Product Type: Olympus digital cameras
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Tougher than the rest
Olympus µ[MJU:] Tough-8000
Member Name: mosaic369
Olympus µ[MJU:] Tough-8000
Date: 08/07/09, updated on 08/07/09 (190 review reads)
Advantages: Doesn't matter if you drop it or get it wet
Disadvantages: A bit sluggish, picture quality could be better
When I first saw an advertisement for the Olympus Tough digital camera, I instantly knew we needed one of these. In the TV ad, if you remember, there's a little boy playing with this camera outdoors while his mum is on the phone and not looking. The boy chucks the camera around, gets it muddy and then holds it under the garden tap to wash it. In the process, he also manages to take a pretty good shot of the family dog, which brings an approving smile on his mummy's face. That ad alone totally sold this camera to me (talk about the power of advertisement!). I wanted to be an easy-going mummy like that, instead of the horrible cow who shouts "don't touch the camera!" every time her son wants to explore his photography skills.
We did have the Fisher Price kids camera as a toy, but we had to get rid of it as it took unacceptably poor quality photos (see my previous review). I wanted a proper camera that my son could use too. The Olympus Tough 8000 is shockproof and waterproof, so it fit the bill perfectly. Obviously, we didn't buy this camera as a toy, as it is too expensive for that but my son is free to use it anytime he likes without getting the first degree for dropping it.
So far, the Olympus Tough 8000 has lived up to its name, as it's been dropped a few times, got sand on it and even got wet on a number of occasions, and it seems to have withstood the abuse. It is a sturdy little camera. It's very tactile and feels well-made. The size of the screen is nice and big at two and three quarters of an inch and has good resolution. The menu system is user friendly, so much so that I didn't even have to consult the manual.
This is a 12-megapixel camera, which is quite a jump for us from the old 4-megapixel Olympus UltraZoom we have. To be honest, we don't really need that much resolution, as we tend to take too many photos anyway so we try to keep each below 1 megabyte in size, otherwise we would quickly run out of storage space. You can easily change the resolution on this camera, so we have it set to 5 megapixels at the moment, which is a good compromise between quality and size. By the way, the camera's internal memory is useless, so you need to buy an additional XD picture card. We bought a 2GB card for around £12 on Amazon. This way, we can take 1600+ photos at the 5m setting.
The quality of the photos is OK, but I must say, I think, I can take better photos with our old Ultra Zoom. It WILL take good photos if the lighting is optimal and you spend enough time on focusing. The focus is a bit sluggish and sometimes you miss the moment by the time the camera finally takes the photo, but we had the same problem with the Ultra Zoom as well. The Tough 8000 has an optical zoom of 3.6X, which, compared to the Ultra Zoom's 10X zoom seems insufficient, especially if you got used to having it. The unit comes with a charger and the battery seems to hold the charge quite well.
Apart from the regular features, this camera has some nice little settings, which I quite like. One of them is the "Beauty" setting, which airbrushes the faces in the photo to cover up uneven skin tone, for example. Be aware, however that by doing this, the resolution is dramatically reduced, so I'm guessing, you wouldn't be able to create poster-size prints with this setting. The other feature I really like is the SCN (scene setting) where you can choose particular scenes like candlelight, sunset, fireworks, self-portrait, documents, etc. These are very useful and seem to work well too. I've taken a few great sunset shots, which didn't look quite as striking with just the auto setting. The macro setting is just a button-press away, whereas I always had to look for this feature on my old camera. The Tough 8000 also takes movies with sound. These are reasonably good quality and instantly available by turning the dial to the movie setting.
All in all, it's a good little camera for what it is. It's not perfect, but what is? The best thing about it is that you don't have to worry about getting it damaged, and that's exactly why we bought it.
It is available in different colours, eg. silver, black and blue. It costs around £250 from Amazon.
Summary: A good camera, but has its shortcomings
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