The Olympus mju 7010 (Olympus Stylus 7010) is a 12-megapixel compact featuring an ultra-slim 7x zoom lens. Our Olympus mju 7010 review tests it's powers...
The Olympus mju 7010 (Olympus Stylus 7010 in the US) is a 12-megapixel compact featuring an ultra-slim 7x zoom lens equivalent to 28-196mm. Wide-zoom compacts are all the rage at the moment, and the 7010 has some very tough competition, including the Panasonic FX60, the Canon IXUS 110 IS, the Fuji FinePix F200 EXR, the Sony W290, the Nikon S630 and the new Pentax Optio P80.
The Olumpus mju range already includes the mju 9000, which has a 10x zoom lens equivalent to 28-280mm, but the mju 7010 is lighter and more compact, 140g including battery and only 26.2mm thick. The body is plastic with an aluminium facia and chrome trim, and it’s available in grey, silver or pink.
Apart from its lens the mju 7010 is an average point-and-shoot camera. It has four basic shooting modes; program auto, a scene mode with 15 scene programs, a ‘Beauty’ mode that smoothes skin texture, and iAuto, an automatic scene selection setting. It has a video mode capable of 640 x 480 at 30fps with mono audio.
The menu options are very limited, with no colour adjustment options. It does offer ‘Magic Filters’, although these are pretty disappointing, consisting of a garish posterization effect, fish-eye distortion, pin-hole camera vignetting and a terrible pencil sketch filter. None of these effects are adjustable.
The control layout is similar to other recent mju models, with a small and slightly fiddly partially recessed mode dial. The four main buttons and the D-pad are illuminated, which makes them easier to operate in low light. The zoom control is very quick and jerky, making it difficult to frame pictures accurately. Other shooting options are controlled via a simple sidebar function menu.
The mju 7010 starts up in less than 1.5 seconds, but in single-shot mode the shot-to-shot time is over three seconds, which is pretty slow. Continuous shooting mode is even worse; when using the highest image quality setting it will only take two shots in just under two seconds before stopping to empty the image buffer.
More worrying is the battery performance. I found that the puny 740mAh battery only lasted for 120 shots and two short video clips.
The AF system works well in daylight, but it gets into difficulty in dim lighting, focusing very slowly if at all. Like most of the Olympus range the 7010 has no AF assist lamp, so it’s useless in lower light conditions.
Like most 12MP small-sensor compacts the mju 7010 has limited dynamic range, with poor shadow detail even with the Shadow Adjustment feature. Another problem is very inconsistent auto white balance, especially under artificial lighting.
Despite these performance problems the mju 7010 is capable of producing good quality results. Noise control at higher ISO settings is especially good, when in good light the camera focuses quickly and accurately and exposure metering is up to Olympus’s usual high standard. The lens also performs well, with excellent centre sharpness and virtually no wideangle distortion, and the level of recorded detail is excellent.
The mju 7010 is versatile and easy to use, and it is capable of producing good results in most normal situations. However its poor low light performance, limited battery duration and relatively high price make it less appealing in comparison to its many rivals.