Most digital cameras are best used on dry sunny days or indoors, protected from the elements. Olympus’s new water-resistant models allow you to keep shooting even when the weather turns foul.
Both the $799, 3-megapixel MJU 300 Digital and the $999, 4-megapixel MJU 400 Digital use rubber gaskets around the battery compartment, connectors and buttons to seal out water and dust. O-rings inside the 3X optical zoom lens squeeze out moisture when you turn off the camera’s power.
Be aware, however, that these cameras are water resistant, not waterproof. According to Olympus, each can handle up to a litre of splattered water over a 5-minute period — in other words, probably more than the amount of rain, snow, or baby drool you’re likely to encounter during normal use. Subject it to a dunk in a swimming pool, however, and all bets on its survival are off.
The MJU 300 I tested offers an automatic mode, five scene modes and a movie mode (without sound). It lacks a low-light focusing aid, but I took fully automatic shots with flash in dark settings and still got pretty good images. Well-lit shots looked better, and the camera’s zoom lens is fast.
The MJU 300 competes well with comparable models from other vendors. Its all-weather housing makes it even more desirable, especially for outdoorsy types.
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