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Olympus Mju 300 Point and Shoot Digital Compact Camera Review

Watch a Flickr slideshow of shots tagged with "Olympus Mju 300".

(The photographs below have been processed with Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, and the black and whites have been created with Niks Silver Efex Pro.)

You know I like to cover cutting edge technology over here on the blog, so here's a little beauty I got from our local car boot sale for about fiver a few months ago - the Olympus Mju 300d Digital Compact Camera. It's from 2004, but it's small, weather-resistant, takes nice enough photographs, and fits in your pocket.

I'm not going to talk much about specifications in this review, your camera-phone probably has more megapixels, but check out the links at the bottom of the post for the technical stuff. Just look at the photo's and ask "are they good enough?".

West St Car Park, Fareham

The Olympus Mju 300d offers an equivalent 35 - 105mm zoom lens, with a variable aperture from f/3.1 to f/5.2, but I'm not really bothered about that. What I'm after is point and shoot functionality, which the Mju 300 has in spades.

Rainbow, Gosport-Fareham Rd

Let's start with the body. It's got a shiny metal look (even though it's mostly plastic) with the usual Olympus lens cover that also acts as the on-off switch. I like this. It means that the little camera can sit in your pocket quite safely, it doesn't need a case, and it's weather sealed to see off the odd light shower while you're out shooting.

Titchfield Abbey From Road

The Mju 300 Digital uses a li-ion rechargeable battery that has never gone flat while I've been out taking photographs. I charge it every couple of weeks, and that seems enough to cover the light use I give it. This camera is always with me when I don't have my dSLR - in my jacket or trouser pocket, ready to fire into action if a photo opportunity arises.

Titchfield Abbey Front Entrance

I always shoot in the default automatic mode, the only time I go into the menus is to format the memory card. What I'm after with this point and shoot, is simple, intuitive photography. It's refreshing not to have to worry about ISO's, apertures and shutter speeds. I just let the camera do all the thinking.

Main Doors, Titchfield Abbey

The Mju does have a few things that you've got to work around. With such a tiny sensor and lens, perspective distortion seems amplified when you're shooting wide and close to your subject. The viewfinder and led screen are really, really, small - you've got to squint to look at either, and worst of all it uses XD memory cards.

My Mju 300 Digital has a 16mb XD card, which'll hold about 40 photos (!), but it can take up to a 256mb card, so I'll have to get one off eBay or Amazon soon.

Birds Inside Titchfield Abbey

I feel a bit odd writing a review of this great little camera, six years on from its original release. Yes, it's old tech and the viewfinder is small, but the form factor is great, and if I drop and break it I won't be heart-broken, after all, it cost me less than the price of a CF mempry card to buy....

View Up Tower, Titchfield Abbey

In conclusion, if you see an Olympus Mju 300 Digital (sometimes referred to as the Stylus), going cheap, check it works then snap it up - it's a wicked little camera that will probably take better photographs than your camera phone, you can have it on you all the time, and you won't worry about using it in difficult situations of if its raining.

Cheers, Rob.

Here's a review of the Mju 300 at Steve's Digicams.

Click here for a review of the Mju 300 at ephotozine.

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