If you are a fan of past Olympus Mju cameras then the Olympus Mju 1200 will be right up your alley.

The Olympus Mju 1200 doesn’t differ much from previous units, bringing the same features list, weatherproof build and stylish design to the table. This time around Olympus has packed in a 12Mp sensor which does improve the image quality a little, but the flaws as well as the plaudits found on units such as the Mju 820 are still present here.

Improving the resolution to 4,000x3,000, the Olympus Mju 1200's sensor captures some fairly crisp shots. They are still a little softer at times than we’d like from a 12Mp model, but they will be fine for all but the largest print sizes.

We did notice a little corner softening and some prominent purple fringing, which suggests chromatic aberration issues, however, these are fairly common problems for a compact camera such as the Olympus Mju 1200.

Colour balance was fairly good in images captured by the Olympus Mju 1200, with a slightly softer, more natural tone. Typically with compact cameras, the primary colours are quite strongly saturated but on this model that was only really the case with blues.

Our main criticism of the Olympus Mju 1200 is that skin tones came out a little pink and the white balance settings aren’t always as spot on as we’d like. Image noise is generally kept under control, with minimal graininess up to ISO 200.

At ISO 400 it takes a slight jump upwards, but the images are still perfectly usable. It isn’t until ISO 800 and ISO 1600 that noise really starts becoming a problem. One other element of the Olympus Mju 1200 that we quite like is its ability to handle contrast.

The Olympus Mju 1200 renders great detail even in extremely dark areas thanks to its shadow adjustment technology.

And the feature set is up to Olympus’ high standard. Face detection is back once again along with vibration reduction to help eliminate that pesky hand shake (although the latter is only digital and doesn’t operate nearly as well as its optical brother).

The guide mode is also back offering novice users a simple, step-by-step process to improve their pictures. A nice selection of white balance presets are on offer but no custom mode. ISO sensitivities extend to 3200 although as stated we wouldn’t take the Olympus Mju 1200 past ISO 400 or maybe ISO 800.

A noteworthy addition to the Olympus Mju 1200 is the new Panorama mode, which allows users to stitch together multiple shots by simply lining up the dots. It isn’t flawless, but it is one of the simplest panorama modes we’ve seen and it produces some excellent results.

NEXT PAGE: burst mode, speed tests and our expert verdict > >

If you are a fan of past Olympus Mju cameras then the Olympus Mju 1200 will be right up your alley.

One feature that is a mixed bag is the Olympus Mju 1200's burst mode. While operating at a very speedy seven frames per second, it captures shots at a resolution of just 2,048x1,536. Furthermore there is no option to slow it down and increase the quality, which is disappointing.

In the rest of our speed tests the Olympus Mju 1200 was disappointing. Most notably, its 3.5-second shot-to-shot time is simply far too slow compared to competing models and it really has a noticeable impact on your ability to capture those spontaneous shots.

The startup time and shutter lag were a little more reasonable at 2.4 and 0.09 respectively.

As with past Mju units, one of the most appealing features of the Olympus Mju 1200 model is its build.

The Olympus Mju 1200's slick, wedge-shaped black and silver body looks absolutely fantastic and is as sturdy as a brick. Furthermore its weatherproof design ensures it will withstand some light rain or a trip to the beach with no trouble.

Olympus Mju 1200: Specs

  • USB, AV output connections
  • 560x980x230mm
  • PictBridge
  • 4 flash modes
  • 12Mp sensor
  • 47MB internal memory
  • XD-Picture Card
  • 1x lithium-ion battery and charger
  • 2.7in screen
  • 20 shooting modes
  • AVI Motion, Jpeg
  • 125g
  • 5x digital zoom
  • 3x optical zoom
  • USB, AV output connections
  • 560x980x230mm
  • PictBridge
  • 4 flash modes
  • 12Mp sensor
  • 47MB internal memory
  • XD-Picture Card
  • 1x lithium-ion battery and charger
  • 2.7in screen
  • 20 shooting modes
  • AVI Motion, Jpeg
  • 125g
  • 5x digital zoom
  • 3x optical zoom

OUR VERDICT

A sturdy and stylish compact camera then, the Olympus Mju 1200 offers good features but performance sluggish.

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