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.
Olympus Mju 9000 memory
The Olympus Mju 9000 supports the xD Picture Card and this is what distinguishes the camera. The masses mainly support SD / SDHC, whist a small minority supports the Memory Stick Duo for Sony cameras. Meanwhile, the most recent Fujifilm cameras are all equipped with an SD / SDHC card slot, so that means Olympus really is on its own now. It doesn't really have an effect on cameras featuring an xD slot; it is just a restriction when switching from a non-xD camera to Olympus. Although the prices of memory cards have dropped significantly, it is still a pity that you cannot take your collection of memory cards to the Olympus Mju 9000.
File size of the Olympus Mju 9000
The 12 Megapixels of resolution provide a maximum file size of approximately 6MB. The camera stores pictures in JPEG format with a choice between two compressions. In addition to the 4:3 ratio, it is also possible to use the Olympus Mju 9000 for panorama pictures in 16:9 format. The resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, 2 megapixels, and can be created both in-camera and through the Olympus Master software. Based on the highest quality JPEG, a 1GB xD Picture memory card is recommended.
Considering 1GB of storage capacity:
Resolution 12 Megapixels - 3968x2976 pixels - Fine - 174 pictures
Resolution 12 Megapixels - 3968x2976 pixels - Normal - 343 pictures
Resolution 5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 pixels - Fine - 410 pictures
Resolution 5 Megapixels - 2560x1920 pixels - Normal - 841 pictures
Resolution 3 Megapixels - 2048x1536 pixels - Fine - 627 pictures
Resolution 3 Megapixels - 2048x1536 pixels - Normal - 1305 pictures
Resolution 2 Megapixels - 16:9 - 1920x1080 pixels - Fine - 984 pictures
Resolution 2 Megapixels - 16:9 - 1920x1080 pixels - Fine - 1938 pictures
Resolution 2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 pixels - Fine - 1066 pictures
Resolution 2 Megapixels - 1600x1200 pixels - Normal - 2063 pictures
Resolution 1.3 Megapixels - 1280x960 pixels - Fine - 1640 pictures
Resolution 1.3 Megapixels - 1280x960 pixels - Normal - 3198 pictures
Resolution 0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 pixels - Fine - 5815 pictures
Resolution 0.3 Megapixels - 640x480 pixels - Normal - 5815 pictures
Video Resolution - VGA - 640x480 pixels - 30 fps - 9 min 21 sec
Video Resolution - VGA - 640x480 pixels - 15 fps - 18 min 37 sec
Video Resolution - QVGA - 320x240 pixels - 30 fps - 22 min 3 sec
Video Resolution - QVGA - 320x240 pixels - 15 fps - 43 min 37 sec