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Olympus µ-9000 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £219
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 2×2 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 640×480 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

Rating **
CCD effective megapixels 11.8 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.33in
Viewfinder none
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Optical zoom 10.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-280mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 3,968×2,976
Maximum movie resolution 640
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; AVI (M-JPEG)


Memory slot xD, microSD
Mermory supplied 45MB internal
Battery type 3.7V 925mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 250 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, DC in
Body material aluminium
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 185g
Size 60x96x31mm

Buying Information

Price £219

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range auto
ISO range (at full resolution) 64 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets
Additional image controls shadow adjust
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer

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