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Olympus µ-7010 review

Ben Pitt
28 Mar 2010
Olympus µ-7010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT

The 7x zoom is worth having, but other cameras offer better image quality and performance for the same price.

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Specifications

1/2.33in 11.8-megapixel sensor, 7.0x zoom (28-196mm equivalent), 125g

The plastic µ-7010 isn’t as alluring as its aluminium-clad rivals, but there are a few strips of metal to reinforce it and the overall effect is reasonably smart. The 2.7in screen has excellent viewing angles and the backlit buttons add a touch of class to proceedings. We’re delighted to find a 7x zoom lens and optical stabilisation in such a compact, low-price camera. The 170-shot battery life isn’t so impressive, though.

Olympus has finally admitted defeat and will be switching from the slow, expensive xD card format to SDHC in its next batch of cameras. However, the 7010 still uses xD. At least there’s an adaptor included for using a microSD card. Performance was terrible when using xD, with up to eight seconds between shots, but much better with microSD at 2.8 seconds. That’s still nothing to write home about, though. Continuous shooting lasted for just two shots, although a High-Speed mode managed 22 shots at 11fps by dropping to 3 megapixels. The slow performance also accounts for the lack of HD video capture. The 7010’s videos are at the basic VGA resolution with fixed zoom and focus and poor sound, but picture quality was otherwise OK.

Our dislike for compact cameras with pointlessly high resolutions is well documented, but even compared to similar cameras, the 7010’s test shots failed to impress. Focus was poor towards the corners of frames at wide-angle zoom settings, and a little soft across the frame in telephoto shots. The camera struggled to cope with dense textures such as foliage. Shots taken under artificial light had an unpleasant yellow cast, and outdoor ones lacked the vibrancy of other cameras’ shots. As usual for this type of camera, noise was a big problem at high ISO speeds. Although noise reduction did a decent job of hiding it, it also obliterated details. Shots at the top ISO 1600 setting were particularly ugly.

At this price, it’s best to settle for a smaller zoom range in a better all-round camera.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels11.8 megapixels
CCD size1/2.33in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom7.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-196mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution3,968x2,976
Maximum movie resolution640x480
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotxD
Mermory supplied36MB internal
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)170 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
HDMI output resolutionN/A
Body materialplastic
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplier5.6x
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables, xD-to-microSD adapter
Weight125g
Size56x98x26mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£130
Supplier
Detailswww.olympus.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto
Shutter speed1/2 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3 to f/5.9
ISO range (at full resolution)64 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets
Additional image controlsshadow adjust
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus2cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, tracking, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer