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Olympus mju 1040 review




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Olympus is arguably the most versatile of all the camera manufacturers. The 32 models that currently comprise its ever-changing range covers everything from cheap compacts to professional-quality digital SLRs, and includes powerful super-zoom models, rugged waterproof cameras and expensive premium compacts. As one of the original Big Five camera companies Olympus has a long pedigree, and over the years it has developed a reputation for innovation and style.

In its compact camera range that style is embodied in the mju series. The first mju cameras were innovative and extremely popular weatherproof premium compacts, and some of the range still embody this spirit with impressive waterproof, shockproof and freeze-proof capabilities, but these days the mju series is also home to a number of less rugged models, such as this mju 1040, a slim 10-megapixel ultra-compact with a sliding front cover and an internal 3x zoom lens. Even a cursory glance will tell you that this is a camera designed for environments no more rigorous than a shirt pocket or fashionable handbag.

The camera body is mostly metal, although the sliding lens cover, which also doubles as the power switch, is made of plastic. It is an extremely compact and lightweight camera, measuring just 89 x 55.5 x 20.3 mm and weighing 108g minus battery or memory card. The most interesting exterior feature is the unique control panel; instead of the usual buttons and D-pad, the mju 1040 has a metal panel with flexible cut-outs, much like the keypad of a Motorola Razr mobile phone. The panel is internally illuminated, but the light only comes on when a button is pressed. Although it certainly looks very slick and operates smoothly it lacks the tactile feedback of conventional controls, and when not illuminated the labels are hard to read in low light.


February 26, 2009, 12:20 am

Mind-reading one of your better qualities Cliff, lol. I'm going skiing at Easter and was looking at the MJU range because of the boasts of Shockproof, Weatherproof, and Waterproof.

Are there any in this range that are good enough to expect half decent pictures from? Any other compact recommendations that would deal with snow glare and potential to fall into that cold white stuff?

Thanks as always.


February 26, 2009, 1:40 am

Out of the Olympus mju range, your best bet would probably be the Olympus mju 1030 sw. It got a score of 8/10 overall on here I believe. There's also the more 'stylish' mju 1050 sw (worse picture quality I belive though) or the more affordable mju 850 sw & mju 790 sw. You might also want to have a look at the Pentax Optio w960, not as tough as the mju 1030 sw but cheaper. If money is of no issue, Canon's releasing Powershot D10 this spring, alot more expensive (𧷤+ I believe), but beats any of the above specs-wise. Don't know about the picture quality yet though. Panasonic is also releasing a 'rugged' camera, DMC-FT1, which looks to be on par with the canon spec-wise, and the best styling of the lot IMO.

Hope this helps.

Paul 12

March 9, 2009, 11:01 pm

If only you had done this review sooner ! I bought this awful camera in December for a business trip to Singapore. It's just a bit humid there and the shiny lacquer on the control panel started to peel off after only one day in my pocket. The image quality is actually pretty poor- my 5MP Canon IXUS500 is far better, there's already some dust/condensation in the optics. What was I thinking... ???

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