Olympus mju 725 SW Review - Olympus mju 725 SW Review

Apart from the increased diving depth the 725 has an identical specification to the 720 and shares the same components, which is a pity because some of them aren’t very good. It has the same 2.5in LCD monitor, which with only 115,000 pixels is well below the market average for resolution, and has the same highly reflective finish. It may resist scratches, but it also resists any attempt to see it in bright sunlight.

The AF system is also the same as the one in the 720. It works well enough in normal daylight, although it’s by no means slow it’s not the fastest I’ve ever seen. It’s also not too bad in dimmer indoor lighting, although here it’s noticeably slower. However it has major problems as soon as the light drops to nightclub levels or below, and despite its adventurous pretensions the mju 725 has no AF illuminator – this seriously limits its ability to take photos after dark. This is odd, because Olympus claims that low light photography is one of the camera’s strengths. It features “Bright Capture technology“ which means a maximum ISO setting of 3200 and the monitor automatically brightens in low light to help with framing, but this seems pointless if the camera can’t focus.

The camera’s performance figures are, unsurprisingly, also unchanged from the previous model. It starts up in a respectable 1.5 seconds, and in high-speed continuous mode it can manage twelve shots in five seconds before it has to pause to write to the card. In this mode however it is limited to 2,048 x 1,536 (3MP). At full resolution (3,072 x 2,304) and maximum quality the shooting rate drops to three shots in three seconds before pausing. A 1GB xD-Picture card is enough to store 295 shots, although it also has 19MB of internal memory, enough for another five shots.

The video mode is very slow, with a maximum frame rate of just 15fps in both VGA and QVGA resolutions. This is well below average for a modern pocket compact.

In my review of the mju 720 I expressed concern about the battery duration. I have those same concerns about the 725, and for the same reason. It is powered by the same very small 740mAh battery as the 720, and again I was only able to take around 100 shots on a full charge.

I really don’t get the logic behind this. If you’re setting out to make a camera specifically designed for adventure travel and built to survive out in the wilds, surely it would make sense to give it a battery that could last more than one day away from its charger? Many other cameras of a similar size have batteries with 300 shot capacity, so it’s not like it’s technically impossible.

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