Review: Tough By Name, Tough By Nature

We put the new Olympus compact through its paces

Make: Olympus

Model: u Tough-8000

By Charlie Brown

At first glance this little compact seems like any other digital camera that can fit neatly in your pocket, yet there are a couple of nifty features that are well worth looking at – whether they’ll encourage you to hand over your hard-earned cash is another thing altogether.

The Olympus u Tough 8000 is 12 mega pixel camera and has all the usual bells and whistles – can be used as a video camera, has dual image stabilisation, USB and AV cables, a Lithium-Ion battery and a microSD attachment. Operation is pretty simple for a point and click, and I was pretty happy with the quality of picture it takes. Colours were crisp and clear, easily downloadable to the PC – in fact it was super-quick even though the files were reasonably large.

Where it differs slightly is its ability to withstand the harsh rigours of everyday use, especially for those of us that like to throw their gear around. It says on the spec. sheet that the unit can withstand a 2m drop, however the PR agency told us that it was in fact a 3m drop. So I decided to try it out. And sure enough it survived the 3m drop without any noticeable impact on the casing or internal mechanisms. It also says it can survive being immersed in 10m of water. I don’t own a swimming pool or didn’t feel like going to the local beach and diving in that far, but I did put it in a tub full of water for a few minutes and there was no leakage.

Finally, and probably its main selling point, is the unit’s ‘beauty’ mode. This function basically captures your features and gets rid of any unwanted wrinkles or blemishes – think of it as cyber botox. While I wouldn’t buy this unit for that feature alone, it does add an interesting dimension to photography.

Overall, not a bad little unit, and one worth looking into if you are thinking of buying a camera that will withstand rugged environments, while making you look good at the same time.

Pros: Tough; beauty mode; can survive underwater

Cons: A bit pricey

RRP: $599

3.5 Shacks out of 5

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