This update to the original sleek and sexy Olympus µ-mini Digital boasts 1 million more pixels and slightly improved performance, but it still suffers from average image quality, an anaemic electronic flash and a limited 2x zoom (35mm-to-70mm equivalent on a 35mm-film camera).
If you put a higher priority on stylish features than functions and options, this conversation piece provides acceptable snapshots for small prints with a minimum of user involvement. If you need manual controls other than EV adjustments, you're out of luck. However, the Olympus µ-mini Digital S's 16 scene modes handle most shooting situations, and its clutch of special effects, including fish-eye and soft-focus looks, are fun to use. Its water-resistant 'all weather' ruggedness, which includes a gasketed lens cover and battery compartment door, should make this camera popular among the outdoors set.
The 116g µ-mini Digital S's skewed oddball shape is unusual, but at 94 by 56 by 28mm, this rounded parallelogram is compact enough to fit in a pocket. You'll need a two-handed grip, though, if you want to operate the shutter-release button on top and the back-panel zoom rocker without shifting your hand. As with its predecessor, this µ-mini left us less than thrilled with the operation of the four-way cursor pad, which made it too easy to accidentally press the centre OK/menu button and make a selection or activate a menu unintentionally. Because scene modes, macro, flash and self-timer features are all activated by pressing the cursor pad up, down, or to either side, these slip-ups happened all too frequently.
The cylindrical mode dial, on the other hand, was easy to use and snapped in place securely when we selected photo, movie, or review functions. The only other buttons are the power switch and a quick-view key located to the left of the 48mm (1.8-inch) LCD. There's no Delete button; when an image is visible onscreen, you just press the menu button and an erase option appears.