Olympus Mju 850SW Digital Camera Review - The Olympus Mju 850SW 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's one of the very few consumer level digital cameras that you can do this with. The Mju 850SW has 8Mp and a 3x optical zoom lens. David Tymon from Cameras.co.uk has reviewed.
Why Buy the Olympus Mju 850SW? Because it's waterproof and can handle a drop means that it's great for someone who puts a bit of wear and tear on their camera. You can use it at the beach and around the pool. It's also safe in the hands of children as long as they're not planning to launch it off a cliff.
Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom) The MJU 850SW 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 850SW 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.
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.
Colours 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.
Macro I was able to produce a bright macro shot with the Mju 850SW, but it is not that sharp. There is also a purple tinge in places.
ISO 400 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.
ISO 1600 Increasing the ISO setting to its maximum value causes even greater problems. All picture quality has disappeared.
Overall I think the Mju 850SW 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.
Shutter Lag Most digital cameras take at least 0.3 seconds to take a shot, so the 0.27 seconds posted by the Mju 850SW is faster than standard. Five photos took a respectable 8.07 seconds. With the flash turned on times remained fairly fast. One shot took 0.47 and five were timed at 14.85 seconds.
Style: I like the look of the black model I have tested. One end is silver and the contrasting colours help the Mju 850SW to stand out from the crowd. It is also available in silver and pink.
Dimensions: 93.6 x 60.9 x 21.3 mm
Batteries: Lithium ion. A battery and charger are supplied as standard.
Memory cards: The Mju 850SW is compatible with xD picture memory cards. There is enough memory built in to store around five shots.
Ease of use rating: Good. 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
Alternatives If you are interested in a more standard pocket camera with better picture quality try the Canon IXUS 80 IS.
David Tymon's verdict: I see the Olympus Mju 850SW 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.