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Olympus mju Tough 6010 - Olympus mju Tough 6010

By Cliff Smith

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Underneath its armour the mju-Tough-6010 is a fairly basic compact camera, with features essentially the same as the mju-7010 that I reviewed last week. However it does have a few unusual features suited to its outdoor sports role. The controls on the back are quite small and fiddly even when you're not wearing gloves, but the camera overcomes this to a certain extent by incorporating Tap Control, a feature which as far as I know is unique to Olympus.

With Tap Control activated, tapping the right side of the camera brings up the flash mode menu, while tapping the left side activates the focus mode menu. Tapping the back of the camera enters playback mode, and pictures can be scrolled back and forth by tapping the sides of the camera. A double tap on the top of the camera selects menu choices. It's a novel idea, and it does work surprisingly well as far as it goes, but any further menu adjustments will mean taking off your ski mittens. There's also the whole question of a shock-proof camera having shock-activated controls, but I'll leave that alone.

The Tough-6010 has a range of photographic features typical of a mid-range point-and-shoot compact. The main dial has six options including program auto, iAuto (automatic scene detection), a "Beauty" mode that softens skin tones, and a scene mode with 18 scene programs, with several programs designed specifically for shooting underwater or on snow. The video mode is adequate, with a resolution of 640 x 480 at 30fps with mono audio and clip length limited only by card capacity, although it looks a little limited in comparison to the HD video capability of the similarly-priced Panasonic FT1.

Like other recent Olympus compacts the 6010 has a quick live menu for basic shooting options including white balance, ISO setting, metering mode, drive mode and image size/quality. It also has a second mini-menu giving quick access to the camera's few other special features. It has a panorama mode, a shadow booster to improve shadow detail in high-contrast shots, a rather disappointing "Magic Filter" selection, and a very odd multi-window mode for comparative adjustment of zoom, exposure compensation, white balance and spot versus evaluative metering. However the camera lacks manual white balance, any sort of colour adjustment, and annoyingly it also lacks an AF assist lamp. That LED on the front is only for close-range illumination of macro subjects.

GordonDownie

September 25, 2009, 3:31 pm

I know this is repeating an old chestnut, but why on earth do manufacturers keep putting such pixel dense sensors in these cameras. 12MP is completely unnecessary. I suspect picture quality would be vastly better with 6MP chip instead, in terms of noise and dynamic range. Most pictures are viewed on monitors with less than 2MP after all. It would also process images more quickly, too. I see Canon are starting to buck the trend with the new S90 and G11 by not going all out for big pixel numbers, but instead worrying about what produces the best pictures (hopefully). Do you think this might be the start of a welcome trend?

joose

September 25, 2009, 4:03 pm

@GordonDownie - Hopefully this trend (if it is one) continues. I've just had a photo from my mobile phone blown up to A0 size and the resolution was fine, others have also commented that they didn't think the photo come of come from a phone. While IQ is of course subjective, I think camera manufacturers have done too good a job convincing Joe Public that more is better. I agree that a megapixel rating between 6 and 10 (max) is all that is needed.

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