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Cameras

Hands-on with the Olympus mju 850 SW: Tough girl

The Olympus mju 850 SW is slightly more sensitive than some of the other cameras in Olympus' weather-proof, shock-proof range. It even comes in pink

Last week, we sent the Olympus mju 1030 SW to a watery grave -- or rather, we didn't, because it's one of Olympus' much-trumpetted range of 'ard man cameras. This week, we take a dive with the 8-megapixel Olympus mju 850 SW, which also does the tough thing -- with style. If the 1030 is crew-cut ex-SAS man Bodie, the 850 is bubble-permed ex-art student Doyle.

Where the 1030 was drop-proof to 2 metres, the 850 manages 1.5m. A camera for shorter people! Where the 1030 was waterproof to 10m, the 850 manages 3m. A camera for shallower people! And while the 1030 resembled a Challenger tank with its manly squared lines and chunky exposed screws, the 850 is softer and more feminine with its smooth curves. Maybe it's more like Xena: Warrior Princess. Or the Bionic Woman. Or Supergran.

On the features front, there's face detection, digital image stabilisation, VGA video recording and BrightCapture technology for low-light shooting. It includes a 3x optical zoom, with a 35mm film equivalent focal length of 38-114mm. The screen is a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD.

The sensitive, caring action star that is the 850 -- think Arnie aiming at knees in Terminator 2 -- is available now for £175. You'll also find it comes in pink. -Rich Trenholm