The Olympus mju Tough 6000 (Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 in the US) is a shockproof and waterproof compact that won't shock the wallet. The What Digital Camera Olympus mju TOUGH 6000 review sees just how tough a compact it really is...
The Olympus Mju Tough 6000 (Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 in the US) is one in a long line of nigh-on indestructible compacts to face the rigors of everyday life while also attempting to take a decent photo. Much like its predecessors, the Mju Tough 6000 has to carefully balance a small lens, strong casing and controls capable of being pressed under less-than-perfect conditions.
Olympus mju Tough 6000 review – Features
The most significant feature of the Tough 6000 is the drop- and water-proofing, which not only allows for the most clumsy of photographers to snap away without concern, but any sporty-types can catch shots while partaking in various extreme activities. Having an impressive 1.5m of shock proofing and 3m of water proofing means dropping or throwing the camera shouldn’t affect the functionality. After repeated tests on mountain bikes and in puddles the camera still functioned perfectly, and the casing wasn’t unduly damaged by the tests. The added insurance of the sliding lens cover means the camera is fully protected when not powered up, and it’s tricky to accidentally turn the Tough 6000 on without a fair amount of effort. To minimise the amount of contact a gloved-hand would need to make with the small buttons a Tap Control is included – this involves striking the side of the camera to activate certain functions. A fair amount of force is needed, but the likes of turning the flash off or accessing the playback mode come in handy when skiing or mountain biking.
The zoom lens, at 3.6x, isn’t much to write home about, providing just above the bare minimum expected of a compact. With such a small space allotted for the optics, anything further would be detrimental to the image quality. The zoom control isn’t particularly responsive, which is in keeping with the rest of the camera’s outlook, needing a fairly strong press before any reaction is provoked. The fact that the zoom is stepped makes it far easier to determine where each press will leave the lens, and how much is needed for it to achieve the desired focal length.
Olympus mju Tough 6000 review – Image Quality
With the zoom so limited it would be logical to assume that the lens would be fast and accurate to focus. Annoyingly the lens will find a focal point quite rapidly, but often this didn’t mean the focus would be up to pin-point accuracy. The delay between pressing the shutter and the image being taken meant the subject often moved, or an obstruction wandered into the path of the shot causing the image to be ruined. Macro shots were slightly fuzzy around the edges, and even landscape images didn’t possess the absolute pin-sharpness expected from a static subject. The small lens also meant images with varied exposure levels were a bridge too far, showing areas of over-exposure upon even the greyest of skies. The various modes, including the Beauty mode which is curiously given pride of place on the mode dial, do little to massively improve the results, although much like the focus the iAuto setting reacts rapidly to adjust the scene mode to the given surroundings. Colours are reasonable in spite of the lenses shortcomings, and although they lack punch the avoidance of over saturation aids the detail. ISO performance wasn’t fantastic, due to the small lens pushing it beyond it’s means when in less than perfect light.
Olympus mju Tough 6000 review – Verdict
Overall the Olympus Mju Tough 6000 is a means to an end as a compact, as it’s unfair to judge it against those without the shock and water proofing. Instead the Olympus Mju Tough 6000 is decent for a shockproof model, especially at the price, but there are better at both taking images and being protective.