Olympus Mju 7040 Review

February 24, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |


I really wanted to like the Olympus mju 7040. After all, it's a lightweight, absolutely pocketable little snapper that packs a highly versatile 28-196mm equivalent zoom lens and image stabilisation - what's not to like? Well, just a couple of things, really. While for the most part, the revamped user interface works well, menu navigation still feels too slow at times, and certain important functions like exposure compensation take too many button presses and too much time to access and set. Also, the new - for a mju anyway - rear control wheel doesn't really add much to the usability of the camera, as it does the same thing as the navigation buttons - we feel there is a missed opportunity here.

These niggles aside, the Olympus mju 7040 works quite well in the field, as long as you don't want to shoot moving targets in low light, a task almost no digital compact camera is suited to anyway. The real issues present themselves when you get home and download the images to your computer. Upon looking at the images on a big screen, you can't help but notice that at most focal lengths and subject distances the lens can really only keep up with the sensor's increased resolution in the central area of the frame - as you move toward the edges, the lens' resolving power becomes increasingly inadequate for the tiny, pixel-packed sensor. The jump to 14 megapixels took its toll on the signal-to-noise ratio as well, with noise now creeping in even at the lowest sensitivity settings. As for the apparent dynamic range, the manufacturer's Shadow Adjustment Technology sometimes works wonders; but at other times, it produces absolutely weird, unrealistic colours and invariably makes shadow noise more apparent in your pictures.

Obviously, those trading up from a camera phone or a run-of-the-mill 3x or 4x zoom compact will still admire the extra opportunities the Olympus mju 7040 presents them with, while managing to remain small and light (hence the 'Above Average' rating). Those who do not mind a little extra heft might be better served by the camera's bigger brother the Olympus mju 9010, which we also have in for testing; so watch this space for an upcoming review.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 3
Value for money 3.5