Olympus’ New Tough Cam Saves Face, Breaks Falls

Product: Stylus Tough 8010

Manufacturer: Olympus

Wired Rating: 6

Here at Wired, we can be rough on our cameras. We break them — a lot. So when Olympus updated its Stylus Tough series with the 8010, we knew we had to test its claims of ruggedized prowess.

The tough exterior is built to withstand a 6.6-foot drop, 220 pounds of pressure and 33 feet of water submersion. It lived up to those claims, over and over again. We tossed the shooter from heights often greater than 10 feet, drowned it in the deep end of the pool at the Y and even ran over it with a car a couple of times. The frame sustained minor dings and scratches, but still shot pics just as well as the day it arrived at Wired HQ.

Unfortunately, the overall performance is just mediocre. Topping out at 14 megapixels, we expected photos to have good clarity, excellent color saturation and little noise. Instead we got washed out images (the flash is a bit aggressive) that could sometimes be fuzzier than the keynote at Furry-Con.

And the shutter craaaaawls. We could handle the cam’s 6-second boot-up time, but the 3-second shutter lag between pics is inexcusable.

That said, the 8010 offers a slew of shooting options that add extra dimensions that many rugged cameras lack. HD video is clear and bright, and image stabilization works nicely in even the most over-caffeinated hands. Several rudimentary photo-editing options exist on the camera but are buried in a menu system that needs a redesign.

If you’re looking for a camera that can withstand repeated drops on pavement, immersion in water and close encounters with a set of Michelins, the 8010 is a solid investment. Just don’t expect to squeeze Pulitzer prize-worthy photos from it.

WIRED The Chuck Norris of point-and-shoots — virtually indestructible. More functions than we know what to do with. No casing needed to take pictures under the sea.

TIRED Shutter is prohibitively slow. Photo quality not on par with similar rugged cameras. Menu system needs a serious overhaul.

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