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Olympus mju Tough 6010 - Olympus mju Tough 6010

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.

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