Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 – Waterproof Shockproof Camera
Sum and Substance:
Rugged body, good feature set, wide angle lens, has tap interface.
Photo quality is not great, performance is slow.
Inside the Trunk:
Utilities and drivers, Olympus Master. Accessories include microSD to XD adapter, handstrap. Included cables are A/V cable and USB cord.
The Whiz Kid Speaks:
Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 is a 12 mega pixels camera, light sensitivity options include ISO auto, ISO 1600, ISO 800, ISO 400, ISO 200, ISO 100, ISO 50, has 5x digital zoom, shooting programs include night scene with portrait, under water snapshot, Underwater wide 1&2, Under water macro, self-portrait, portrait mode, sports mode, night scene, beach/snow, landscape, fireworks, documents, cuisine, sunset, indoor, candle, beauty, snow. There are just two special effects of black & white and sepia. Maximum shutter speed is 1/2000 second, minimum shutter speed is 4 seconds.
White balance presets include Fluorescent light (warm white), Fluorescent light (cool white), Fluorescent light (daylight), Tungsten light, Sunlight, Overcast. Videos are stored in MJPEG and AVI format, images are stored in JPEG format. Video capture resolution options are AVI – 320 x 240, AVI – 640 x 480. Image storage resolution options are JPEG 640 x 480, JPEG 1280 x 960, JPEG 1600 x 1200, JPEG 1920 x 1080, JPEG 2048 x 1536, JPEG 2560 x 1920, JPEG 3968 x 2976.
Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 has zoom lens – 5 mm – 18.2 mm – F/3.5-5.1, lens aperture is F/3.5-5.1, minimum focus range is 19.7 inches, macro focus range is 2 cm, focal length is 5 mm – 18.2 mm, macro focus range is 2 cm, minimum focus range is 19.7 inches, lens aperture if F/3.5/5.1, optical zoom is 3.6x,
Additional features include Automatic Pixel Mapping (APM), Shadow Adjustment Technology, Digital image stabilization, Display brightness control, RGB primary color filter, Dual image stabilization, Built-in LED illuminator, Digital noise reduction, Digital image rotation, USB 2.0 compatibility, In-camera red-eye fix, YouTube capture mode, PRINT Image Matching, Saturation control, PictBridge support, Built-in manometer, Resizing an image, Histogram display, Cropping an image, Built-in speaker, Water resistant, Shock resistant, Audio recording, Face detection, Direct print, DPOF support, Tap control, Freezeproof, Crushproof.
The Tough 8000 has a 2.7 inch TFT LCD color display. Connectors on the camera include composite video/audio output and a USB port.
This is not your normal delicate camera, it has protection all around it because has a shock proof and water proof body. You get three choices for colors, black blue and silver. The body, though rugged is prone to a lot of scratches. You may not like it if you prefer you gadgets as good as new all the time.
We thought the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 was the most durable camera we have ever come across in our test centers. It has a strong metal body which can survive falls from up to 6.6 feet and is crushproof up to 220 pounds of weight. This is not all, the camera is water proof, can survive in up to 33 feet of water and is freeze proof up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. All this is really impressive; you can use this camera for shooting and also give it to your baby to play around with. But as with most shockproof, waterproof cameras, the performance is not as good as what other cameras have to offer. This is for people who want a rugged camera and are willing to compromise on quality.
The menus of the camera are easy to understand and if you are a veteran camera user, it won’t take you long to master the device. The buttons are easy to press even with the thick gloves put on.
The screen has a touch screen interface but if you are somewhere in cold environments, you will probably be wearing gloves which make it difficult to use the touch screen. Olympus gives you a tap control which lets you use basic control just by tapping the device on the sides, back or top.
The Tough 8000 also has a dual image stabilization, which is standard for a camera of this class, but still is a nice feature to have. There is a LED between the lens and the flash, you can use it to light up your subject or as a flash light.
The camera although constructed well, has a design flaw. The lens is a bit recessed in to the body and you will have to wipe it thoroughly for sand particles and water before you shut down the device because if you don’t, the protector will get stuck.
The Tough 8000 doesn’t have all the shooting options that you find in a high end camera, but it does have the necessary ones. The Intelligent Auto mode is there for people who don’t want to be bothered by too much fuss about the settings. The camera detects the environments and automatically sets itself for best photo quality. The Program AE mode gives you choices for exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, metering and focus.
You get a preview of what the photo is going to look like on the screen of the camera. It is called live multi frame preview. You can also check out the results for various exposure compensation from the preview. If you are an advanced user, there are 19 scene modes to choose from. There are is no preshot color effects on the device, but you can change the photos to sepia or black and white and play with the saturation in the Edit mode.
The camera accepts xD cards which have a limit of 2 GB. For more space there is bundled adapter for user with microSDHC/microSD cards. The camera also has a movie mode and the highest achievable resolution is 640×480 at 30 fps. If you are using a M-type xD card you cannot record more than 10 seconds.
The camera’s performance is a bit slow but that is common in such rugged cameras. Slow performance won’t matter much to you if you are shooting slow moving or still subjects like lazy fish, flowers, portraits, landscape, etc. In bright conditions, the shutter lag is 0.7 second and 0.8 second in low light environments. It is a slower than what compact cameras are capable of delivering, but the continuous shooting speed is on par with 1.1 fps. Shot-to-shot times are extremely slow, 5 seconds with the flash on and 2.5 seconds without it. The Tough 8000 takes 1.8 seconds to wake up and start shooting.
Photo quality is good but will start degrading pretty quickly when you move away from the fastest shutter speed. The quality dips after ISO 200 which is really disappointing so stay use ISO 64 or ISO 100 for best performance photos. The camera is poor in sharpness and cannot compete with other product even at the lowest of ISOs. The details start getting fuzzy and soft after ISO 400. Do not go beyond 400 if you want to take small prints or use pictures on the web. At ISO 1600 the picture have big blue/purple blotches of color on it and which makes this device a poor choice for dim-light pictures without flash.
Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 is the camera you are looking for if you want a rugged device with good shooting outdoors. Be wary of its shortcomings though, it has mediocre photo quality which starts to dip from ISO 200 itself and a slow performance. If durability is important for you and are willing to compromise on quality, get this camera.