The Olympus Stylus mju 780 is a fairly nondescript digital compact camera with a couple of nice touches that help to alleviate the fog of anonymity. Mechanical image stabilisation and a 5x optical zoom are quite interesting. The mju 780 is also claimed to be weatherproof so it can brave the elements, and it's available for around £200 online.
Apart from the elegant sloping curved footprint, the 780's styling is retro and boxy. The standard round click pad is replaced by an enormous square pad, with buttons above and below. The markings on the buttons illuminate in a lime-green colour, which is handy for shooting in the dark. The enormous buttons are extremely shiny, and very susceptible to fingerprint marks. Even the rubber cover of the USB port gets a lustrous metal panel.
The mode wheel seems tiny by comparison and is really tough to turn. Strangely, it doesn't rotate all the way around, so moving from favourites mode to video mode, which are next to each other on the dial, involves going all the way back round. The dial also provides access to playback mode, which is pointlessly duplicated with a playback button.
Disappointingly, Olympus has chosen to follow the trend of adding an image stabilisation button on top. This increases the ISO setting to maximum, which is a problem as the mju 780, like most compacts, struggles with noise problems in low light. To make things worse, the button is on the wrong side of the shutter release.
The mju 780 is weatherproof to the IEC standard publication 529 IPX4. This means it will stand up to water splashed from any direction. Not a particularly rousing boast.
The mju 780 boasts a 7.1-megapixel sensor and 64mm (2.5-inch) LCD, both par for the compact course. More interesting is the 5x optical zoom, with a focal length equivalent to 36-180mm in a 35mm camera. The zoom responds reasonably well, but it isn't quick.
As well as the usual paltry internal memory, the mju 780 supports xD memory cards. xD cards are only used by Fuji and Olympus and as semi-proprietary technology, they aren't the cheapest or most flexible memory format available. Fuji has apparently seen the error of its proprietary ways by introducing the F40fd, a compact that accepts xD and the more common SD format.
Favourites mode is an interesting idea, but underdeveloped. A one-touch option to mark your favourite options would be better than moving through menus. There's also no option to erase all images in the playback menu, for when you've backed up your pictures and want to clear the memory.