Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot
  • 14-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • 2.7-Inch HyperCrystal III LCD Screen
  • 5x Optical zoom lens: 28-140mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Waterproof - 33 ft.
  • Freezeproof - 14°F
  • Crushproof - 220lbs
  • Shockproof - 6.6ft.
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Artistic Filters
  • 720p HD video capture
  • Anti-Glare Screen coating
  • 2GB internal memory
  • SD/SDHC memory card compatible
  • New sturdier Lock on battery door

  • iAuto shooting mode
  • Great Overall Image Quality
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button
  • Versatile 5x optical zoom lens
  • "Tough" construction
  • New simple menus
  • Bright 2.7-inch HyperCrystal III LCD with anti-glare coating
  • Huge internal memory
  • Optional RC external flash operation
  • Slow Camera Performance
  • Noise in dark areas of image
  • Weak Built-In flash
  • Slow Face Detection
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 4.1 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = approx. 2 /10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 7/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 4.34 (Internal) seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 4.88 (Internal) seconds
  • Sequential burst = 0.17fps
  • Sequential burst High Speed = 2.2fps (3-Megapixel
Bottom Line
The new Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 is still the perfect camera for the adventurous person. Featuring a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 5x optical zoom lens and 720p HD video capture, it has all of the features of a top digicam with but with the versatility to let you live your life.
Pick This Up If...
You are an adventurous person looking for a camera that is capable of keeping up with you no matter what situation or adventure you find yourself in.
Heading up the 2010 "Tough" line from Olympus is the Stylus Tough 8010, which updates the 8000 released last year. While it retains the same "Tough" qualities as the Tough 8000, the Tough 8010 features a dedicated Video Record button, 2GB internal memory, an upgraded 14-Megapixel imaging sensor and a 5x optical zoom. They have also added a lock to the battery/memory card door, giving the user some extra confidence in knowing the camera will remain water tight at all times.

The camera's "Tough" features include being Waterproof to depths of 33ft, Shockproof from falls of up to 6.6ft, Crushproof from weights up to 220 pounds and Freezeproof in temperatures as low as 14°F. Allowing the camera to remain waterproof is a rubber gasket around the base of the compartment door. The new lock feature makes it much harder to accidentally open the battery compartment, keeping the camera safe. These features allow the camera to be used just about anywhere, at any time.

Operating the Stylus 8010 is fairly easy with one hand, allowing you to zoom, record videos and press the shutter release with no problems. Shooting with two hands allows you to operate all of the menus settings of the camera without any difficulty. The camera also features Tap Control, which allows you to change settings like the flash and shadow adjust simply by tapping on the top, sides or back of the camera. This is perfect for situations when you may have trouble pressing or recognizing buttons on the camera. Framing and viewing your images is accomplished on the 2.7-inch, 230,000 dot HyperCrystal III LCD screen. This bright screen features an anti-glare coating which not only allows you to see it easily in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight, but it also makes it easier to see underwater.

Performance from the Stylus 8010 is disappointing as it has taken a big step backwards from its predecessor no matter if you are using the internal memory or a SD card. Taking 4.1 seconds to capture its first image after being turn on, it is almost a full second slower. When the camera is pre-focused, the shutter lag is approx. 2/10 of a second and approx. 7/10 of a second when allowing the autofocus to work. Its shot-to-shot delay is also much slower at 4.34 seconds between shots, or if you are using the flash 4.88 seconds. Switching the camera to normal continuous allows it to shoot with a frame rate of just 0.17fps, which is not much faster that the single shot mode. HI Speed continuous allows you to capture 10 images in just 4.5 seconds, for a frame rate of 2.2fps, but these are only 3-Megapixel images. Our tests were completed using the camera's internal memory and also tested with an ADATA 16GB Class 6 SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults. All times may vary depending on lighting, camera settings, media, etc.

Our outdoor image samples show that the camera produces a great exposure with bright, realistic colors that provide you with excellent overall image quality. In the darker areas of the image you can see a little noise and some chromatic aberrations in high contrast areas when viewing the image at 100%. The Stylus Tough 8010's 5x optical zoom gives the camera more versatility than its predecessor's 3.6x optical zoom. This zoom allows for excellent landscape and group portrait images at the 28mm wide end, while the 140mm telephoto end is great for singling out an individual and assisting you in composing your images. It is not enough, however, to get you a great distance closer to a distant subject.

Looking closely at our indoor sample images, we can see that even at ISO 100, there is some noise present within the image, enough to soften some of the fine edges and blur the threads of the flag. While you will not notice this when printing images 8x10 or smaller, if you plan on printing larger images, this will start to show. The noise within the images will slowly increase as the sensitivity increases, and at ISO 1600 the amount of noise in the image is no longer acceptable. Assisting with your low-light indoor and underwater images, Olympus has built-in a small flash unit, which can be very helpful in close shooting situations. As it is not very powerful, you will want to stay as close to your subject as possible while using the flash, especially underwater, as light does not travel near as far. The Stylus 8010 also has the ability to operate an optional RC wireless flash as well. This will greatly extend the flash range, allowing you to capture images from a much greater distance.

While using the camera in Portrait mode, our sample images turned out very well. The face detection software works well once the camera is able to detect faces within the frame. This can be a problem if your subject is not directly facing the camera or if it is moving. The noise within our sample images helps to soften the skin, which is a bonus, but it also takes away some of the details of the image. Red-eye reduction worked very well in all of the sample images, keeping the eyes completely clear.

Shooting video with the Stylus Tough 8010 is easier than ever thanks to the new dedicated Video Record button. This allows the camera to be ready to record 720p HD video with sound with just one push of the Record button. You will want to make sure that you use the shutter release to focus before you start shooting, as the camera will start to record when the button is pressed, whether it is in focus or not. The video quality is descent for a compact camera, with the noise in the image being a combination of less than perfect lighting and video compression. Audio is recorded on the camera's built-in mono microphone. This mic is very sensitive, picking up all sounds that surround the camera. You may not notice many of the background noises while recording, but you will hear them when playing back your movies. To help avoid this, try to stay away from air conditioners, furnaces and out of the wind.

Powering the Tough 8010 is a 3.7V, 925mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. During our tests we were able to capture 150 images and videos while completing our tests without the threat of the battery dying. Based on CIPA tests, Olympus claims that the battery is capable of capturing approx. 300 images on a single charge. While this is a descent battery life, we recommend having a second battery charged and on hand, especially if you will be taking a longer trip. If you plan on a day in the pool or diving, you will want to make sure that you have a full charge before you go.

Bottom Line - Olympus's new Stylus Tough 8010 is a go anywhere compact digicam, designed to be tough enough for even the most adventurous person. Featuring a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, 720p HD video capture and the full list of "Tough" features, this camera will always be ready for any situation you find yourself in. Although the performance has slowed compared to the previous model, the image quality is good and the addition of a 5x optical zoom and a dedicated Video Record button really add to the camera's versatility. With a MSRP of US $399.99, this is one of just a few waterproof models on the market. You may also want to check out the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 or the Panasonic Lumix TS1, both with similar features and price.

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