The mju 700 is the latest in Olympus' range of compact, no-fuss digital cameras, designed for beginners. Like Fuji's compact Z2, the mju 700 can shoot at high sensitivity in low light without flash to capture natural ambience. It's attractively priced, but it lacks durability. There are nicer compact cameras on the market.

On paper, £230 buys you a nice array of specs and features. There's a 7.1Mp (megapixel) CCD (charge-coupled device) with a maximum resolution of 3,072x2,304 and a generous 19.1MB of internal memory. You should buy a memory card – there's an xD-Picture slot – or you'll be limited to 17 seconds of video.

The 3x optical zoom retracts into the body of the camera for protection. The righthand side of the camera is raised, in what appears to be a styling rather than an ergonomic decision, because it makes no difference to the way you'll interact with it.

As well as the usual jogdial, four-way navipad, display, zoom and menu buttons, Olympus has added an instant delete so you can dispose of shots you don't like without navigating several sub-menus – a great idea. The menu system is pretty limited and shooting in manual mode brings up only a few options, such as white balance presets and sensitivity control. Top marks for adding an antishake option on the jogdial.

While navigation, image review and startup were all quick, shot-to-shot and focus time aren't the best available. As far as image quality goes, pictures taken in low light with high sensitivity were good enough to put the Z2 in the shade, displaying an acceptable amount of noise. But we didn't think much of the detail of shots on super-high quality, even if they held good natural colour. We've seen sharper images from 5Mp CCDs, so we're not sure what Olympus has done with the extra 2.1Mp.

Olympus mju 700: Specs

  • 7.1Mp
  • max res 3,072x2,304
  • 19.1MB internal storage
  • max photos on 19.1MB=116
  • min=5
  • xD-Picture card slot
  • 1x rechargeable lithium battery
  • movie capture at 640x480 and 15fps
  • 2.5in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom/5x digital zoom
  • 1-year warranty
  • 95x56x20mm
  • 285g
  • 7.1Mp
  • max res 3,072x2,304
  • 19.1MB internal storage
  • max photos on 19.1MB=116
  • min=5
  • xD-Picture card slot
  • 1x rechargeable lithium battery
  • movie capture at 640x480 and 15fps
  • 2.5in LCD
  • 3x optical zoom/5x digital zoom
  • 1-year warranty
  • 95x56x20mm
  • 285g

OUR VERDICT

The mju 700 is by no means a bad camera, but it doesn't perform as well as it should. It's reasonably priced and if you need an easy-to-carry camera that copes well in low light, this could be the one for you.

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