'Waterproof' Camera Group Test (Q2 2009)
Olympus Stylus Tough 6000
10.0MP | 28-102mm (3.6X) ZOOM | Waterproof 3m/10ft | $270/£200
Olympus has been successfully selling waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof cameras for over three years, and the 'Tough' branding (which is a little more immediate than the old 'SW' naming) has now gone global and actually appears on the camera body (previously having been used only in marketing materials in certain parts of the world). For 2009, there are two models; the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 (mju Tough 6000 in Europe) and big brother the Stylus Tough 8000.
The Tough 6000 has the lower resolution of 10 MP (vs 12) and some slight differences in external looks and build materials, but shares the same user interface and wide zoom range. If you are keen to take the camera underwater, you might want to consider the more expensive big brother, as the Tough 6000 is only waterproof to 3m / 10ft, whereas the 8000 is waterproof to 10m / 33ft. Without the shiny metal finish of the Tough 8000, the tough 6000 is not quite as slippery, though it is also not quite as pretty. The Tough 6000 comes in four colors: Sunset Orange, Arctic blue, Pure white and Lemon Yellow (shown here).
- 10.0 effective Megapixels
- 28-102mm equiv lens with 3.6x optical zoom and up to 5x Digital Zoom
- Waterproof to 3m / 10ft
- Shockproof from 1.5m / 5ft, Freezeproof to -10°C
- VGA video, AVI format
- 2.7-inch LCD with 230,000 dot resolution
- Dual Image Stabilizer
- ISO sensitivity from 50 to 1600
- Shadow Adjustment Technology, In-camera Panorama mode
- 20 Scene modes
- In-camera Image Retouching
- Beauty mode which can also be applied to an image after it has been taken
- Battery life 230 shots (CIPA standard)
Click here to view the original news story and full specifications (opens in new window)
Being the little brother of the Tough 8000 the Tough 6000 is cheaper and lighter, while retaining pretty much the same dimensions as the more expensive camera. Design wise the Tough 6000 forgoes the shiny metal style of the Tough 8000 for a more subdued matt finish. This has the benefit of being more secure to hold, not requiring as much cleaning to remove figure prints and being less prone to scratching. Both Olympus cameras are designed to withstand knocks, and indeed they are the only two cameras in the group test to feature retractable lens covers. The slim and compact dimensions means that the Tough 6000 should easily fit into coat and shirt pockets.
Features wise the Tough 6000 is on a par with other cameras in the group except the W60, meaning it is not quite as well featured as the latest non-waterproof compact cameras. The internal zoom lens extends from (a rather useful) 28mm at the wide end to 102mm at the telephoto end (3.6x). There is dual image stabilization (CCD-shift and ISO boost) built in. Internally there is a 10 MP sensor which has a ISO sensitivity range from 50-1600, and offers video recording at VGA (640x480) resolution at 30 fps. The camera also features a 'beauty mode', which detects faces and blurs details in the face for smoother skin. This can be applied either when recording an image, or during playback mode to a shot you have already taken.
One of the strangest control features we have seen in a while is tap control, which allows users to tap the sides of the camera and use the whole body as a controller. It is a feature we almost immediately turned off, as it would constantly operate when we were trying to select items in the menu or just generally operating the camera. The Tough 6000 features a mode dial on the back, which gives access to the movie recording mode and scene modes, and also features a playback position. Fortunately there is also a separate playback button which can be used in recording modes, allowing the Tough 6000 to function largely as a shooting priority camera.
The user interface is icon driven to begin with, but once you drill down you get back to more conventional text menus. Some items are not very logically organized, so the menu system can take some time to get used to. Thankfully Olympus has included a function menu to allow you to access the most used shooting functions without digging through the main menus, as well as a dedicated exposure compensation button and a button labeled 'OR' which allows you to access the panorama feature, the shadow adjustment settings and the tap control functions.
Our main complaint with what is one of the better featured cameras in the group is that it still uses xD cards for storage, and while SD and SDHC cards are now available in 32 GB capacities at reasonable prices, high capacity xD cards are still difficult to find. Olympus includes a micro SD to xD card adaptor with the camera, but this is a half-way house solution to the need to drop xD altogether, something we suspect can't be too far away.
Image quality and performance
The Olympus Tough 6000 was operationally one of the slowest cameras in the group test. It took 1.6 seconds to acquire focus in our test (the worst in the group), though the lens took only 1.3 seconds to zoom from the widest to the most telephoto setting which (along with the Tough 8000) ranks as best in group. The Tough 6000 took 3.0 seconds to turn on (partly due to the time taken to move the lens protector out of the way), and the 2.8 seconds to write a file out to card is the slowest of all (no doubt due to the fact that it uses xD cards). One other thing to note is that the flash on the Tough 6000 took a long time to recharge before it was ready to take another shot, especially when underwater.
Taking a closer look at the output of the Tough 6000 revealed that, while it is not on par with the D10 or the W60, it is marginally better than the Tough 8000 and Z33 at producing sharp and detailed images. In good light there is noticeable noise in the shadows and up close the images look more blurry than those out of the D10 or the W60. Exposure was generally good, with not many clipped highlights visible, and Olympus provides the option of a live histogram to judge exposure. The exposure compensation function also allows you get a simulated view of what any adjustment will look like. Auto white balance and color reproduction were all quite good in good light, and at smaller magnifications on screen the images looked just fine.
Both the Tough 6000 and Tough 8000 produced similar flash results that used quite a bit more flash than the other cameras and resulted in an image that lacked much of the ambient light mood, and looked obviously flashed. At higher ISO settings the noise reduction on the Tough 6000 took a more subtle approach compared to some other cameras, and while noise and noise reduction artifacts are visible, there is also more detail in the image than the D10 at ISO 1600. Up to ISO 400 the Tough 6000 actually puts in a good performance almost equaling the W60, but like all cameras in this group, noise and detail retained quickly gets worse as ISO settings rise.
The underwater performance of the Tough 6000 correlated well with its out of water performance. It was quite usable, but there are better (and worse) cameras to use in the water. The slow flash recycling times represent the major problem during underwater use, as it sometimes took 6-8 seconds to recharge.
If you somehow fall in love with the package that is offered by the Olympus Tough series of cameras, then the 6000 is the one to consider over the 8000. The Tough 6000 has essentially the same features as the 8000 but with a lower resolution sensor, it has better image quality overall - which falls into the middle of the pack in the group as a whole. But if you want a compact camera that can also be used underwater with a wide lens that starts at 28mm, then the Pentax W60 is a better choice than the Tough 6000.
- We like: Compact design, reliable colors, metering and white balance, wide angle zoom lens that starts at 28mm, robust shockproof design, good user interface with all shooting functions easy to access.
- We don't like: One of the slowest cameras in the group operationally, slow flash recycle times, image sharpness and detail not the best in group, tap interface, uses xD cards.
Jul 22, 2009
Feb 18, 2009
Dec 20, 2011
Dec 15, 2011
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
I own it
I want it
I had it
|Hook Head Lighthouse by kroker|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Green turtle in the shallows by gcachon|
Canon went and put an APS-C sensor in a G series compact. The result is a mighty tempting camera for travel.
Google Photos is adding a few pet-friendly features that will make it easier to find photos of your favorite pooch. Now, you can organize your pet photos by facial recognition, and you can even search your library by breed.
Colorful tripod maker MeFOTO has launched a new tripod... and a whole new brand name. Meet the GlobeTrotter travel video tripod, the first product to be released under the MeVIDEO brand.
If you own a Moto Z, you'll soon be able to attach a Polaroid instant printer to it. Check out the unreleased Moto Mod, which was leaked earlier today.
DJI has developed a technology called AeroScope that allows law enforcement to identify and track airborne drones that are breaking UAV regulations, while simultaneously addressing privacy concerns.
The Nikon D850 is a 45.7MP full-frame DSLR with an autofocus system lifted wholesale from the pro-sports focused D5. 4K capture, continuous shooting at 7 or 9 frames per second make it sound like the ultimate all rounder. Is it all that these specs suggest?
The Mate 10's Kirin 970 chipset with integrated AI processing allows for object recognition, motion detection and automatic scene selection in the camera app.
DxO has announced version 3.0 of the iOS app for its 'One' connected camera. It adds support for multi-camera Facebook Live broadcasting and both time-lapse still and video capture. Android users will be pleased to hear that a One for their platform is on the way, as well. Several new accessories are available, including a battery pack.
Canon has introduced the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, which borrows the 24MP APS-C sensor and Dual Pixel AF system from the company's recent mirrorless and DSLR cameras, adds a 24-72mm equiv., F2.8-5.6 lens and puts them into a lightweight body – but it'll cost you quite a bit.
It's not often that we see a genuinely interesting compact camera, and the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one such beast. We've pulled out the top features of the camera and tell you why they matter – and put the Mark III up against the competition.
Apple's HDR effect in the iPhone 8 Plus is on by default and more aggressive than in previous generations. It's also good enough to convince DPR contributor Jeff Carlson to leave it on all the time.
Canon's 28mm F2.8 IS USM may be small in size, but it's big on fun. We wrote about our experience using it as our only lens in Big Sur, California, but in case you missed out on our full gallery, take a look to see what this little lens can do.
Travel photographer Elia Locardi tells the story behind this gorgeous (and rare) panorama of the Dubai cityscape draped in fog.
Bison, drift cars, horseback riders, antelope – from the beach to the race track, the Sony 100-400mm G Master is one versatile piece of kit.
"Wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park is an incredible opportunity, yet some bad photographers are giving all photographers a bad name by not following the rules."
Casio's bionic-looking new action camera, the GZE-1, is built with extreme sports in mind. The little camera is drop-proof, freeze-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof to 50 meters.
Yashica recently released the digiFilm Y35: a camera that tries to simulate the "experience" of shooting film... and it's just the worst.
Western Digital has revealed some interesting new technology that, it claims, will allow them to develop 40TB hard drives by the year 2025.
Photographer Micael Widell wanted to see just how affordable it could possibly be to get into digital photography—so he bought a full DSLR kit with battery grip and 50mm lens on eBay for just $80.
Confused about DxOMark's scoring system? This straightforward video by Marques Brownlee breaks down how DxO gets its scores, and why you should always look beyond that "overall" number.
It's not exactly a revolutionary device, but the iPhone 8 Plus does promise some evolutionary updates in the camera department. DPR contributor Jeff Carlson has been putting the 8 Plus to the test in some everyday shooting situations – take a look at how it fared.
This week in Hollywood, DJI introduced its new Zenmuse X7 camera, a Super 35 format cinema camera of its own design that can also capture 24MP still images in APS-C format. Is it time to start thinking of DJI as a camera company?
Landscape and astrophotographer Asif Islam shot a series of timelapses starting in Los Angeles and getting farther and farther away, showing how the Milky Way emerges as the light pollution fades.
Ultraviolet photography is something that relatively few photographers explore, but it’s a fascinating realm to explore with less of an investment in equipment than most people think.
After almost fifteen years of nearly buying one, Barney recently found a working Canon PowerShot G5 in his local thrift shop. It must be Throwback Thursday.
DJI has launched the Zenmuse X7, a Raw video capable Super 35 camera module. The camera/gimbal system which mounts to the company's drones features a new, proprietary lens mount.
Windowed is a free app that lets you upload photos to Instagram straight from your Mac or PC—no tablet, smartphone, or complicated workaround required.
Nikon has published a list lenses that it deems worthy of its newest DSLR: the 45.7MP Nikon D850.
The Nikon D850 isn't the first camera to hit triple digits on DxOMark; in fact, the Pentax 645Z was listed at 101 all the way back in 2015. So why was the full review never published? DxOMark explained earlier today.
Due to 'slower-than-expected development of the VR market,' Nokia has decided to pull the plug on its $25K Ozo VR camera while it restructures the company and sheds as many as 310 jobs.