Olympus Mju Digital 800
(Olympus Stylus 800 in the USA)
Review Date: October 10th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
With a mixture of good looks, sturdy build quality and everything from numerous scene modes to almost full photographic control, the Olympus Mju Digital 800 offers something to everyone. This is a compact digital camera that will suit both the novice and more experienced photographer alike, as you can take as little or as much control of the camera as you like. The Olympus Mju Digital 800 is pocketable, quick to react, has a great 2.5 inch LCD screen, and is easy to use. It also has an 8 megapixel sensor, perfect for showing off to your friends, but not so good when it comes to the actual image quality.
As with the HP Photosmart R817 that I reviewed last week, noise is the Achilles heel of the Olympus Mju Digital 800. Squeezing 8 megapixels onto such a small CCD sensor inevitably results in noisier images at lower ISO speeds. Here, noise is pretty obvious at ISO 200, which isn't a particularly fast speed, and at ISO 400 and above the image starts to take on a blurry look. This is doubly annoying on the Mju Digital 800, as Olympus actually offer a feature, Image Blur Reduction, that promises to help you out in low-light conditions or when taking pictures of fast moving subjects. Sadly, because the higher ISO speeds are so noisy, I can't recommend using this feature except when there is no other option (like flash or a tripod).
The noise problem is a real shame, as in most other respects the Olympus Mju Digital 800 is a fine camera. Other minor niggles that you should be aware of if you can overlook the noise issue include the lack of an optical viewfinder (because of that large LCD screen), a mushy arrow control pad, red-eye and an ineffective red-eye removal feature, only 15fps in the movie mode and the lack of a USB 2 connection. If you only ever shoot at ISO 64-200, then the Olympus Mju Digital 800 is definitely worth considering, but I don't know too many photographers who do that...
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Olympus Mju Digital 800 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.