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On Tuesday I reviewed the Olympus mju 780, the mid-range model from the popular range of weatherproof compacts. Today I'm taking a look at a similar model from the lower end of the range, the mju 760. I don't usually review two such similar cameras so close together, but Olympus wants its cameras back tomorrow so I have no choice. Not to worry though, because although the mju 760 does share many features with the 780 it also has several important differences and is certainly worthy of its own review.
The most obvious difference between the two cameras is the zoom lens. Where the 780 has an f/3.3 - 5.0 5x zoom lens equivalent to 36-180mm, the 760 has a slightly slower f/3.4 - 5.7 3x zoom lens equivalent to 37-111mm. Other than this, the basic specification is very similar, with a 7.1-megapixel 1/2.3-in sensor, 2.5-in 230k LCD monitor, ISO 1600 maximum sensitivity and a weather-resistant body.
In appearance as well the two cameras are clearly very closely matched, with the same curved wedge shape, although there are a number of cosmetic differences. For a start, whereas the body of the 780 is sheathed entirely in metal, most of the back half of the 760's case is plastic, with a metal facia over the back panel. Although it is still a very sturdily built and nicely finished camera, and is actually only five grams lighter, the 760 somehow feels cheaper and less substantial. This is not entirely illusory, since the 760 only costs around £120, some £50 less that the 5x zoom model. This low price and basic specification mean that the mju 760 is competing with budget 7MP compacts from several other manufacturers, including the new Nikon CoolPix L14 and S200, both around £130, the Pentax Optio M30 at around £140, the Casio Exilim EX-Z75 at under £110 and the Samsung L700 at £115, not to mention Olympus' own FE-230 at around £100. Of course none of these cameras have the mju's weatherproof credentials, so that's one advantage it has.
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