Olympus is marking the tenth anniversary of its digital camera range with the µ 1000 (pictured right -- click the image for a larger version). It's the first 10-megapixel model in Olympus' popular µ (or mju) family of compact digicams and comes with all the µ hallmarks, including a stylish and weatherproof stainless steel body.
As well as the double-digit resolution, the µ 1000 offers a 3x optical zoom lens and a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD. The f/2.8-4.7 lens is relatively fast and the ISO can be cranked up to 1600 (or 6400 if you drop the resolution), so it should be good for low-light photography -- such as romantic tenth-anniversary dinners. If you're not too handy behind the lens, you can take advantage of the 20 scene modes and the built-in help, which uses the LCD to explain the key functions. There's also a Perfect Fix button that sorts out problems such as blur, backlighting and red-eye. The µ 1000 should be on sale in October, priced at around £330.
If you're more about zoom than megapixels, take a look at the µ 1000's equally new siblings, the µ 740 and µ 750. These cameras cut the sensor resolution to 7.1 megapixels while upping the zoom range to 5x, giving you the equivalent of a 36-180mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The difference between the two is the inclusion of a mechanical image stabiliser on the µ 750 (for more on the benefits of this feature, see our round-up of cameras with image stabilisation). The µ 740 comes in Moonlight Silver, Twilight Blue or Sunset Red and will cost around £260. If you want the µ 750, your colour choices are Starry Silver or Midnight Black and you'll pay around £300.
There's also the contradictory µ 730, which packs a 7.1-megapixel sensor and a 3x zoom lens into a slim metal body. Despite being the skinniest of the new cameras, with a depth of just 21mm, it still manages to have the largest LCD. The 76mm (3-inch) screen makes it the best choice if you like to share your shots by passing your camera around. The µ 730 goes on sale in October and should cost around £270.
Last and most weatherproof is the µ 725 SW, which improves on its all-terrain predecessor, the µ 720 SW, by being waterproof to a depth of 5m. It's ideal for swimming, snorkelling and sightseeing in the rain, and the shockproof casing should protect it when it slips out of your wet hands. The µ 725 SW has a 7.1-megapixel sensor and a 3x zoom lens, comes in Deep Blue, Cherry Red and Titanium Grey, and will sell for around £300. -ML