Olympus mju 9000 Review

4.0
April 6, 2009 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

The Olympus mju 9000 produced images of good quality during the review period. The biggest issue is noise and loss of detail at relatively slow ISO speeds. The 1/2.33 inch, 12 megapixel sensor recorded noise-free images at ISO 64 and 100, but there's already some noise and slight loss of fine detail at ISO 200. ISO 400 shows more noise and some more obvious softening, and ISO 800 and 1600 are even worse, with lots of noise and a distinct colour shift. The Olympus mju 9000 handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate exposure. The night photograph was poor, with the maximum shutter speed of 4 seconds not being long enough for most after-dark shots. Anti-shake is a feature that sets this camera apart from its competitors and one that works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is amazing, allowing you to focus as close as 1 cm away from the subject! The images were a little soft straight out of the Olympus mju 9000 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, as you can't change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Olympus mju 9000. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% Crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Olympus mju 9000 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (4.61Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (2.58Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Olympus mju 9000 handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Olympus mju 9000 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Olympus mju 9000 are Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Fill-in - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Off - Telephoto (280mm)

Fill-in - Telephoto (280mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the On or the Red-eye reduction settings caused any red-eye.

On

On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye reduction

Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Olympus mju 9000's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which is disappointing news if you're seriously interested in night photography, as it doesn't allow you to capture enough light in most situations. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 125. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Olympus mju 9000 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/20th / 28mm
1/10th / 280mm

Entry Tags

compact, 12 megapixel, beginner, 2.7 inch LCD, 10x zoom

Tracker Pixel for Entry