|Olympus Mju 9000 digital compact camera
Olympus throws in the Mju 9000 to try and seize the much-desired title of most popular Megazoom camera. This segment has been in the limelight for the last few years now, not in the last place because of the innovative advancements that Panasonic has achieved in this segment. Many similar cameras have been launched to this market lately, such as the Canon SX200 IS, Panasonic Lumix TZ7 and Samsung WB500 (HZ10W U.S.A. model). With 10x optical zoom, mechanical image stabilization and automated programs inside the camera, the Olympus Mju 9000 is, at least on paper, keeping in pace.
Olympus Mju 9000 in practise
Whilst using the Mju 9000 in practice, we frequently stumbled over the complicated menu structure of the camera. Before you actually enter the menu, you have to pass some sort of start screen, which brings on a delay. The time required to recharge the flash was so long that it became annoying while shooting. Also when writing the captured files to the memory card, we encountered a delay of several seconds. The buttons are small and the design of the multi-controller is prone to operation errors. These features are not found in the specifications, but in practice they do cause a negative user experience.
Olympus Mju 9000 image quality
What also bothers us is the overall image quality. The 12 Megapixels of resolution on the small image sensor have a negative influence on the noise ratio, since noise is already visible from ISO 200 and becomes increasingly annoying when higher ISO values are used. Due to this fact, the Olympus Mju 9000 runs the risk of qualifying itself as a nice-weather camera, which would instantly take away the all-round features of a compact Megazoom camera.
Olympus Mju 9000 lens
The Olympus Mju 9000 lens encounters the most difficulties to keep edge blur under control. In itself, this does not necessarily have to be a problem, but the combination of this blur and the visible noise from 200 ISO causes the image quality to drop to such an extent that the pictures are disappointing when we judge them on a computer screen or as a print. The lens does show its power when it comes to distortion and chromatic aberration, which Olympus proves to have nicely under control.
Olympus Mju 9000 review conclusion
There are currently a number of cameras on the market with more or less similar specifications. We have already published a number of reviews of several digital cameras of this type. If we compare the test results, it becomes clear that the Mju 9000 scores only moderately, and should be improved on several points in order to reach comparable test results like the PowerShot SX200 IS or Lumix DMC-TZ7 cameras of Canon and Panasonic respectively. Without these improvements, the Olympus Mju 9000 is unlikely to be around for long. We look forward to the next generation compact mega-zoom Olympus cameras and will leave the Mju 9000 for what it is.