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Cameras

Olympus µ 1000: celebrate 10 years with 10 megapixels

Olympus has been making digital cameras for 10 years and hopes to be making them for at least 10 more, judging by the five new additions to its µ (mju) family

Olympus is marking the tenth anniversary of its digital camera range with the µ 1000 (pictured right -- click the image for a larger version). It's the first 10-megapixel model in Olympus' popular µ (or mju) family of compact digicams and comes with all the µ hallmarks, including a stylish and weatherproof stainless steel body.

As well as the double-digit resolution, the µ 1000 offers a 3x optical zoom lens and a 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD. The f/2.8-4.7 lens is relatively fast and the ISO can be cranked up to 1600 (or 6400 if you drop the resolution), so it should be good for low-light photography -- such as romantic tenth-anniversary dinners. If you're not too handy behind the lens, you can take advantage of the 20 scene modes and the built-in help, which uses the LCD to explain the key functions. There's also a Perfect Fix button that sorts out problems such as blur, backlighting and red-eye. The µ 1000 should be on sale in October, priced at around £330.

If you're more about zoom than megapixels, take a look at the µ 1000's equally new siblings, the µ 740 and µ 750. These cameras cut the sensor resolution to 7.1 megapixels while upping the zoom range to 5x, giving you the equivalent of a 36-180mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The difference between the two is the inclusion of a mechanical image stabiliser on the µ 750 (for more on the benefits of this feature, see our round-up of cameras with image stabilisation). The µ 740 comes in Moonlight Silver, Twilight Blue or Sunset Red and will cost around £260. If you want the µ 750, your colour choices are Starry Silver or Midnight Black and you'll pay around £300.

There's also the contradictory µ 730, which packs a 7.1-megapixel sensor and a 3x zoom lens into a slim metal body. Despite being the skinniest of the new cameras, with a depth of just 21mm, it still manages to have the largest LCD. The 76mm (3-inch) screen makes it the best choice if you like to share your shots by passing your camera around. The µ 730 goes on sale in October and should cost around £270.

Last and most weatherproof is the µ 725 SW, which improves on its all-terrain predecessor, the µ 720 SW, by being waterproof to a depth of 5m. It's ideal for swimming, snorkelling and sightseeing in the rain, and the shockproof casing should protect it when it slips out of your wet hands. The µ 725 SW has a 7.1-megapixel sensor and a 3x zoom lens, comes in Deep Blue, Cherry Red and Titanium Grey, and will sell for around £300. -ML