Olympus Mju 9000

The Mju 9000 is one of the nicest Olympus compacts we've tested. It's the smallest camera you can get with 10x optical zoom, and we would recommend it unreservedly if it was a little cheaper and didn't have as many issues with noise.


7.8
CNET Rating
2.2
User Rating

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The Mju 9000 is the world's smallest camera with a 10x optical zoom. It has a 12-megapixel sensor, is available in either black or champagne in Australia, and retails for AU$599.

Design

From the outside, the 9000 looks like a slick picture taking machine. The chrome accents on either side, silver accents around the lens ring, shiny black body and slim footprint all lend themselves to this assumption. Certainly it's the most stylish camera in the current Olympus range.

Though you can't see it here, the Mju 9000 has some lovely backlit buttons. (Credit: Olympus)

From the outside it looks compact but it's actually quite heavy (at 185g) thanks to the 10x optical zoom housed inside. It is, however, the smallest and lightest compact available that has a 10x zoom. At the front is a curved flash unit nestled above the brand logo, and the lens itself takes up most of the remaining space.

Turn it around and the 2.7-inch LCD screen is flanked by semi-gloss backlit buttons and a mode dial that allows you to select between several options (from full intelligent auto, program, playback, movie, scene and beauty mode). The zoom rocker is a little fiddly at first, being relegated to a small switch next to the shutter button, but using it soon becomes easy. Overall it's quite a nice camera to hold, being evenly weighted and easy to grasp in one hand.

Stylistically it's quite similar to the Mju 1060, but it does have several notable upgrades (zoom length, megapixel count). The screen has been downgraded to 2.7-inch from 3-inch though.

Features

The Mju 9000 is particularly impressive when you first look at its main calling card — the 10x optical zoom lens. Extending it is an experience in itself — it's quick to respond, and folds flat onto itself as you return it to its housing. The lens also only just protrudes slightly from the body. More good news comes with the widest end of the lens — 28mm — which is sure to impress. Maximum aperture is a little disappointing at only f/3.2 but seeing as there is no manual mode on the 9000 it's not that much of a downside.

Memory card format remains the same, using the standard xD (not nice) and microSD (slightly better). Image stabilisation is also provided. Beauty mode, as we first encountered on the Tough 8000, makes a repeat appearance here and is still suitably quirky, but mostly pointless. There is no HDMI output on the 9000 — for that feature you'll have to invest in the Mju 7000.

Performance and image quality

Start-up time was much slower than we anticipated, and strangely enough it wasn't because the lens needed time to extend (this was actually rather speedy once the camera had powered on). Instead it was the Olympus logo displayed on-screen that seemed to take up much of the initialisation time.

Chromatic aberration was kept under control nicely which was somewhat of a surprise given the extreme focal length (28-280mm) of the lens. There was only moderate barrel distortion at the widest end of the lens, though in dark situations at 28mm the camera sometimes exhibited vignetting (dark corners). Colours were nice and punchy without being oversaturated, which was a pleasant surprise. Images were also quite crisp compared to what we've seen before on other Olympus compacts, thanks to the improved lens quality and aspherical elements.

Despite the image stabilisation and dedicated scene modes for low-light photography, we still found that the 9000 tended to produce blurred shots without an incredibly steady hand.

Noise across all ISO levels except 100 was very prominent, exhibiting itself as coloured flecks across the image. It did depend on the type of shot taken, with less noise present across outdoor images in direct sunlight than images taken in enclosed, indoor situations.

Click image to enlarge (Credit: CBS Interactive)

The screen was incredibly bright, which had its ups and downs. Mostly it made it look like the camera had blown out highlights when we reviewed our photos, but on transferring them to a computer we discovered this was not the case. Another downside too was the inability to zoom during movie mode, making the 10x lens useless in this situation. Video is also only available at two low resolutions (VGA and QVGA).

Conclusion

In terms of appearance and overall functionality, the Mju 9000 is one of the nicest Olympus compacts we've tested in quite some time. It's a little bulkier than usual thanks to the 10x optical zoom but for the most part this is the pick of the bunch if you're looking at buying an Olympus.

Compared to its competitors from Panasonic and Canon (such as the Lumix TZ7 and the PowerShot SX200 IS), the 9000 is a more compact camera, and not as robust in terms of shooting capability and creative control. For AU$599 we would have liked to see more features, but if you are looking for an Olympus compact, the 9000 is the one to choose as long as you don't need a waterproof camera.

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tasam67867
6
Rating
 

tasam67867 posted a review   
Indonesia

nice camera..not bad eh,my uncle use it for party
starbucks gift card balance

Duh
1
Rating
 

Duh posted a review   

Slow start up time; you either conserve battery & miss your shot or wate it waiting
Picture quality is horid
How did the reviewer get it so wrong?!

 

monty posted a comment   

How does the editor get it so wrong.
He rated the Panasonic and the Olympus both at 7.8.
The users rated the Panasonic at 8.8 and the Olympus at 1.5
He should try using the cameras next time.

Alefia
3
Rating
 

Alefia posted a review   

Had a lot of expectations from this one but Zilch.......Have used the kodak DX 6940 & have to say,its image quality was far far superior,can't even compare for that matter! 600 AUD down the drain!

 

meetmechchap posted a comment   

The Good:size

The Bad:a lot

a compact camera, but image quality wise i think olympus needs to work a lot

Monkey
1
Rating
 

Monkey posted a review   

The Good:Build Quality, Size, Display

The Bad:Photo Quality is terrible

I won't even cover the good bits this camera has because they are all rather moot points given the very disappointing picture quality. In anything other than bright sunshine the results are heavily effected by noise. Indoors and in low light the pictures aren't much better than the 2MP camera bundled into my Palm Treo Pro phone. Avoid...

 

Unhappy posted a comment   

The Good:Good display .... feels solid

The Bad:To many to mention

Bought this camera to take on a walking holiday, and for the wife to use to take candid photos in her business ... may as well have bought a sketch pad and a pencil, would have caught more detail with them ... very disappointed :-(

phbk
1
Rating
 

phbk posted a review   

The Good:Size - Build quality

The Bad:Photo Quality

Hopeless photo's in all but the best light, even then they aren't sharp. This camera was a replacement for a C750 that was stolen.It will be the last Olympus I'll buy

Kaz
1
Rating
 

Kaz posted a review   

The Good:Size

The Bad:Photo quality, especially indoors and night.

Seriously dissapointed with this camera, so much so, we sold it after owning it for a few months. Olympus' satisfaction guarantee (advertised on thier website at the time of purchase) is worthless. We found Olympus difficult to deal with and most unhelpful.
We were after a camera that we could pick up and take a 'decent' photo with, withour too much fiddling. What we found with the Mju9000 was that we needed to change settings and fiddle with the exposure, especially indoors and at night, to be able to get a photo that didn't look like you were photographing ghosts.
We have a family member who also purchased this camera and has had the same experience.
Aviod this camera.

 

monty posted a comment   

Coming from my old c750 the sharpness of the pics was disappointing. I expected the stabilisation would improve my shots as my hand shakes but this does not appear any better. Pics taken in good light are quite good but the indoor ones are very average.
I certainly appreciate the size but I think I would happily go back to the old size to get the better quality pic




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User Reviews / Comments  Olympus Mju 9000

  • tasam67867

    tasam67867

    Rating6

    "nice camera..not bad eh,my uncle use it for party
    starbucks gift card balance"

  • Duh

    Duh

    Rating1

    "Slow start up time; you either conserve battery & miss your shot or wate it waiting
    Picture quality is horid
    How did the reviewer get it so wrong?!"

  • monty

    monty

    "How does the editor get it so wrong.
    He rated the Panasonic and the Olympus both at 7.8.
    The users rated the Panasonic at 8.8 and the Olympus at 1.5
    He should try using the ca..."

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