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Olympus mju 9010 review: Olympus mju 9010

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The Good 10x zoom range; in-camera manual; straightforward controls.

The Bad Weak HD movie mode; below-average definition; clunky panoramas.

The Bottom Line The mju 9010 promises much but doesn't really deliver. Physically, it's fine. It's compact, portable, affordable and easy to use. But the image quality is weak and the movie mode has serious limitations. If you're shopping for the best compact superzoom, keep looking

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Olympus has provided the mju 9010 with a 10x optical zoom and an HD movie mode, but they aren't its only tricks. It also has an in-camera panorama mode, 2GB of internal storage and a set of 'Magic Filters'. And at around £230 it looks a pretty good deal compared to other compact superzooms.

Two-tone recording
This camera follows on from Olympus' mju 9000, and boasts a redesigned exterior and an increase in resolution from 12 megapixels to 14. It's small but weighty, and has a plain-looking but uncluttered two-tone exterior.

Round the back you get a bunch of simple but effective controls. There's no mode dial -- instead you use a set of menus overlaid on the right-hand side of the LCD. The top menu item swaps between the intelligent auto, program, Magic Filter, panorama and Beauty modes, while the others take care of things like the ISO, white balance, EV compensation and so on.

There's a fair bit of barrel distortion here, but not much chromatic aberration. Fine detail isn't the 9010's strong point, and what there is falls away quickly at ISO 400 and beyond (click image to enlarge)

Bottom right is a help button. This launches the in-camera manual, which walks you through some of the key features, such as the panorama mode, and offers an A-Z of common terms. It's not Wikipedia, but it's not bad.

The 2GB built-in storage is another plus point, though high-capacity SD cards are cheap these days, so it's not like it's saving you a fortune. Speaking of cards, Olympus has swapped over to the SD format for the mju 9010, so we can wave goodbye to xD Picture cards (don't let the door hit you on the way out) and that tricky microSD adaptor Olympus peddled during the changeover.

You're hardly going to use the Magic Filters every day -- they offer after effects such as pop art, fisheye, and sketch -- but they are rather fun, as is the in-camera Panorama mode. And if you want to shoot HD movies, just press the big red button on the back.

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