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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Olympus > arrow Olympus Mju 1020 Digital Camera Review
Olympus Mju 1020 Digital Camera Review


Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker


To put it simply, you get what you pay for with the Olympus Mju 1020 so if you’re in the market for a low-fuss, rugged, point-and-shoot digital compact that you can take and use virtually anywhere, this palm-sized, lightweight unit is a great option.

With an RRP of $499 and an extended list of impressive features - not to mention an attractive design that lives up to Olympus’ reputation of producing ‘sexy’ and stylish compacts complete with trademark curve and wedge – the Mju 1020 is best-suited to the point-and-shoot user looking for ease-of-use and durability. Petite hands would be a bonus too as the buttons on the Mju 1020 are fairly small and require precise control.

The neatly packed Mju 1020 kit includes the camera, strap, dedicated battery and charger, a USB cable, an AV cable, software (Olympus Master 2), manual, warranty card and a MicroSD attachment MASD-1. Unfortunately, it seems to be an industry standard among manufacturers not to include a case and memory card in camera kits and the same goes here for Olympus.

Despite its metal build, the Mju 1020 weighs in at just 135g and has packed a whopping 7 x optical zoom into a compact unit that sizes up to just 99.0mm x 56.3mm x 25.2mm. It also offers an impressive 10.1 mega pixels, dual image stabilisation and a focal length of 6.6mm to 46.2 mm, equivalent to 37mm-260mm in 35mm format.

The 2.7” HyperCrystal LCD is especially susceptible to fingerprints but offers a clear and vivid preview even in bright sunlight, making it easy to compose photos in all conditions. Even in low light, the Mju 1020 automatically brightens the scene to help the user frame a shot and while the preview itself appears quite noisy as a result, the final image is not affected in any way.

Speaking of noise, as with many digital compacts the Mju 1020 does not suffer any obvious levels up until about ISO 400 where it increases fairly rapidly thereon in up until the highest available ISO of 1600. When possible then, for best results it’s advisable not to shoot beyond ISO 400 in order to keep noise levels to an absolute minimum.

23 scene modes are available in the Mju 1020 ranging from popular standards: portrait, landscape, night scene, sport and available light, to specialist modes: sunset, fireworks, cuisine, behind glass, and documents. A particular favourite is auction mode, which automatically takes three sequential images using a different exposure for each and saves them at a smaller size so they can be immediately uploaded onto online auction, photo or social sites. This is a very handy feature for those who are regularly uploading their images onto the Internet. Portrait mode is also highly recommended to achieve the best skin tones in your subjects and three additional scenes modes are available to use when or if an underwater casing (PT-042) is purchased separately, extending the shooting possibilities with the Mju 1020 even further.

A guide mode is also offered to help the user in certain shooting situations that may present a challenge. For example, the guide can advise the user how best to use the camera when shooting a subject in motion, reducing red-eye, shooting at night or into backlight, setting particular lighting, or adjusting the area in focus. There are 14 guide modes in total so rarely would a shooting situation arise for which the Mju 1020 couldn’t provide its own solution.

Panoramic photos can be created in-camera with two different methods available, which allows the user to choose which works best for them or the given situation. You can also elect not to stitch in-camera and do it on the computer if you prefer.

The basic in-camera editing options available with the Mju 1020 include: crop, re-size, colour edit (convert to black and white, sepia, high or low saturation), add a frame or a label, or even create a calendar. While these novelties may not be for everyday use, they are definitely nice features to play with for special occasion images such a birthdays and weddings etc.

In some cases, especially indoors, the Mju 1020 had slight difficulty balancing the exposure between indoor light and that coming from a window, skylight or doorway. In these situations, it is important that the user harnesses the power of the provided shadow adjustment technology (with just the click of a button) to compensate for this as best as is possible.

The ‘shadow adjustment’ feature along with ‘face detection’ technology – each of which is fast becoming a standard across the entire Olympus range - will ensure properly exposed and evenly lit portraits and happy snaps where both the faces of the subject/s and the background are correctly exposed. Thankfully, the days where your camera sacrificed either one or the other have passed increasing the success of the Mju 1020 as a point-and-shoot even further.

In-camera ‘perfect fix’ technology enables you to remove red eye as well as brighten shadows in certain images and the powerful, well-balanced flash comfortably covers a range upwards of 5 meters (independent testing.) The three main shooting options available are: fully automatic mode for point-and-shoot operation, program mode where more manual control is possible, or scene mode where the camera operates specifically for certain conditions that the user selects.

medal-gold-r.jpgImpressive macro and super macro modes on the Mju 1020 will encourage the photographer to experiment with their own creativity and come away pleased with the results. Super macro can operate as close as 2cm from the subject and at the other end of the spectrum, the 7 x zoom paired with the powerful flash, makes it possible to achieve sharp images even at full zoom and without a tripod.

Overall, operating the Mju 1020 is delightfully straightforward (particularly if you have smaller hands) meaning that taking, reviewing, sorting, editing and deleting photos is a breeze, as too is selecting and using the various modes available. In-built technologies ensure that point-and-shoot operation is virtually failsafe so for those wanting to let the camera do the majority of the work, the Mju 1020 is bound to suit. The unit itself is very attractive yet quite robust and perfect to throw in your pocket or handbag whenever you leave the house.


Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $499
Effective Pixels 10.1 Million mega pixels
Image Sizes 8 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 37mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 260mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 7x
Resolution Settings From 640 x 480 to 3648 x 2736
Shooting Modes 23 Scene options
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 10cm to infinity
Aperture Range F3.5 - F5.3
Aperture Priority No
Macro Yes
Macro Range [cm] 2cm to infinity
Shutter Speeds 1/2sec - 1/2000sec (up to 4 sec. in night mode)
Shutter Priority No
ISO 80 - 1600 and Auto
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 2.7 inch LCD display
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-in, OFF
Hot Shoe No
White balance White Balance iESP, Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1 - 3
Self Timer Yes, 12 seconds
Movie Options Yes. Limited only by memory card size.
Video Out Yes. AV out
Storage Type xD-Picture Cards (16MB ~ 2GB xD)
Storage Included [Mb] Onboard memory, 14.7Mb
Image / Audio Formats Jpeg, RAW,  EXIF v2.21,  PIM III  DPOF and AVI, Jpeg w sound
Connectivity USB
Power Source D-7ACA AC Adapter with CB-MA1 Power coupler
Battery Options Li-50B LI-Ion (battery life up to 260 shots)
Dimensions 99.0mm x 56.3mm x 25.2mm
Weight 135

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In Greek mythology, Mt.Olympus is the home of the twelve supreme gods and goddesses. Olympus was named after this mountain to reflect its strong aspiration to create high quality, world famous products.

"Olympus" has been used as a trademark since the time of Takachiho Seisakusho, the predecessor of Olympus Corporation.

In Japanese mythology, it is said that eight million gods and goddesses live in Takamagahara, the peak of Mt.Takachiho. The name "Olympus" was selected as the trademark because Mt.Olympus, like Mt.Takachiho, was the home of gods and goddesses. This trademark is also imbued with the aspiration of Olympus to illuminate the world with its optical devices, just like Takamagahara brought light to the world.

Takachiho Seisakusho was renamed Takachiho Optical Co., Ltd. in 1942 when optical products became the mainstay of the company. In 1947, the name was changed again to Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. in an attempt to enhance its corporate image.

And in 2003, the company made a fresh start as Olympus Corporation, to show its willingness to establish a dynamic corporate brand by unifying the corporate name and the well-known brand.

In recent years, Olympus Corporation has focused on "Opto-Digital Technology" as its core competence, technological strengths that competitors cannot easily imitate, to maximize corporate value and to become one of the top optical instrument manufactures.

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