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Olympus mju 1200 review: Olympus mju 1200

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The Good Gorgeous styling; sturdy construction; simplicity of operation.

The Bad Idiosyncratic controls; uninspired feature set; only takes xD cards.

The Bottom Line The Olympus mju 1200 is a slimline, capable point-and-shoot for those more interested in style than photography. A bare-bones feature set and some quirky controls mean that you're paying a premium for the gorgeous style and 12 megapixels

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6.5 Overall

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If you're looking for classy styling, look no further than the Olympus mju 1200. This 12-megapixel point-and-shoot with a 3x optical zoom retails for £215, so we took it through its high-street paces to see if its performance and features justified the price tag.

The 1200 certainly looks the part. The body is made of sturdy metal, with weatherproof seals protecting the slots. It's finished in a business-like yet stylish two-tone glossy black and matte gunmetal, with angled chrome trim. The tapering design wasn't to our taste, but it did make it easy to slip the camera into trouser pockets.

Despite the glossy styling, we had a couple of quibbles with the design. We found the control layout fussy. The raised surface mode wheel interferes somewhat with the action of the zoom rocker, which is itself as clunky as most rockers. The wheel is stiff, and annoyingly does not revolve 360 degrees.

The menu screen that necessitates some extra button-pushing is just one of a number of control quirks

There are nine buttons to the right of the large 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen, which is at least one too many. The playback button is superfluous, duplicating a setting on the mode wheel.

Still, the chromed buttons look good, with none of the dated brashness of the squared buttons of the mju 780. The light-up buttons are a nice touch, as ever.

The camera is easy to get to grips with and straightforward to use, as there are only the most basic of manual options. An excellent help function also explains what each button does when you press them.

The 1200 is feathery on features, and those it does include are limited: continuous mode only offers a low-resolution burst, and the self-timer merely gives you a 10-second option. It does have face detection, and smile-spotting shutter, but we're yet to be convinced of that feature's usefulness.

However, we were very pleased that in pressing the exposure compensation button, we could see real-time previews for each possible setting, so we could decide which option is the best for the scene.

Overall, though, we found the controls to be slightly idiosyncratic. The menu button takes you to a choice of menus rather than straight to the camera menu, requiring an extra button push. More annoying is the lack of one-touch exit from the menus.

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