Olympus Mju 7010 Review
The Olympus Mju 7010 (also known as the Stylus 7010) is a new 12 megapixel compact camera with a 7x optical zoom lens. Offering a versatile focal range of 28-196mm, the Olympus 7010 also features a 2.7 inch LCD screen, Dual Image Stabilisation and AF tracking. The i-Auto mode detects the five most commonly used scenes and adjusts settings, focus and exposure automatically. Images can be enhanced using the new Magic Filters, which include Pop Art, Pin Hole, Sketch, and Fish-Eye, and both xD-Picture Card and microSD Cards can be used. The mju 7010 is available now in Starry Silver, Titanium Grey and Candy Pink, with an official price tag of £249 / $199 in the UK / US respectively.
Ease of Use
With the focus of late on Olympus' fledgling digital Pen and, to a lesser extent, the Mju Tough range, it's easy to forget that the company also manufactures reliable, value for money and not altogether unattractive compacts - including the new 12 effective megapixel Olympus Mju 7010.
So what makes this pocket-sized point-and-shoot contender, with a recommended UK price of £249, stand out from the crowd? Put simply: magic. Or rather, to be clear, a set of 'magic filters' that appears to be very similar in terms of built-in digital effects to the 'art filters' found on Olympus' E-series DSLRs and its aforementioned Pen. On the one hand, introducing these to the lower end of the market seems a sensible move in this age of identikit compact camera clones, but on the other perhaps undermines their desirability on the more expensive higher end models.
Still, users get a choice of shooting in ultra vivid Pop Art filter mode as an alternative to the Mju 7010's rather cool and flat looking pictures when taken on standard default settings, plus further image enhancing options Pin Hole, Fish Eye and Sketch. Results vary with Pop Art and Pinhole being to our minds the most successful. Other key features worth flagging up include a 7x wide optical zoom equivalent to 28-196mm in 35mm terms that suggests the ability to take group portraits as well as extreme telephoto shots; an impressive specification given the otherwise slender proportions.
Close focusing is down to 2cm, courtesy of a 'Super Macro' mode, which likewise isn't bad given its otherwise entry-level specification. Also 'not bad' though again no great shakes, is a light sensitivity range stretching from ISO 64 to ISO 1600 and all points in between, plus a standard issue 640x480 pixels AVI Motion JPEG movie mode with sound providing a maximum frame rate of 30fps, its duration limited only by card capacity.
Suggesting itself as a family friendly option, we also get the promise of AF tracking, advanced face detection for up to 16 subjects, 15 scene modes, plus shadow adjustment and a beauty mode - located via a thumb twist of the rear mounted mode dial - that like Samsung's own, smoothes skin tones free of obvious blemishes. More predictable perhaps is that the camera is available in a choice of three finishes: titanium grey, candy pink or starry silver. We had the latter in to test.
A mix of metal and plastic construction, the relatively slender (at 26.2mm 'wide') Mju 7010 feels solid yet lightweight (at 125g) when gripped in the palm and unobtrusive when slipped into a trouser pocket. From the front the (distinctly un-starry) mix of metallic silver and mirrored chrome detailing suggests a certain level of sophistication. With the full extent of the zoom stored within the body when the camera is inactive, the overall look is clean, an indicator for the self timer set into the curve of the lens surround, just below the lozenge shaped built-In flash, and, top right of the lens, a pin prick indicating a built in microphone for movie mode and voice memos.
Controls on the camera's top plate are set into a minimalist looking mirrored chrome strip that runs along the top and continues down both sides of the camera. Here we have a recessed on/off button and a lozenge shaped shutter release button, slightly raised to subtly suggest to first time users that this is where they should be placing their forefinger. Press the power button and, with a brief musical flourish, the rear LCD bursts into life and the lens extends to its maximum wideangle setting - a process taking just over a second. Which is quick for this class of camera. This rapidity extends to the lightning fast determining of focus and exposure, a central AF point illuminated in green and a beep of affirmation letting the user know it's OK to go on and take the shot. Go on to do just that and a maximum resolution JPEG file is committed to memory in just under three seconds - which is average for its class.
Like recent compact competitors from Canon and Panasonic, Olympus has introduced its own take on intelligent auto functionality with the 7010, naming it the marginally different sounding intelligent i-Auto. This works in the same way as its rivals: point the camera at a given scene or subject, whereupon said scene will be quickly analysed and here one of a modest five given modes selected to provide optimal results. This helps further ensure that the Mju 7010's operation is literally point and shoot.
While the front and top plate of the 7010 may indicate a small object of desire, the plastic-y controls of the Mju's back plate sadly serve as a passion killer. Indeed the otherwise very similar control layout on the FE-5020 model, cheaper by £100, is ironically better implemented and classier in appearance. The lion's share of the 7010's rear is naturally given over to a 2.7-inch, 230k dot resolution, LCD screen, but with little - if anything - provided on this camera for the user to get a solid grip on when shooting handheld, the screen inevitably becomes covered in greasy thumbprints. Visibility is, again, adequate for its class, and the provided resolution average, so you'll really need to download images to a desktop PC/Mac before critical focus and exposure can be properly determined.
Thankfully Olympus has included dual image stabilization (mechanical and digital) to help combat the effects of camera shake, though like any such system it's not 100% reliable, if it is better than that of the FE-5020. Still, the camera is reasonably quick to respond to each button press and function selection, response times aided by Olympus' proprietary TruePic III processor.
Exterior styling and usability aside, Olympus has also commendably (and thankfully) revamped the on-screen user interface that had previously remained largely unchanged throughout the range for most of this decade. The set up, camera and image quality icons remain cartoon-ish and friendly looking so as not to upset beginners, but now look less dated plus there is a greater fluidity to their selection and implementation. A case in point is that when you come to delete an image, pressing the dedicated button on the backplate, a trashcan pops up left of screen into which your image is visibly 'scrunched' and disposed of, with satisfying accompanying sound effects.
The other controls on the backplate include a paddle-shaped rocker switch top right of the screen for adjusting the camera's zoom. Press this and the camera will glide from maximum wide-angle to extreme telephoto setting in just under two seconds, sound-tracked by an unobtrusive yet present mechanical whine.
Beneath this control is a halfpenny-sized mode wheel - or dial - with beveled edge for catching the fingernail. Ranged around this are user-selectable options for program mode, iAuto capture, playback, movies, beauty mode and a combined scene mode. In practical terms, the fact that playback is accessed via a setting on the dial rather than having its own dedicated button has the knock on effect of the user not being able to quickly jump back into capture mode with a half press of the shutter release button should a photo opportunity unexpectedly present itself while reviewing pics; naturally the dial has to be first turned and one of the capture modes selected.
Perhaps that's why Olympus has, just below the dial, unusually included a second means of playback in the form of an actual button ranged along a self-explanatory one for 'menu'. The pair form a second paddle shaped rocker switch that visually apes the one for the zoom. Press the playback side of the switch and, with a subsequent press of the shutter release button, the camera will indeed throw the user back into capture mode if desired.
Moving back to the dial, take a picture in beauty mode and, displaying cutesy graphics that wouldn't look out of place in Disney's Cinderella, the camera automatically smoothes skin tones and brightens eyes while a 'busy' progress bar appears at the bottom of the screen, and the image itself hypnotically slides around the screen. You can set these adjustments to soft, average or strong within the camera's menus, but it appears to need the subject facing the camera with both eyes open for the face to register and the function to work; turn side on and it's no good.
|Memory Card Slot||Battery Compartment|
In terms of navigating around the Mju's cartoon-like menu system, while on the whole it's an intuitive process we felt operability could have been further improved with the addition of a dedicated 'back' button to allow the user to jump back to the main menu to make further selections after they have made their initial choices - or had a change of mind.
Beneath the menu and playback switch is a square four-way control pad with an OK/function button at its centre. At 12 o'clock on the pad is a means of manually adjusting exposure compensation (a choice of +/- 2EV) with thumbnail images on screen helpfully providing a neat visual representation of the effect incremental changes will have. At three o'clock we get a means of selecting from the camera's modest flash modes: auto flash, red eye removal, fill-in or off. Also modest is that the self timer control that follows at 6 o'clock on the dial can merely be set to on or off, while last but by no means least at nine o'clock we have a choice of macro or super macro settings - the latter allowing the user to get as close in as 2cm.
The final buttons - or rather, again, shared paddle switch - are for adjustment of the LCD display and/or image deletion. Press 'display' and on-screen info disappears to provide a 'clean' view of your subject, press again and a nine zone compositional grid pops up; press a third time and unexpectedly a real time histogram appears to enable the user to check exposure is even across the image.
While that's it for the camera's backplate, the right hand side provides an eyelet for attaching a wrist strap and the base features an unprotected port for USB 2.0 cable. Next to this is a flip-open door protected by a catch that jointly houses the rechargeable lithium ion battery and slot for optional removable media card. Indicating the Mju is aimed at users upgrading from camera phones, an plastic adapter for use of a microSD card is also provided; otherwise the slot provided is for the now surely outgunned (by SD/SDHC) XD-Picture Card, which of course, like Fuji, Olympus originally had a co-development interest in. Any card is of course an optional extra - no removable media is provided in the box, though there's a small 36MB internal memory to get you started.
Ultimately, the impression given by the Olympus Mju 7010 is that it's like a record by the Carpenters; pleasant enough, with a few nice touches, but lacking an element that truly makes you sit up and take note. So, can the images produced add a decisive punch? Let's take a look…
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.
At its maximum 28mm wide-angle setting there is some noticeable loss of focus towards the edges of the frame. As we've noted with Olympus images in the past, on default settings results look distinctly cool - so it's apt that the 7010 has its 'magic filters' on board to boost contrast and saturation and overall add a bit of definition to what are rather wishy-washy results straight out of the camera.
Whereas competing snapshot models from Panasonic and Sony imbue everything with a healthily warm hue, the unadulterated, unedited JPEG images from the 7010 can't help but look pallid by comparison - if not using the 'pop art' style magic filter to up the saturation to retina searing levels that is. Some sort of halfway house between the two as the camera's default setting would seem the ideal.
Of course, the overall look of the 7010's shots - along with occasionally inconsistent white balance performance - can be improved immeasurably with a little messing about in Photoshop, but that would rather seem to go against the auto everything ethos of an ideal point and shoot compact. That's to say users won't, in fairness, be able to achieve the best results if entrusting everything to the camera. Also, when faced with contrast-y situations, the camera will err on the side of overexposure to lift shadow detail, therefore burning out highlights.
In terms of ISO performance, noise starts to intrude from as low as ISO 400, which, while not unheard of, is a little disappointing. At ISO800, levels of image deterioration are akin to what closest point and shoot rivals would now display at ISO 1600; results at top setting on the Olympus resembling a multi coloured sandstorm. One could argue that the Mju 7010's chosen audience won't for the most part be looking to shoot at higher ISOs anyway, but it's our role here to be critical.
There are 6 ISO settings available on the Olympus Mju 7010. 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)
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 images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can't change the in-camera sharpening level.
Original (100% Crop)
Sharpened (100% Crop)
The Olympus mju 7010 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)
The Olympus mju 7010 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms 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.
The flash settings on the Olympus mju 7010 are Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.
Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)
Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)
Flash Off - Telephoto (196mm)
Flash On - Telephoto (196mm)
And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-Eye Reduction options caused any red-eye.
|On (100% Crop)|
Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)
The Olympus mju 7010'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 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.
Night Shot (100% Crop)
This is a selection of sample images from the Olympus Mju 7010 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
Sample Movie & Video
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera / Turned On
Rear of the Camera
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Top of the Camera
Bottom of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
|Memory Card Slot|
Despite the fact that Olympus has revamped its formerly rather tired looking menu icons and provided users with a funkier if cartoon-ish interface, plus shoehorned in some creative effects filters and user friendly features, the Mju 7010 is an otherwise fairly run-of-the-mill snapshot camera for the money. You can't help coming away from testing the Olympus for a week without feeling that Canon, Panasonic and Sony can all do this sort of thing better (albeit for £50 more if you'd like a model with HD movie capability).
Certainly performance at ISO400 and above is a let down - as are the rather cool, slightly washed out results delivered when shooting on the camera's standard default settings. On the plus side the latest Mju is for the most part responsive and intuitive to use, and shouldn't tax its target audience. Namely, we imagine, those trading up for a camera phone or someone looking for an inexpensive snapshot model to tuck into a shirt pocket or clutch bag when heading out on a Friday night.
Yes, others can do this sort of thing better and the tragedy here is that - without being too harsh - so too can Olympus itself.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||3|
|Effective pixels||12 Megapixels|
|Filter array||Primary colour filter (RGB)|
|Full resolution||12.7 Megapixels|
|Type||1/2.33 '' CCD sensor|
|Optical zoom||7 x|
|Aspherical glass elements||6|
|Focal length||5.0 - 35.0 mm|
|Focal length (equiv. 35mm)||28 - 196 mm|
|Structure||8 lenses / 7 groups|
|Maximum aperture||3.0 - 5.9|
|Enlargement factor||5 x / 35 x combined with optical zoom|
|Monitor size||6.9 cm / 2.7 ''|
|LCD type||HyperCrystal II LCD|
|LCD backlight boost||Yes|
|Brightness adjustment||+/- 2 levels|
|Method||TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection|
|Face Detection AF||Yes|
|Standard mode||0.7m - ∞ (wide) / 0.7m - ∞ (tele)|
|Makro mode||0.1m - ∞ (wide) / 0.6m - ∞ (tele)|
|Super Macro mode||Closest focusing distance: 2 cm|
|Histogram in shooting mode||Yes|
|Modes||ESP light metering, Spot metering|
|Shutter speed||1/4 - 1/2000 s / < 4 s (Night scene)|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2 EV / 1/3 steps|
|Enhancement function||Image Stabilisation Mode
Shadow Adjustment Technology
Face Detection Technology
|Modes||i-Auto, Programme automatic, Beauty, Scene Modes, Movie|
|Number of scene modes||15|
|Modes||Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Pre-Capturing Movie, Pet|
|Auto||AUTO / High AUTO Automatically selected|
|Manual||ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|AUTO WB system||Yes|
|Preset values||Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Flourescent 1, Flourescent 2, Flourescent 3|
|Working range (wide)||0.1 - 5.8 m (ISO 800)|
|Working range (tele)||0.5 - 3.0 m (ISO 800)|
|Modes||AUTO, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off|
|Sequential shooting mode (high speed)||(in 3MP mode)|
|Sequential shooting mode|
|Image Stabilisation Mode||Digital Image Stabilisation|
|Black & White||Yes|
|Attach a calendar||Yes|
|Correction of saturation||Yes|
|Index||5 x 3 frames|
|Zoom||1.1 - 10 x|
|Image protect mode||Yes|
|Histogram in playback mode||Yes|
|Frame by frame||Yes|
|Still Image Recording|
|Movie Recording System|
|Recording format||AVI Motion JPEG®|
|Sound recording||Yes , format: WAV|
|Movie quality||640 x 480 / 30 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity (40s with 30fps when xD standard type is used)
640 x 480 / 15 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity
320 x 240 / 30 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity
Note: maximum file size 2GB
|Recording format||Wave format|
|Recording length||4 s|
|Internal memory||36 MB|
|12M||3968 x 2976|
|5M||2560 x 1920|
|3M||2048 x 1536|
|2M||1600 x 1200|
|1M||1280 x 960|
|VGA||640 x 480|
|16:9||1920 x 1080|
|Menu languages in camera||39 languages (Japanese, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (BR + PT), German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese,Thai, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, Persian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Malay, Vietnamese)|
|DC input||Yes (BPC-03L required)|
|Combined A/V & USB output||Yes|
|USB 2.0 High Speed||Yes|
|Mechanical Image Stabilizer||Yes|
|Face Detection Technology|
|Perfect Shot Preview||Yes|
|Self timer||12 s|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||97.5 x 55.7 x 26.2 mm|
|Weight||125 g (without battery and card)|