mind that to use these modes, the underwater case has to be used and these cases can costs between £100-£150.
The Guide is a simple database designed to help you out of tight spots. So if you have trouble with silhouetting someone, find the problem in the Guide and it will give info on how to overcome it.
Four buttons crowd around the Menu and navigation pad like an admiring rabble and these are for access to the main Menu, Playback, Display and Back lighting correction.
The centre button is to access the Functions of the camera for quick changes to your basic picture taking such as Auto or Program, White balance, ISO settings, Drive and Metering. The Navigation pad doubles up and Macro, Exposure compensation, Flash functions and Self timer can be accessed here.
The main Menu is the usual computer desktop style arrangement of folders for accessing the different areas. The Camera menu is in the middle and is an extended version of the Function screen adding Fine zoom, Digital zoom, AF mode, Voice recording and Panoramic mode to the bazaar of options.
Hitting up will allow changes to the resolution and pressing left will reset everything. Press the right button and you can go to the Set up where the main controls of the camera are. Here you can adjust the Language, the brightness of the screen, the volume, shutter sound or beep. Format the card, reset the file name, change the date and time, set the alarm clock and video out and amend the power save option. Four pages of options are available in all.
The Pixel mapping feature needs only to be used once a year or so and is a maintenance device that will scan your pixels and ensure they are all working Ok, then if any are dead, you can get the camera repaired. Bear in mind, most companies won't fix a sensor if less than four or five pixels are dead.
Olympus have also included a Silent mode on the Mju series for quiet picture taking. Ideal for night photography or wildlife.
One feature that I feel needs mentioning is the help option on the Display button. It is there to help with any problems you may have with features or buttons and will give a small explanation.
Olympus Mju 830 Build and handling
A metal chassis is housed by a smooth plastic body, which I would normally turn my nose up at, but with these series of the Mju range, it looks great and well ahead of its time. The buttons on the back light up with a soft green glow.
As with all Mju's, the 830 is weatherproof to cope with rainfall, but not flash floods.
It's a fast mover starting up and ready to shoot in approximately a second. The back of the camera is easy enough to navigate as is the Menu, but I still feel it could be improved upon.
Olympus Mju 830 Flash options
Four options are open to you and they are Auto, Red-eye reduction, Flash on and Flash off. Simple.
The strobing Red-eye reduction was created by Olympus for the Mju2 35mm film compact and this has been copied by a lot of companies now as it is so effective at reducing Red-eye.
Olympus Mju 830 Performance
The shutter lag test came to about 0.08 second which is a decent response, whilst the continuous shooting burst mode test gave a result of 10 in ten seconds in standard mode and an incredible 36 shots in Hi Speed mode. Although this mode knocks down the quality, it only goes down to 3Mp which is still big enough for a decent 6x4. This means the camera has a top performance of 3.6fps.
The colourtest chart shows noticeable boosting of colour in the Reds and Blues, but the skin tone is accurate which is a good sign. The tones have also been reproduced nicely.
The Portrait shoot was taken with flash on Portrait mode which is a lot cooler than the straight forward Program mode. The flash has taken out any warmth that Portrait mode usually puts in there. The highlights are not burnt out which is good and the catchlights are nicely visible bringing life to the eyes. The Program mode has amuch warmer result and softer due to the ISO400 setting that the camera has selected.
In the landscape test, the results are a little odd. The sensitivitiy is a smooth ISO64 and to stop camera shake the shutter speed is at 1/30th second. But because of the dreary day, the aperture that has been selected is f/3.3. Hardly a landscape aperture.
Blue is saturated, tones are clear and the skin tone is untouched by Red.
Super macro can get as close as 3cm but at the expense of zoom. Normal macro has a close focusing of 20cm, which is pathetic.
The wide angle shot shows the whole airfield, but only manages a widest focal point of 36mm.
However, the more sensible 5x optical zoom closes in on distant subjects with ease.
The Portrait mode is cooler than program, surprisingly. The exposure is nicely balanced.
The warmer image is due to the white balance not coping and the softer effect is caused by a high ISO.
A soft image is reproduced although on a misty day. Areas look out of focus, but Landscape mode should have a narrow aperture.
Olympus Mju 830 Noise test
ISO64 gives a lovely result with fine detail with no noise visible at all and the same can pretty much be said for ISO100. Although shown at full size, very faint sharpening is already beginning to occur, this will not affect your pictures though.
Disappointingly, ISO200 has small pockets of purple noise showing on the black area and sharpening is still showing on the grey card. Detail is still shown in the petals, though.
Skip to ISO400 and those purple blobs are starting to expand whilst the noise begins to appear all over the image. ISO800 and ISO1600 show this problem increasing with definite spots of saturated purple all over the image like a rash. Detail is also lost on the petals at the highest rating which is a sad result for Olympus.
The ISO64 test.
The ISO100 test.
The ISO200 test.
The ISO400 test.
The ISO800 test.
The ISO1600 test.
Olympus Mju 830 Verdict
Looks wise, the Olympus Mju 830 is a winner and I like the inclusion of the larger zoom even though it's to the compromise of the resolution, but do you need 12Mp when 8Mp will print to A3?
The Mju range pretty much guarantees good quality, both in build and performance. Couple this with the good looks and this is a camera that can do little wrong.
It's a shame the noise is so problematic as the camera gives excellent results otherwise.
Olympus Mju 830 Plus points
Good lens quality
Super macro mode is good
Olympus Mju 830 Minus points
Normal macro is bad
Noise results are saddening
The Olympus Mju 830 costs around £205 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop right here.