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Olympus mju 830 - Olympus mju 830
Overall performance is also something of a mixture. Start-up time is a very quick 1.3 seconds, and in single-shot mode at maximum picture quality it can take a shot every two seconds. In continuous shooting the performance depends on the type of memory card used. With the faster xD card type H it can maintain an impressive 1.1 shots per second until the card is full. Using the slower type M cards however it shoots at one frame per second and is limited to a three-shot burst before it has to pause to empty the buffer, which is rather less impressive. There is also a high-speed burst mode capable of nearly four shots per second, but only at 3-megapixel resolution. Battery duration from the 740mAh li-ion rechargeable seems to be excellent, but like the 780 it also has an unhelpful charge level meter with only two settings. Low light performance is good, and despite the lack of an AF assist lamp the camera focuses well in quite dark conditions.
When it comes to picture quality, the results are surprising, but not in a good way. As I've mentioned, the 830 is an update of the 780, so you'd expect that it would have accordingly superior image quality. However in every respect except that of image size the performance of the two cameras is all but identical, in fact I found more corner blurring in the images from the 830. The level of detail, degree of barrel distortion, and centre sharpness are virtually identical, and it even suffers from the same mid-tone image noise at all ISO settings from 200 upward. However like most Olympus cameras exposure metering is superb, colour reproduction is very accurate and even dynamic range is pretty good for a small-sensor compact. All in all, the mju 830 is a good value pocket compact, but not really a big improvement on the mju 780.
The Olympus mju 830 is a well-made and well-designed camera with a better than average zoom range and the advantage of being fully weatherproof. It performs well, especially with a type H memory card, and it also features mechanical image stabilisation. Its price compares well to the competition, but sadly its picture quality does not, with no better performance than the cheaper mju 780.