Olympus Mju Tough 8010

The Tough 8010 is the strongest compact that money can buy, and features HD video recording. Still, its slow performance means you will miss critical shots and its image quality is only just OK.


7.6
CNET Rating
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User Rating

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Olympus tough cameras certainly have a heritage of being the biggest, meanest cameras out there when it comes to resisting stuff. Whether that's being thrashed about in the slobbery jaws of a belligerent puppy or in the hands of construction workers, these cameras are marketed as the toughest on the market.

The 8010 is the successor to the Tough 8000, a camera that we had no quibbles with in regards to its strength, but its images were less than successful.

Design and features

First impressions for the 8010 relate to its weight and heft; at 215g it's significantly heavier than most compact cameras. Inside sits a 14-megapixel sensor and a number of upgrades from the older 8000 camera, including HD video recording at 720p and 5x optical zoom. The biggest improvement is that the 8010 now uses SD/SDHC cards exclusively rather than the slower xD format.

At its widest, the lens is 28mm and the 8010 is equipped with an image stabiliser. The screen size remains unchanged at 2.7 inches, although the whole back panel has been given a bit of a facelift.

In terms of strength, this camera is rated as crushproof to 100kg and waterproof to 10m. Dropping it from anything up to 2m shouldn't damage the camera and it's also freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius. Given how heavy this camera feels in the hand, we're glad it is resistant to lots of bumps and scratches. The metal rivets, and the industrial finish, all further the tough credentials of this camera. In this field, the Olympus only really has one direct competitor, and that's the Lumix FT2, which matches the 8010 in most areas apart from crushproofing.

The 8010 comes supplied with a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, but the charging configuration is a little tricky. As it's a "tough" camera, most critical components are protected in some way from the elements; the lens is covered with a retracting metal flap, and the memory card and battery door can be locked with a metal mechanism and a plastic one. So to get to the battery it's necessary to open the door and stick the charging cable into the side of the camera — there's also the option for USB charging from a computer. There too underneath the flap is an HDMI-out port. On board is 2GB of internal memory, of which, 200MB is taken up for the iB software and user manual. The iB software is supposed to automatically run when the camera is connected to a computer; however, we couldn't get the software to work, or find it anywhere in the file structure of the camera. If you encounter the same issue, the software can be re-downloaded from the Olympus website when you provide the camera's serial number.

Olympus Tough 8010

The HDMI port, battery, memory card slot, USB interface port and cable are all hidden underneath the double-lockable flap. (Credit: CBSi)

Another new addition we're happy to see is the streamlined new menu system and graphics. As for scene modes, expect the standard program and automatic modes, plus "beauty" mode to smooth skin tones, panorama and magic mode that puts different effects (Pop Art, pinhole, fish-eye and drawing) on the final image.

As with all waterproof cameras, there are stringent guidelines that need to be followed in order to maintain its waterproof features, all of which are documented in a booklet provided in the box. (The instructions can also be found online here.)

Compared to

Olympus 8010 vs. Panasonic FT2
Olympus Tough 8010 Panasonic Lumix FT2
14 megapixels 14 megapixels
2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD
Waterproof to 10m, crushproof to 100kg, drop proof from 2m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius Waterproof to 10m, drop proof from 2m, freeze proof to -10 degrees Celsius
HD video (720p, MPEG-4) AVCHD Lite HD video (720p)
AU$499 AU$599

Performance

Tough cameras are slow by their nature, and the 8010 definitely confirms this again and again. It takes 4.5 seconds for the camera to start up and take its first shot. Shutter lag is a leisurely 0.9 second in adequate light, which makes this camera less than ideal for critical action-based shots.

Shot-to-shot time is also very slow, averaging out at four seconds when the camera is set on continuous shooting mode. Olympus rates the battery for the 8010 to last up to 240 shots, without video.

Image quality

As with the other Olympus tough cameras, image quality is only just acceptable for a compact. It's difficult to be too critical of its images though, given that the main purpose for buying this camera is to be tough, rugged and to withstand the elements.

Images at low ISO levels appear over-processed at full magnification. At high ISO levels everything looks crunchy and very smeary; ISO 1600 is unusable except for web use at a reduced magnification.

Colours are reasonably accurate, if a little washed out, and as would be expected, underwater images are tinged with a fair amount of blue cast on automatic settings. Images taken indoor with flash are usually washed out or blown out. The art filters (of which there are only four, noticeably missing out on the black-and-white filter) are good, as usual.

Strangely, in Program mode, you can't select the highest quality JPEG processing for a 14-megapixel image — only for 8-megapixel images and below. Even more strange is that in automatic mode, the fine JPEG mode is available, and works.

Video quality is average, with blocky artefacts appearing on fast-moving subjects (see the video below) though the sound is reasonably good from the microphone.

Image samples

Click each image below for JPEGs straight from the Olympus 8010. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.

Exposure: 1/50, f/5, ISO 160

Exposure: Pop Art mode, 1/125, f/5.3, ISO 125

Exposure: 1/125, f/5.9, ISO 80

Exposure: 1/125, f/14, ISO 125

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The Tough 8010 is an improvement on the older Tough 8000 camera, and is the strongest compact that money can buy. Still, its slow performance means you will miss critical action shots so do bear this in mind, and image quality is average.

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astrid_lilly
6
Rating
 

"Great for people who want a real tough camera, not so good for people looking for great image and video quality."

astrid_lilly posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Menu is nice and accessible. Great for underwater. Drops but doesn't break.

The Bad:Can't shoot video in creative modes. Lock and side dial is hard and not easy to tell whether locked or not. Image quality is poor. Video quality is atrocious, tbh.

Don't buy this camera if you are pro but want a compact. The image quality is disappointing and there is a whirry sound in the background when you shoot. Aside from that, its great for underwater shooting if you aren't worried about quality and its real tough. I've dropped it numerous times. But the dial and lock on the side is very fiddly and sometimes you think you've locked it, but you really haven't. It's done me justice for the.. 4 years I've had it, but its starting to slow down in shutter speed and what not.

 

Kyles posted a comment   

The Good:Price

The Bad:Everything else

We are onto our SECOND Olympus Tough, the first we had not even a day and took it in a swimming pool and it didn't work. The second we had for 2 weeks took it to the ocean and it ceased as well. Our previous Olympus underwater basic point and shoot was amazing, we bought this one on the basis that it would be a fantastic camera. I do not recommend it.
Positive though Olympus has been very helpful and are willing to give us a refund. Not so helpful is the outlet store we bought the camera.. they lack customer service.

Sorry olympus this is a really bad camera

1trick
10
Rating
 

1trick posted a review   

sounds like a alot of nuffys have bought this hpone lol.

 

delux3 posted a comment   

Update the firmware to v 1.1 via the Olympus website and it'll improve the overall speed of the camera

will never have another one
2
Rating
 

will never have another one posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:everthing

I have had my camera back to Olympus several times and they finally replaced it with the new model. I hate everything about it - especially the fact that this one also doesn't work. Crush proof NOT.. It gets sand in the mechanism and it stopped working. Will never get another Olympus Camera. You have lost me forever!

xsspress
1
Rating
 

xsspress posted a review   

The Good:N/A

The Bad:Incredibly slow to boot up - you will want to smash it

Pros: I am blinded by the white light of cons.

Cons: Incredibly slow to boot up - you will want to smash it
So complicated that you need to refer to the instructions if something weird appears on the screen like grids
Stupidly no charging station for a back up battery to be charging on.

Summary: Every time you turn the camera on you will have to endure a blue screen with the Olympus Logo which lasts for as long as whatever it is you are trying to shoot. I have owned many cameras but never have I experienced this sort of delay. It is incredible that a camera can take so long to boot up, with all the advances in chip processing speed and technology in general. On Xmas day after missing shot after shot of kids doing this and that I decided I could not possibly live with this camera one more day and I had it crushed in a vice and then smashed with a hammer. I would upload the pics if it was possible.

The menu tree is diabolical and so when I found the screen showing a grid pattern there was no way to remove it despite covering every concievable branch of the menu. Turning the camera off and removing the battery wouldnt remove this grid. I have never found this degree of complexity and lack of intuitive design in a camera. It was the final straw.

Despite being assured by the retailer that the camera came with a charging station for the battery and I wouldnt have to connect the camera to mains power to charge the battery, IT DID NOT. So if your battery is flat you cant swap it for another that has been left to charge because stupidly the battery charges in the camera. I have since found that this is an 'optional extra'.

 

latexkat posted a reply   

sounds like reading the manual first before using the camera would have been the best option..
you can change the start up screen/or turn it off, if its like the 8000 simply pushing the disp button cycles the camera through the display modes and gets rid of the "grid"..verry siimple...

 

1trick posted a reply   

lol i have serveral batterys an charging stations for those batterys previous model has the battery charging station lol.


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User Reviews / Comments  Olympus Mju Tough 8010

  • astrid_lilly

    astrid_lilly

    Rating6

    "Don't buy this camera if you are pro but want a compact. The image quality is disappointing and there is a whirry sound in the background when you shoot. Aside from that, its great for underwater s..."

  • Kyles

    Kyles

    "We are onto our SECOND Olympus Tough, the first we had not even a day and took it in a swimming pool and it didn't work. The second we had for 2 weeks took it to the ocean and it ceased as well. Ou..."

  • 1trick

    1trick

    Rating10

    "sounds like a alot of nuffys have bought this hpone lol."

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