Olympus’s armour-plated compact might be the toughest camera we’ve seen. But can it match the performance of Panasonic’s FT2?
Cameras don’t come much tougher than this. Thanks to its sealed suit of armour, the Olympus Tough 8010 is able to shrug off a two-metre drop onto hard ground, 100kg of pressure, -10 degree temperatures and dunkings of up to 10 metres in water.
That makes it ideal for both adventurous, sporty types and holidaymakers. The USB port, battery, SD slot and mini-HDMI output are protected by a door, which is fully sealed against dust and water. The seals and waterproofing mean you can take the 8010 to the beach or into the hotel swimming pool without having to worry about the elements messing up its innards.
The door also comes with a sturdy lock, which means it won’t spring open if the camera slips out of your mitts onto a hard surface.
This toughness comes at a price: the 8010 is a lot heavier and chunkier than the average compact snapper, so you won’t be slipping this one carelessly in your trouser pocket as you embark on a night out.
The Olympus’s hardnut status doesn’t detract from its techy impressiveness, however: there’s 2GB of built-in storage as well as 720p HD video.
The latter is par for the course for a decent point-and-shoot these days, but the former is more remarkable: those 2GB of storage mean you don’t really need an SD card inside, unless you’re planning on snapping hundreds of shots and capturing mountains of HD video footage.
Photo and video quality is fine, if fairly unremarkable. You expect a 14MP to deliver the goods when it comes to detail, but the 8010 does enough and nothing more – the JPEGs and videos it turns out are acceptably sharp and clean in the right conditions, and the fact you can get usable stills and footage underwater is definitely a plus.
Usability isn’t as well honed as the Panasonic FT2 (another ruggedised 14MP compact). Zoom is taken care of by two buttons rather than a rocker, and there’s no dial for quick-mode switching. That has to be done via the onscreen menu, which doesn’t lend itself to swiftness as much as we’d like.
To its credit, Olympus has included some basic touch controls – or rather ‘tap controls’. You can change basic settings by tapping the top, front, back or sides of the camera, but you have to give the body a fair old whack to get a response.
All in all, the Olympus 8010 might be one of the toughest compact cameras ever to trundle off the production line – but we prefer the Panasonic FT2 for its superior picture quality and usability.
Olympus Tough 8010 review
A seriously tough compact cookie, but lacks the usability and picture performance of Panasonic’s rugged FT2
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