Many years ago when I was a child I saw a TV ad publicizing a very small and beautiful Olympus Mju-mini Digital. The design of this camera stuck somewhere deep inside my brain, but it was not until the end of 2019 that I saw this camera again.
Finding a Olympus Mju-mini Digital
One day I was looking for some filters at an old photography equipment store and suddenly saw a box with familiarly looking camera.
Despite the original price of 345€ back in 2004, I have bought it for only 35€ in 2019.
It has never been opened, even the package of the camera battery and of a 16Mb xD card was intact. I did reserve the camera and gave myself a day to sleep on it. The very next day the Olympus Mju-mini Digital was mine.
Small, lightweight, very ergonomic, gorgeous design. With the exception of a few plastic parts the general feeling from the Olympus Mju-mini Digital’s aluminium body is very pleasing. I’d say more pleasing than any mju series compact film cameras including the now legendary mju-II.
All the buttons are small, but placed thoughtfully and I never felt a need for either bigger buttons or different button placement.
The lens is a ~35-75mm in full frame equivalent, with x2 zoom, which is a nice option. Despite the lens being relatively slow, it produces beautiful images.
Less than a week after the purchase of my first Olympus Mju-mini Digital, I bought the second body. I like to use the cameras on a daily basis but at the same time I wanted to keep my Mju-mini in mint condition.
The second camera cost me only 10€ and came in a beautiful blue color. Nevertheless it came with an issue, the lens cap would open properly only in one position, with the lens pointed to the sky. Soon this procedure became a routine. In use, I have found the small size is very rewarding, I have this camera everyday in my pocket.
Quick specs & example images
It’s a point & shoot camera, nevertheless it permits some personalization. You can select between Matrix, Center-weight and Spot metering. Several options for Color balance, ISO, exposure compensation, flash modes. That’s it I guess. Auto focus is relatively quick and focuses properly in 97% of cases. When I bought the first camera I was very skeptical about the potential image quality.
Like any old digital camera (and any CCD) Mju-mini’s sensor likes a lot of light.
In low light, the Olympus Mju-mini Digital automatically chooses slow shutter speeds.
To get a steady image in low light, I do usually use exposure compensation and Spot metering. The images are a little bit underexposed, but still quite beautiful.
And this camera Is perfect for snaps
And self portraits
It renders beautifully green cast of fluorescent lamps.
And blue color
Any color you point the camera at.
Images are quite noisy at max ISO (400) and are superb at the lowest (64).
Getting it wet
Additionally I’ve bought an underwater housing for my “original” (silver) Mju-mini, to give it the “maximum protection”.
It protects the camera for up to 3m.
I did try to make some nice underwater pictures and videos, but finally ended up with this:
Underwater videos converted to Gifs:
It was impossible to see anything on the camera screen due to its low brightness, reflections from the plastic housing and scattered light underwater. So I did press the shutter all the time in order to capture more pictures. Anyway I was not able to capture any interesting picture but videos came up much more fun.
I would say that underwater housing for this camera is something I wouldn’t necessarily use underwater, but rather as a “second skin” to protect my precious camera from any unpredictable accident on the seashore.
I haven’t noticed any decline in image quality with the camera inside the housing. Here are some photos:
Olympus Mju-mini Digital is one of the “dinosaurs” in my camera bag. It’s a very beautiful and pleasant camera to use. A little bit slow, no RAW capture, nevertheless excellent camera for quick snaps to share on social platforms.
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