Olympus µ-9000 review

Ben Pitt
23 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



1/2.33in 11.8-megapixel sensor, 10.0x zoom (28-280mm equivalent), 185g

This is the smallest and lightest 10x zoom camera here, but the benefit of this over the others doesn't amount to much when the camera is stowed in a bag or pocket.

If anything, the ?-9000 suffers for its petite dimensions, with an undersized zoom control and a flash that sits dangerously near to where the camera is grasped.

It isn't short of innovative features. A Multi Window option shows four simultaneous live previews in a 2x2 grid with varying zoom, exposure, white balance and metering settings. It's a superb idea that serves as a valuable educational tool. A panorama-stitch function initially seems impressive, tracking a point in the scene and automatically capturing the next shot when you've lined up the point with a crosshair. However, the tracking is somewhat unreliable and the camera has a poor grasp of the optical geometry of panoramas. These two features also appear on the two waterproof Olympus cameras, and the ?-9000 also shares these cameras' Beauty mode.

An iAUTO setting on the mode dial is designed for point-and-shoot operation, but it's not possible to suppress the flash in this mode, so we had to switch to the general automatic mode for indoor photography without the flash. Here, automatic exposure settings were ill advised, with shutter speeds as slow as ?s before the ISO speed was raised above 200. Then again, noise levels were so bad at ISO 400 and above that perhaps a bit of blur is preferable. Noise wasn't great in bright light, either, and with harsh chromatic aberrations and a tendency to misjudge focus, the ?-9000 came last for image quality.

Video capture was the worst of the ultra-zoom cameras, too. The 640x480 resolution is passable, but even at this resolution, detail levels were low and the soundtrack was muffled. Unless the fastest Type H xD card or a microSD card is used, clips are limited to 10 seconds.

With disappointing quality and few saving graces, this is a camera to avoid.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels11.8 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-280mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,968x2,976
Maximum movie resolution640
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slotxD, microSD
Mermory supplied45MB internal
Battery type3.7V 925mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)250 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, DC in
Body materialaluminium
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables

Buying Information


Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speedauto
Aperture rangeauto
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets
Additional image controlsshadow adjust
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus1cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer

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