The Olympus MJU 700 is a seven megapixel digital camera with a three times optical zoom lens. One way that it differs from the vast majority of digital cameras is that the MJU 700 is weatherproof. This means you should have no problem taking the camera out in the rain to take pictures.
In terms of design I would describe the camera as stylish. With a built in guide to using the camera it also scores well for ease of use. Therefore I would suggest this camera is likely to appeal to anyone who is looking for a camera they can use in more or less all weathers, is easy to use and looks good too. It is also small and slim enough to slip into a pocket.
94.8 x 55.9 x 20.4mm
On the whole I was disappointed with the photos produced by the MJU 700. Perhaps that is partly because I had high expectations for the camera.
There are two main issues I had with the camera. First in bright conditions there is a tendency for purple fringing to show up in the photos. This is where a purple line is added to the edges of very light objects. I also noticed that some blue lines were given a purple tinge as well. This is not the first time I have encountered this with a camera in the Olympus MJU line. This is something I see on a regular basis with digital cameras with long zoom lenses, but with a standard lens as found on the MJU 700 this is not a problem I come across very often at all.
The second issue is that a number of photos are not quite light enough for my liking and the camera seems to under expose the photo at times. This shows up most noticeably when the light is not perfect.
Walking through my test shots starting with the outdoor landscape type shots the purple fringing problem is immediately evident. It shows on the edges the boats and also on the top of some of the ripples on the water. The purple tinge added to blue lines is also visible on some on the lines on the boats themselves.
The camera is able to pick out a fair amount of detail in dark and light areas. Many digital cameras find handling this level of contrast difficult.
Focusing can be a bit hit and miss. I tended to find focusing was good when the zoom lens was in use, but there were times when using the lens at its widest angle without any zoom focusing fell below what I would consider to be an acceptable standard. This is noticeable in the second test photo. In this photo there is a loss of brightness in the photo as you move away from the centre.
The indoor and outdoor portraits are acceptable. The outdoor portrait is one of the better ones in the set. It was taken on a cloudy day and I used the overcast white balance setting to add some warmth to the shot. I think this works well.
For the indoor portrait the MJU 700 manages to produce a more sharply focused shot than many digital cameras, but this is an example where I feel the photo is under exposed. There is also a touch of red eye in the picture.
Next is the other indoor test taken in almost complete darkness. The MJU 700 struggles badly here. It is unable to focus properly and this photo is also darker than it should be. This can be a tough test owing to the conditions used, but many digital cameras manage to overcome this and produce a good quality photo.
The test for colour works well enough. There is no purple tinge, but the faintest purple fringing shows up around the edge of yellow section.
Looking at all the test shots the best result is the macro shot. This is sharp, clear and bright. It compares well with macro test shots I have taken with other digital cameras.
Finally are the photos taken with the ISO levels set to 400 and 1600. Even at ISO 400 there is a clear deterioration in picture quality. By the time the setting is increased to ISO 1600 the end result leaves a lot to be desired.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I was able to take a single photo in 0.45 seconds and five photos in 11.79 seconds. Both these times are slower than I have become used to seeing. As a rough guideline around the 0.30 mark is standard for a single photo, although a number of digital cameras are now capable of beating that time.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
For composing images there is a 2.5" LCD screen. There is no viewfinder. The screen is made up of around 115,000 pixels. You can adjust the brightness of the screen to help viewing in bright and dark conditions. The screen is used to show a variety of indicators such as low battery warning, memory card space and a histogram.
The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 37 - 111mm in 35mm format. The lens has a maximum aperture of f3.4 (wide) and f5.7 (tele). For close up photography there is a macro mode that allows you to get in as close as 8cm. There is also a 5x digital zoom function.
To help you take the best possible photo in a variety of different situations the camera has a wide range of scene modes. All you need to do is select the most appropriate scene and the camera will do the rest. The scene modes available are Portrait, Landscape with Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Scene, Night Scene with Portrait, Indoor, Candle, Self Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Document, Auction, Shoot & Select 1*, Shoot & Select 2, Beach & Snow, Underwater Wide1, Underwater Wide2 and Underwater Macro. There is also a function that helps you build panoramic shots. In order to use this feature you will need to use an Olympus brand memory card.
For when you would like to appear in the picture yourself there is a self timer mechanism available. This is set to a delay of approximately 10 seconds. To help you get the sharpest possible images there is an image stabilisation mode. This is digital rather than optical stabilisation. This works by increasing sensitivity and may therefore lead to sharper images, but a decrease in image quality in other areas.
The built in flash unit has a maximum range of 4m. This falls to around 2.4m when the zoom lens is in use. The flash modes are Auto (automatic activation in low and backlight), red-eye reduction, fill-in (forced activation), off (no flash).
If you would like to try to improve the colour tones of your photos then you can adjust the white balance settings. You can set white balance to Tungsten, overcast, sunlight, or fluorescent light 1,2,3.
After you have taken a photo there are a number of filters and features you can apply to it. These include changing it to black and white or sepia, changing the brightness and saturation and applying a red eye fix. I found the brightness adjustment worked well, but I could not see any clear difference with the red eye fix.
You can shoot short movies with the MJU 700. They can be recorded up to the capacity of the memory card. The maximum resolution of a movie is 640 x 480. The top frames speed is 15 frames per second. This is slightly below TV quality. Zoom is not available when you are shooting a move, but sound can be recorded.
Among the more advanced features are two types of metering (digital ESP metering and spot metering), exposure compensation (+/- 2 EV with 1/3 EV steps) and sensitivity (ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600). ISO 2500 is available when shooting in available light portrait and candle modes.
Shutter speeds are set automatically by the camera and you have no control over them. They are set in a range between ½ a second and 1/1000 seconds. The camera can set a shutter speed of up to four seconds when the camera is in night mode.
There are two types of continuous shooting available. The first type allows you to take up to six frames at a maximum rate of 1.1 frames per second. The second is a high speed mode and can take up to 11 images at a maximum rate of 3.7 frames per second.
Olympus provides all the necessary cables and software to connect the MJU 700 to a computer, PictBridge compatible printer and television set.
Ease of Use
There is nothing too taxing about the MJU 700. The majority of the key controls can be found on the back of the camera. This means that most of the time there is no need to become involved with the menu system.
I must admit I do not think the menu system Olympus use is the easiest one to find your way around, but it is o.k. once you are used to it.
There is an in camera help guide. This is a great idea and can be a big help to anyone who is relatively new to photography. It give you tips on subjects such as reducing blur, producing brighter images, shooting into backlight and adjusting the area in focus. It may not make you a brilliant photographer, but it should certainly help you to get the most out of your camera.
You can pick up a Olympus MJU 700 for around £200. This compares to around £230 for a Canon IXUS 750, £175 for a Sony DSC P200 and £220 for a Nikon Coolpix 7900.
As you can see the MJU 700 is not the most expensive of this group. Even so I feel the Sony DSC P200 and the Canon IXUS 750 in particular offer better value for money.
I guess whether or not you like the design of a camera or anything else for that matter is down to personal opinion. I feel the design and style is one of the strong points about this camera. The front of the camera slopes gently and gives the camera a unique look and feel.
If I had one criticism of the design it relates to the placement of the buttons on the back of the camera. This area is somewhat congested and I found it difficult to find somewhere to rest my thumb when taking a photo. This can affect how steadily you can hold the camera and ultimately affect the quality of the final photo.
The camera is available in Moonlight Silver, Midnight Black, Twilight Blue or Sunset Orange. It weighs in at 103g and has dimensions of 94.8 x 55.9 x 20.4 mm.
Batteries and Memory Cards
The battery the camera uses is a rechargeable lithium-ion one (LI-42B). Olympus supplies both a battery and charger (LI-42C) with the MJU 700.
Olympus have built 19.1MB of storage into the camera. Therefore a memory card is not supplied as standard. I was able to take 15 images before the memory was full. Therefore I would suggest picking up a high capacity memory card to go with your camera. The camera is compatible with xD picture cards. Click here to save money on xD cards.
Points I like:
In camera guide
Style and design
Where it is not so hot:
The Olympus MJU 700 is a bit of a disappointment. So much about this camera seems to be an excellent idea. It is weatherproof and the in camera help guide is likely to be very useful to people who would like a little help with their photography. I also like the style and design too. Image quality is the most important factor with any camera though and it is here that I have a number of issues with the camera. Owing to these problems I am unable to recommend buying this camera.
Olympus MJU 700 Front View
Olympus MJU 700 Back View
Olympus MJU 700 Top View
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