The mju 9010’s overall performance is a bit on the sluggish side. It takes around four and a half seconds to start up and take a picture, while in the highest quality setting the shot-to-shot time is approximately 4.3 seconds, which is very slow by any standard. The camera has several continuous shooting modes, but none of them are particularly impressive. The standard continuous mode doesn’t really deserve the name, since it takes only two sequential shots approximately two seconds apart. There are two high-speed modes which can shoot at 5.9fps and 10fps, but only at 3MP and 2MP respectively.
The autofocus system is accurate and reliable and also reasonably quick in good light. As usual it offers the choice of spot, tracking and face detection/iESP focus modes, all of which work well. The AF system continues to work reliably even in quite low light levels, although it does slow down noticeably in dim twilight conditions. Unfortunately the mju 9010 doesn’t have an AF assist lamp, so focusing in nightclub conditions is out of the question.
The mju 9010 uses the same f/3.2 – 5.9 10x zoom lens, equivalent to 28-280mm, as was used the mju 9000. It’s a decent lens, and although it does produce significant barrel distortion at the wide end, centre sharpness is good and corner blurring and chromatic aberration are almost non-existent. The overall level of detail is about average for a 14MP small-sensor compact, and as expected dynamic range is very limited, with poor shadow detail even when using the Shadow Adjust contrast booster function. Colour rendition is good though, with nice natural tones and plenty of detail even in saturated areas.
The mju 9010’s only major weakness is image noise, which is visible even at the 64 ISO minimum sensitivity setting. It gets progressively worse at higher settings, although to be fair it’s not too bad at 400 ISO and doesn’t become a major problem until 800 ISO. Image quality at the 1600 ISO maximum setting is pretty terrible, but that’s par for the course for 14MP 1/2.3 sensors.
The Olympus mju 9010 is a good looking and well made camera, with a well designed easy-to-use interface, with a price and feature set that put it in the middle of the long-zoom pack. The massive internal memory, built-in manual and downloadable software are useful innovations, but the sluggish performance, lack of AF assist lamp and image quality issues will limit its appeal.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test each product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare things properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.