By Josh Fate
Not much has changed with the design of the camera either. It is almost identical in size and weight with just a slight change to the design of the front. It is a very hefty camera that gives you additional confidence in knowing that if it is dropped it will be ok. The camera's controls are identical to those found on any recent Stylus camera. Although the buttons are small, they are spread apart enough so that larger fingers can still press the intended button. The only problem is the mode dial that lies under your thumb. It can easily be turned when trying to shoot with one hand, which can cause you to miss a shot. The new 2.7-inch LCD is very easy to see in almost all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. The only place you will run to trouble is shooting just under the surface of the water on a bright, sunny day, as the screen can become mirror-like, especially if viewed from any type of angle other than direct.Performance from the Tough 8000 is much better than the performance tests from the Tough 6000. The 8000 takes 3.2 seconds to turn on and capture its first image. Shutter lag is hardly noticeable, as it takes the camera less than 1/10 of a second to capture an image when the camera is pre-focused. When allowing the camera to autofocus, it takes between 6/10 and 8/10 of a second, depending on light and distance. One of the major improvements is it's shot to shot capabilities. The 8000 can capture 5 images in 8.4 seconds (0.6fps) vs. the 0.33fps of the 6000 without the flash. With the flash, the 8000 captured 5 images in 17.5 (0.29fps). Most of this time was spent waiting for the flash to recharge. This camera also features two continuous shooting modes. Sequential was able to capture 10 images in 8.7 seconds (1.15fps) without the flash and 10 images in 16.8 seconds (0.6fps) with the flash. The second shooting mode is Hi-Speed continuous, which drops the resolution down to 3-megapixels. When shooting in this mode, we were able to capture 17 images in 3.0 seconds (5.67fps) before the buffer filled. After the buffer fills, the camera quickly saves the images so you can continue shooting right away. All of our tests were completed using an Olympus M+ 1GB xD memory card, Program shooting mode, 12-megapixel Fine quality, ISO Auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc. Image quality from our outdoor image samples shows an image that is well exposed, has bright, realistic colors and a sharp image in the center. A 3.6x (28-102mm) wide optical zoom lens is used for framing your images. The wide end of the zoom is outstanding for shooting vast landscape shots and is also very helpful for indoor shots (like groups); however, there is a noticeable amount of barrel distortion. The telephoto end of the zoom will not get you significantly closer to distant objects, but it is a great for individual portraits and is very helpful for framing and composing your photos. Edge softness is the biggest problem that we have found with the quality. This can be seen in all of our images, indoors and out. Another problem that we noticed outdoors are the aberrations in high contrast areas at the wide end of the zoom range. They can be seen in the Firehouse and Museum shots. Along the curb in the firehouse shot you will see the green glow and in the museum shot there is an orange glow along both edges of the building. Our indoor images also show great exposures (when the camera is capable of a proper exposure) and realistic colors. In normal shooting modes, the camera is limited to ½ second shutter speed, which leaves images dark if there is not an abundant amount of light in the room. This can easily be fixed by raising the ISO and adding the flash. Our M&M man shots all show a little softness throughout the image which gets worse towards the outside. This takes away some of the image detail, such as the text on the magazines and stitching in the flag. At ISO 400 the noise in the image starts to become problematic and is unacceptable at any higher setting. Most of the time shooting indoors, you will be using the built-in flash which offers a range of up to 8.9ft. (telephoto) at ISO 800. To keep your ISO settings lower (for better image quality) you'll want to stay as close as possible to your subjects. Our portrait shots, taken in Portrait Scene Mode, show us a sharp, very well exposed subject with realistic color and skin tones, thanks to
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