Olympus loves its µ line of cameras. They're shiny, they're slim, they're stylish and they're weather resistant. That's certainly the case with the Olympus µ 750 Digital, a 7-megapixel snapshot camera with both digital and optical image stabilisation.
The µ 750's sturdy metal body is a gentle wedge shape, making the camera extremely comfortable for one-handed use. The tapered left side, however, makes it even more awkward for left-handed users than most point-and-shoots. The controls are mostly flat buttons that are responsive under the thumb, but extremely similar in feel. It's easy to accidentally hit the menu button instead of the direction pad when looking over photos. The power and the image-stabilisation buttons sit on either side of the shutter release, but they're recessed enough that you probably won't accidentally press them while shooting.
Though light on the manual controls, the µ 750 has some very nice features. Like all in the µ series, its metal body has rubber gaskets and seals to keep water and gunk out. You can't shoot underwater, but you can splash it without fear or hesitation. Olympus includes a 36mm-to-180mm (35mm equivalent), 5x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, augmented by digital image stabilisation and a sensitivity maximum of ISO 1,600 for some extra kick in low-light shooting. The µ 750 has no manual exposure controls, but 29 scene modes let casual shooters set the camera for the type of shot they want. A choppy 15fps VGA movie mode is also available, though most cameras offer the smoother 30fps video modes.
The µ 750 performed sluggishly in our tests, especially in dim light. It took 2.4 seconds from power-on to first shot. We endured a 2.2-second wait between shots in bright light, a pause that more than doubled to 4.5 seconds with the onboard flash enabled. Shutter lag was a respectable 0.6 seconds in bright light, increasing to 1.5 seconds in dim conditions. Burst mode was painfully slow, taking slightly more than 0.8 shots per second.
The camera produced some very nice images, with relatively few flaws. Noise was surprisingly low, remaining a fine grain, even at ISO 800. At ISO 1,600, it became unsurprisingly problematic, with a sparkly, grainy layer softening details. We noticed little fringing or lens distortion, but some JPEG compression artefacts managed to creep into our photos. The automatic white balance produced very warm results with the tungsten lights in our lab, though the tungsten preset yielded much more neutral results -- so if you're shooting in your living room with a bunch of lamps on, remember to switch to tungsten. Outside, in natural daylight, the auto white balance did a fine job.
The Olympus µ 750 Digital is a very strong point-and-shoot camera, though its attractive images are hindered by mediocre performance. It has no manual exposure controls and isn't as responsive as we would like, but as a general point-and-shoot camera, it's still a very good choice. If you want a µ but don't want to spend quite as much, the Olympus µ 740 Digital is nearly identical to the 750. The µ 740 lacks image stabilisation, and it performed a little bit quicker in flash recycle time, but otherwise is exactly the same camera as the µ 750.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
||Typical shot-to-shot time||
||Time to first shot||
||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Additional editing by Kate Macefield