The Olympus mju 820’s subtly asymmetrical design makes it feel much smaller than it really is.
Indeed, it's only when you put the Olympus mju 820 next to other compact cameras that you become aware of its true dimensions.
However, these few extra millimetres bring you a weatherproof case and a powerful lens that telescopes out of the Olympus mju 820's gently curved body like a tiny wedding cake.
The Olympus mju 820 has a beefy 5.6x optical zoom range, where most other compacts can manage only 3x.
Image quality is good, although you might expect even better stills from a camera with an 8Mp lens. We observed a tendency for the Olympus mju 820's images to smear slightly at higher ISO settings and lose a little detail.
The Olympus mju 820 supports face detection. Shadow adjustment and bright capture technologies ensure that shadow and highlight detail is preserved without the need for subsequent editing on your PC.
Nobody likes to carry camera manuals around with them, so it’s pleasing that the Olympus mju 820 features plenty of built-in user help. Moving the mode dial to the Guide position brings up a menu-driven shooting guide, which outlines several shooting scenarios and walks you through the steps required to take the best photograph.
Many settings provide a live preview, in which the Olympus mju 820 displays the results of up to four settings simultaneously in a split-screen mode. You then simply select the one you like most.
A 640x480 pixel video mode is provided but limited to 10 seconds of capture at this resolution. The Olympus mju 820 uses xD memory cards, which some may consider a disadvantage.
The Olympus mju 820 is a highly impressive camera with strong specifications and image quality. It earns our Best Buy award.