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Olympus mju Tough 6010 review




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The Olympus mju Tough range, and previously the mju SW range, is a series of digital compact cameras designed for outdoor use in extreme conditions. They are all waterproof, and recent models are also shock proof and cold resistant. I have most recently reviewed the flagship mju Tough 8000, a massively tough camera able to withstand submersion to 10m, crushing force of 100kg, drops from 2m and freezing to -10 degrees centigrade. It's an impressive bit of kit, but with the best will in the world you could never describe it as particularly attractive, so today I'm taking a look at its more stylish stablemate, the mju Tough-6010.

Launched in July, the mju Tough-6010 shares many of the features of its six-months-older sibling. It has the same 12-megapixel 1/2.33-inch CCD sensor, the same 3.6x zoom lens equivalent to 28-102mm, and the same 2.7-inch 230k HyperCrystal III monitor. Where it differs is the design of the body. Where the Tough-8000 is all metal, the Tough-6010 is mostly plastic, with only the cosmetic fascia panel being aluminium. As a result it's not quite as tough as the 8000, although it will still survive situations that would kill any normal camera. It is waterproof to a depth of 3m, can survive drops from 1.5m and freezing temperatures down to -10 centigrade (although see this tutorial for information about that).

The body shape is also more rounded, with softer corners, and lacks the industrial appearance of some previous models. It is comfortably into ultra-compact territory, measuring 95.3 x 63.4 x 22.4 mm, although this is in fact slightly larger than the Tough-8000, probably due to the thickness of the plastic construction. It is lighter than the 8000 though, weighing approximately 165g including battery and memory card. It is available with the fascia panel in three different colours; red, dark grey or the turquoise blue shown here. The Tough-6010 is currently selling for around £250, which is pretty expensive for a compact camera, although it's still relatively new, so that price will probably drop by £30-40 before Christmas.


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?


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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