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Christmas Gift Guide
Cameras

Olympus mju 780: 5x zoom disco duck

The Olympus mju 780 is a 'weatherproof' blinged-out 7-megapixel compact digital camera with a wealth of shiny bits and a whacking great 5x optical zoom

The Olympus mju 780 is a blinged-out low-rider of a camera. The first thing you notice is that it's very square, and very shiny. The controls are chunky like the grill of a Cadilllac, although the mode wheel seems tiny by comparison.

The usual round click pad is replaced by an enormous 70s-style square effort, with buttons above and below. The markings on the buttons light up green in a way that says, "Check me out; this is how Olympus rolls." There's so much chrome on this gangsta, even the rubber cover of the USB port gets a lustrous alloy hubcap.

The mju 780 packs 7.1 megapixels and the usual 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD screen in a ghetto-fabulous silvery body. Our favourite feature is the 5x optical zoom, giving a focal length equivalent to between 36-180mm on a 35mm camera. Great for rolling up to the disco and getting pictures of your buddies from the far side of the light-up dance floor.

Another interesting feature is the guide setting, which allows you to preview settings side-by-side. When previewing different close-up options, the screen is split between four views, each at different levels of zoom, and when you pick one the camera automatically zooms to that setting.

The mju 780 boasts dual image stabilisation, which combines a mechanical image stabiliser with high ISO settings. The mechanical system is the Saturday Night Fever of anti-shake methods, while high ISO settings are more Staying Alive. Disappointingly, Olympus has chosen to follow other manufacturers and stick the Staying Alive button right on top, and on the wrong side of the shutter release. Avoid it like you would a sweaty, balding man with shirt open to the waist and a medallion glinting in his oily chest rug.

On top of all this, the mju 780 claims to be weatherproof. Here at Crave, that sounds like fightin' talk... We'll be putting this disco duck through its paces in a full review soon. -Rich Trenholm