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Olympus Stylus mju 780 review: Olympus Stylus mju 780

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Favourites mode is an interesting idea, but underdeveloped. A one-touch option to mark your favourite options would be better than moving through menus. There's also no option to erase all images in the playback menu, for when you've backed up your pictures and want to clear the memory.



Performance
Despite our reservations about digital image stabilisation and compact performance at high ISO levels, the mju 780 shapes up well in this regard. Noise is present, inevitably, but pictures are still usable even at ISO 800 and above. Images at 800 and 1,600 won't pass muster if printed out to much larger than standard photo prints, but are clear, detailed and richly coloured at smaller sizes.

The mju 780 isn't especially fast, taking its time to process images. A Hi Drive continuous shooting mode captures 3.5 frames per second for as many as 30 images. Settings and resolution in this mode are limited, but you can use a strobing flash for 10 to 15 images. The speedy performance is only made possible, however, by taking 3-megapixel images. This is only recommended when lighting is good enough that the camera does not need to rely on the slightly feeble flash.

One of the greatest strengths of this camera is the macro mode. Up close, noise is rarely a problem, and we got some beautifully crisp shots in our tests. As close as 30mm, detail was sharp and colours rich.

The mju 780's most trumpeted feature is its weatherproof exterior. If weatherproof means surviving a few drops of rain, then frankly we feel all cameras should be weatherproof. The mju 780 isn't actually waterproof and won't take kindly to being completely immersed in water, so being weatherproof seems like a lacklustre and pointless boast. That said, Olympus deserves some credit for recognising that uncovered points and badly sealed frames aren't acceptable for cameras or any portable devices. How weatherproof it is is hard to quantify: we splashed it a little and it didn't break.

Conclusion
Apart from being xD-only, there's nothing wrong with the Olympus Stylus mju 780, but there's nothing truly exciting about it either. A camera as undistinguished as this really needs a headline feature to make it stand out from the crowd, and being weatherproof just won't cut it. The price is also a touch high.

Mechanical image stabilisation and decent high-ISO performance wins the mju 780 points, but for slightly less money you could get the Pentax Optio W30, an actually waterproof camera that takes SD cards.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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