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Olympus Mju 820 review: Olympus Mju 820

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The Good Sleek metal body. Perfect Shot Preview is surprisingly useful.

The Bad Painfully slow shot-to-shot time. Overly soft pictures; slow lens.

The Bottom Line It looks good and its features are nice, but the Olympus Mju 820's photos and performance simply aren't up to scratch.

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6.4 Overall

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Olympus continues the Mju line of digital cameras with the Mju 820, an attractive 8-megapixel digital camera. This new model sports a 5x lens, a large, bright LCD screen, and a surprisingly useful new feature Olympus is debuting with its current generation of cameras.

As we've come to expect from Olympus' Mju cameras, the Mju 820 looks and feels good. The slim, all-metal camera weighs just under 140 grams with battery and xD card and measures just 24.3mm deep. Its sturdy body handles splashes and showers with ease, but don't confuse weather-resistant for weatherproof; it won't survive a full dunking. If you plan to soak your camera, consider instead the waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof Tough 790SW.

Among Olympus' myriad of Mju cameras, two features distinguish the 8-megapixel 820: its lens and its screen. The Mju 820 packs a 36 to 180mm-equivalent, 5x zoom lens that gives it a slightly longer reach than the higher-resolution Mju 1200. Unfortunately, the Mju 820's longer lens carries a slow f/3.3-5.0 aperture range, compared to the f/2.8-4.8 range of the 1200's 3x lens. Despite its longer reach, the 820 lacks the sensor-shift image stabilisation of the 1200, relying on the less effective method of ISO-boosting, shutter-quickening digital stabilisation. The step-up version of the Mju 820, the Mju 830, includes the mechanical stabilisation found on the higher-end Mju, but otherwise offers nearly identical features to its little brother. Be wary, though; the Mju 830 carries a AU$50 premium over the Mju 820 for its seemingly singular upgrade.

Besides the lens, the Mju 820 features a slightly-larger-than-usual 2.7-inch LCD screen. The 230,000-pixel display boasts an impressively wide field of view; we could make out the picture it was displaying regardless of the angle of the screen. This wide viewing angle works great when shooting concerts or any other situation that requires you to hold the camera above your head, at your chest, or far to the side. Olympus claims that its LCD screen includes antiglare technology that lets you view it even in sunlight. While the display still suffers from reflections and glare under any direct light source, it indeed remains surprisingly legible in bright light.

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