With every camera manufacturer still trying to find a product that will match up to the success of the Canon Ixus range, Olympus has launched the Mju Digital in both a 3 mega pixel and 4 mega pixel versions.



Based on the hugely successful 35mm Mju range the camera takes the styling that we all know and love (over 20million sold worldwide) and brings it into the 21st century.

On the inside - Olympus' heritage in optics shines through once again, the camera boasts a superb high precision f3.1/5.2 3x optical and 5x digital zoom (equivalent to 35 - 105mm on a 35mm camera) which gives the user great flexibility to get closer to the subject or simply make sure you get the big picture.

On the outside - the camera has a 1.5", 134,000 pixel LCD monitor which although isn't the largest in the market still comes across as a decent size on the back of this camera. The camera also includes of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery and Olympus' new xD-Picture card technology. To protect everything the camera is cased in a brushed metal and this doubles up to offer weatherproofing. Now you can take your camera to the beach or the piste without fear of water getting in.

The Mju 300 digital also boasts the usual array of user-friendly buttons and options for the beginner. A range of automatic functions such as TTL autofocus and Digital ESP (Electro Selective Pattern) light metering help ensure best results with the minimum of fuss. Using the five scene programs (portrait, self-portrait, night scene, landscape, landscape plus portrait), means that even first-time digital photographers are able to obtain impressive photos which is great as this is where Olympus sees this camera appealing to.

The camera supports full auto white balance and four pre-set white balance modes, allowing users to manually optimise the camera for shooting in light from sources such as tungsten or fluorescent bulbs. The camera also features a host of other functions and features including macro and panorama modes, 2 in 1 shooting, the recording of short movie sequences and a built in flash with red-eye reduction.

After taking a picture, users have the option to change the colour photos into black and white or sepia. The Mju 300 Digital and Mju 400 Digital also support the EXIF 2.2 and Print Image Matching II (P.I.M II) standards enabling compatible printers to produce optimised image printouts using data saved by the camera.

Verdict

There is no doubt this is a huge step forward for Olympus and their digital range. Yes the optics of the Olympus digitals has always been good, that is an industry know thing, but they have always been reluctant to be at the forefront of cutting design. They started to allude to this with the C-50 last year, but the Mju Digital range takes this a stage further and Olympus has come up with a camera that you would not only been want to be seen with, but also want to use when no-one else is around. For the fashion conscious who want to take decent digital images this is the camera to have.