Gearview: Olympus MJU Zoom 80

A teeny tiny compact camera with a zoom function and a sexy design. When I first saw this camera I, once again, fell in love with the design of it. Smooth and curvy with an automated flash mechanism that just brings a smile to my face. I got this camera after my Olympus AF-1, so I already had a certain faith in the image quality of Olympus compacts. It has a zoom lens, so that does affect it but I was intrigued. Just like the AF-1, everything is automated and only comes to life when the cover is opened. If you slide the cover plate aside, the lens emerges and the flash opens up like a butterflies wings.

The big difference regarding the flash, apart from the design standpoint, is that with the Zoom you can turn the flash off instead of relying on what the camera thinks is necessary. Another advancement is the top LCD screen that shows the flash mode and your shutter-count.

As we have established, this is a zoom camera. It goes from 35mm to 80mm, which is a nice usable range. Especially in such a small package. On wide, you can use this camera from the hip. But with an 80mm tele, you need some visual guidance to make your composition. This is solved by a coupled rangefinder. It’s small but usable enough.

Enough of the jabberbabber, let’s get down to business. How are dem images, mate?

The overall quality is decent, but there is one thing that is…quite obtrusive. Everything is fine and dandy until you zoom in. Then you get some haloing in the bottom corners of the image. Sweet. So there is some light leaking in when you zoom. This means that the camera is only usable for half of it’s intended use. Oh well, I can live with this since the wide images are good enough and the camera works reliably for the rest. It’s just a thing that I can be mindful of and never zoom in if I want them halo free. On the other hand, I could shoot upside down for a touch of divinity in certain shots.


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