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Olympus mju 7000 review: Olympus mju 7000

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So what's not to like? Well, just look at it. The all-black version might be alright, but the blue one will never be as pretty as the cheaper mju 5000, and the silver version looks like it's been quickly cobbled together from a bin. The combination of a black plastic lens bezel and metal front panel looks botched and unfinished. And what's with that horizontal crease along the centre line?

As with many other compacts, the 7000's great-sounding specs wilt under close examination. Automatic scene detection? Yes, but only from the five 'most common' scene modes -- not the full repertoire. 11fps shooting? Yes, but as long as you don't mind the resolution dropping to just 3 megapixels. HDMI output? Sure, but there's no high-definition movie mode, so really the only benefit is displaying stills at higher resolution on your HD television.

The test chart shows the 7000 is sharper than many but not as good as some. The image quality is neither disappointing nor surprising at this price point (click image to enlarge)

The most bothersome problem, though, is the lens -- not so much in terms of its quality, which is pretty good, but its range. It's not a wideangle and it's not long enough to be a superzoom. It has a numerical advantage (7x versus 5x) over the 5000, but that's not much in real terms and you'll typically pay another £20 or £30 to get it.

The Olympus mju 7000 seems like a middle-of-the-road compromise that's been created just to fill in the range. As a result, it's almost impossible to get excited about it. If you don't want to spend much, get the 5000 -- it's prettier, cheaper and, except for a slight reduction in telephoto capability, every bit as good. Or, if zoom range is important, get the mju 9000 -- it doesn't cost much more than the 7000, it's got a longer, wider zoom range and, unlike the 7000, it's not as ugly as sin.

Edited by Charles Kloet

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