Olympus Mju Tough 6010 Review
As its name suggests, the Olympus Mju Tough 6010 is the latest shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof compact camera on the block. Freezeproof to -10 degrees Celsius, waterproof to 3m and shockproof against drops of up to 1.5m, the Olympus 6010 can survive almost everything that daily life subjects it to. In addition the 12 megapixel Mju 6010 features a 3.6x wide zoom lens (28-102mm) with Dual Image Stabilisation to prevent unwanted blurry shots, a 2.7 inch LCD screen, Intelligent Auto Mode for novices, built-in Magic Filters to spice up yourt photos, and the innovative Tap Control mode that allows you to control the camera even when wearing gloves. The Olympus Mju Tough 6010 is available in Titanium Grey, Turquoise Blue and Lava Red for £299.
Ease of Use
It can indeed be 'tough' to make your product stand out in an ever-crowded compact market, especially given that sales have gradually slowed now interest has shifted to affordable DSLRs and fancy new hybrid cameras. So, not only does the boxy, protective rubber o-ring sealed Olympus Mju Tough 6010 work hard to catch the attention of the casual observer by being freezeproof to -10°C, drop proof from heights of up to 1.5 metres, plus shockproof to JIS 6 standard, it also adds in-camera digital effects in the form of Magic Filters. These are basically a junior version of the Art Filters found on E-series DSLRs and Digital Pens.
Here we get the colour saturation boosting Pop Art, the corner darkening Pinhole camera, charcoal pencil-like Sketch and 180° Fisheye options selectable via the cartoon-ish icons that pop up with a press of the menu button on the Mju's backplate. As we found with the Mju 7010, reviewed last year, results vary and, though the temptation is to do otherwise, the filters are best deployed sparingly.
For a suggested price a penny shy of £300, the splash it, dunk it, drop it Mju Tough 6010 does battle with the similarly priced and equally all-weather Canon PowerShot D10 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-T1 (the latter not freezeproof), plus the less expensive Pentax Optio WS80 and Fujifilm Finepix Z33WP (both waterproofed only). So, Magic Filters aside, is there any additional weapon with which to definitively blitz the competition?
Not from a quick glance down the spec sheet. Underneath the meaty exterior there lurks a fairly conventional compact: 12 megapixel effective resolution, internally folded/stacked 3.6x optical zoom commencing at a wide angle 28mm equivalent and running up to 102mm at the telephoto end, plus movie clips at a standard resolution 640x480 pixels, when for the price we'd hoped for High Def video (perhaps something for the inevitable next generation model). Close focusing is down to 2cm, courtesy of a 'Super Macro' mode, which isn't bad given the camera's otherwise entry-level specification. Also modest is a light sensitivity range stretching from ISO64 to ISO1600 with all points in between.
Squirreled away within the set up menu options is however the ability to implement the use of Tap control and so forgo use of the small, plastic-y buttons on the Mju's backplate - otherwise impossible to use when wearing gloves and equally fiddly with wet fingers. As it sounds, tap the 2.7-inch, 230k-dot resolution screen to, for example, play back captured images, or either side of the camera to scroll back and forth through them.
Aside from the tumble-ready toddler proof qualities, which suggest the Mju Tough 6010 as a family holiday friendly option, we also get the promise of AF tracking, advanced face detection for up to 16 subjects, 19 scene modes (including mainly portrait biased and underwater options, plus the useful snow/beach setting), along with Olympus' own exposure enhancing shadow adjustment technology and a beauty mode located on the rear mounted halfpenny sized mode dial. Like Samsung's variation, this smoothes (or rather blurs) skin tones free of obvious blemishes. More predictable perhaps is that the camera is available in a choice of three finishes: grey, red or blue. We had the middle option in to test, garish enough that you won't lose it easily in the snow. Luckily during our test period we also had two bouts of the crunchy white stuff in the UK, so were able to get out and test it in conditions it was arguably made for, with suitable seasonal images to match.
Relatively lightweight still at 149g without card and battery, the Mju Tough 6010 slips easily into trouser or jacket pocket. Whilst that makes it portable and unobtrusive when taking to the ski slopes or indulging in a spot of snorkeling, there's little on the camera to enable a firm grip when shooting handheld except for a very narrow sliver of rubber in a semi circular arc at the front.
This means that, despite Olympus' promise of dual image stabilisation, both mechanical and digital, a higher than usual percentage of our shots turned out soft due to camera shake. Left on iAuto setting the camera is unduly keen to fire the flash, even when there is plenty of natural light available.
Whilst still more attractive than the pug-like D10 from D10, from the front the 6010 otherwise looks fairly utilitarian, partly because the full extent of the zoom - usually the most vulnerable part of a camera when dropped - is stored safely within the body of the camera at all times. Otherwise, its faceplate features an indicator for self-timer inset alongside built-in flash, top left of which is a pin prick indicating a microphone for accompanying movie mode.
The lens features top right, with sliding metal lens cover as an extra protective layer when the camera is inactive. Once again, as with flat fronted cameras from Olympus' competitors, the positioning of the optics means that fingertips can occasionally stray into frame when gripping the camera in both hands for a steadier shot. Likewise the middle finger of the right hand can drift in front of the flash while your forefinger hovers over the shutter release button on the top plate.
Also inset on the bolted-on raised top plate is the on/off button. Press this and the camera powers up from cold in just over two seconds, lens cover automatically retracting and rear LCD blinking into life with a musical chime (unless in-camera sounds have previously been disabled). Shooting settings are controlled and selected with subsequent twists of the familiar halfpenny sized mode wheel sitting just under a narrow rocker switch for the zoom top right of the backplate. This dial contains settings for iAuto, program Auto, 19 scene modes, separate beauty mode, video plus playback. There's also an additional playback button below right of the wheel, letting users quickly review shots without necessarily dipping out of capture mode to do so, making the instance of the review option on the mode wheel feel quite superfluous. The zoom switch is fast and responsive, gliding from maximum wide-angle to extreme telephoto setting in just under two seconds, sound-tracked by a quietly unobtrusive mechanical whine. Unfortunately the zoom is inoperable when the recording of video clips has commenced.
Otherwise user friendliness extends to a quick determining of focus and exposure, central AF point illuminating in green and a beep of affirmation letting the user know it's OK to go on and take the shot. Do just that and a maximum resolution JPEG file is committed to memory in around three seconds while the screen momentarily freezes - unspectacular but acceptable.
As Panasonic and Olympus have a development partnership, the latter here includes the former's intelligent auto functionality, as previously mentioned. This works in the exact same way as its rivals: point the camera at a given scene or subject, whereupon said scene will be quickly analysed and relevant scene mode selected to provide optimal results. This helps further ensure that the Mju 6010's operation is literally point and shoot; useful when you want to be concentrating on snow-plough technique or avoiding dive-bombing kids in the hotel pool rather than fiddling around with controls.
It's a shame then that the rest of the controls at the rear, whether actual metal or not, appear small and plastic-y, like a novelty item from a Christmas cracker. As press of the aforementioned 'menu' provides an instant overview of the camera's key settings, and includes the ability with a couple of further button presses to tweak image quality, key camera settings, access the set up menu, Magic Filters, panorama shooting aid, reset all previously selected options, plus deactivate the camera sounds so it runs silently (the nagging bleeping when you've run out of memory space being the loudest and most irritating sound effect). The menu's cartoon-ish icons are welcoming, unthreatening and enable the user to spot at a glance the option they are looking for rather than having to wade through text heavy screens. Operation then is almost child's play.
The other controls on the backplate include a paddle-shaped rocker switch top right of the screen for adjusting the camera's zoom. Press this and the framing will glide from maximum wide-angle to extreme telephoto setting in just under two seconds, sound-tracked by an unobtrusive yet present mechanical whine.
Beneath the menu and playback buttons is a cross keys control pad with an OK/function button at its centre. At 12 o'clock on the pad is a means of manually adjusting exposure compensation (a choice of +/- 2EV) with, as when utilising the Magic Filters, thumbnail images on screen helpfully providing a neat visual representation of the effect incremental changes will have.
|Memory Card Slot||Battery Compartment|
At three o'clock we get a means of selecting from the camera's modest flash modes (when not in iAuto mode): auto flash, red eye removal, fill-in or off. Also modest is that the self timer control that follows at 6 o'clock on the dial can merely be set to on or off, while last but by no means least at nine o'clock we have a choice of macro or super macro settings - the latter allowing the user to get as close in as 2cm. These standard-ised features are identical to those found on the non-Tough Mju 7010.
The final buttons below the cross keys on the Mju Tough 6010's backplate are for adjustment of the LCD display and/or image deletion. Press 'display' when in program auto mode and on-screen info disappears to provide a 'clean' view of your subject, press again and a nine zone compositional grid pops up; press a third time and unexpectedly (at this level) a real time histogram appears to enable the user to check exposure is even across the image.
Press the same button when in playback mode and shooting info captured at the time your shot was taken is instead displayed. Alternatively, when in capture mode pressing the same button permanently illuminates the self-timer lamp at the camera's front to act as an aid for the camera's auto focus - a manually activated AF assist lamp if you like.
While that's it for the camera's backplate, the right hand side of the 6010 (if seen from the back) features a chunky catch that flips open the water-tight door protecting a joint USB 2.0, power and AV out port in the absence of any HDMI connectivity. Beneath this sits an eyelet for attaching a wrist strap and underneath again, we find the camera's built-in speaker.
With a modest 45MB internal memory to get users started out of the box, the Mju's images are optionally saved to the less well-travelled xD-Picture Card, for which a protected slot at the base is provided next to one for the lithium ion battery. Battery life is claimed to be good for up to 250 shots from a single charge, but we started to get a battery low indicator at around half that amount.
With the 6010's operation being otherwise generally efficient if unremarkable, can the resultant images add pep and desirability? Read on to find out…
All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.
As we've noted with Olympus images in the past, left on the camera's fully auto default settings results can look distinctly flat - especially so with white-d out wintry skies prompting the camera to underexpose the shot. So it's apt that the 6010 has its 'magic filters' on board to boost contrast and saturation and add a bit of definition to what are rather uninspiring results straight out of the camera. That said we then found ourselves toning down the severity of the effects in Photoshop - particularly the at times garish Pop Art.
Another grumble: as we've found with other Olympus compacts when shooting at 28mm wide-angle setting, again on the 6010 there is some noticeable loss of focus towards the edges of the frame. The camera is also overly enthusiast in its automatic use of flash when, for practically any competing compact, there would be more than enough ambient light available. If you disable the flash, which we did, you then get into the situation that, when handheld at maximum telephoto, every second shot is soft. So you'll want to take a few images to get one you're happy with.
In terms of ISO, along with its erratic handling of white balance (never the high point of an Olympus' compact's performance), noise starts to intrude from as low as ISO 400, which is disappointing. At ISO 800, levels of image deterioration are akin to what closest point and shoot rivals display at ISO 1600; results at that top setting on the Olympus aptly resembling a blizzard. So, in summary, although this camera is supposedly an auto everything point and shoot - the best results are to be had with some careful judgement and selection at the point of capture and then a little image editing after the fact.
There are 6 ISO settings available on the Olympus Mju Tough 6010. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.
ISO 64 (100% Crop)
ISO 100 (100% Crop)
ISO 200 (100% Crop)
ISO 400 (100% Crop)
ISO 800 (100% Crop)
ISO 1600 (100% Crop)
Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately you can't change the in-camera sharpening level.
Original (100% Crop)
Sharpened (100% Crop)
The Olympus Mju Tough 6010 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.
Example 1 (100% Crop)
The Olympus Mju Tough 6010 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.
The flash settings on the Olympus Mju Tough 6010 are Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.
Off - Wide Angle (28mm)
Fill-in - Wide Angle (28mm)
Off - Telephoto (102mm)
Fill-in - Telephoto (102mm)
And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Auto/Red-eye Reduction settings caused any red-eye.
|Fill-in (100% Crop)|
Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)
The Olympus Mju Tough 6010's maximum shutter speed is 4 seconds in the Night scene mode, which is not great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 4 seconds at ISO 200.
This is a selection of sample images from the Olympus Mju Tough 6010 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.
Sample Movie & Video
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera / Lens Opened
Rear of the Camera
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed
Top of the Camera
Bottom of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Side of the Camera
Memory Card Slot
Front of the Camera
Front of the Camera
Rear of the Camera
So, if you're in the market for an all weather camera you can basically mistreat and not have to worry unduly about the consequences, should you buy the Olympus Mju Tough 6010 over strengthened rivals from the other big names?
In its favour the Tough 6010 is one of the better looking options out there when compared to Canon's similarly featured, all singing all dancing D10 - even if for us the Canon takes marginally better pictures - but expensive compared to Pentax WS80 if all you want is waterproofing. We prefer the overall look and feel of Panasonic's toughened FT1, which only fails to match the Mju on its lack of freezeproofing.
As we've found with recent generations of the Mju series, certainly performance at ISO 400 and above is a let down - as are the rather cool, slightly washed out results delivered when shooting on the camera's standard default settings. On the plus side the Mju Tough 6010 is for the most part responsive and intuitive to use, and shouldn't tax its target audience of happy snappers, harassed families wanting a destruction proof compact for the annual holiday, plus more adventurous types such as snowboarders, divers and all weather photographers. All for whom, fortunately for Olympus, overall image quality may well come second in importance to being able to capture any image at all.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||3.5|
Reviews of the Olympus Mju Tough 6010 from around the web.
The Olympus mju Tough range, and previously the mju SW range, is a series of digital compact cameras designed for outdoor use in extreme conditions. They are all waterproof, and recent models are also shock proof and cold resistant. I have most recently reviewed the flagship mju Tough 8000, a massively tough camera able to withstand submersion to 10m, crushing force of 100kg, drops from 2m and freezing to -10 degrees centigrade. It's an impressive bit of kit, but with the best will in the world you could never describe it as particularly attractive, so today I'm taking a look at its more stylish stablemate, the mju Tough-6010.
Read the full review »
Most underwater compacts have to use internal 'folded' lenses, so it's unwise to expect stellar image quality. Even so, the Olympus mju Tough-6010's pictures are rather disappointing. It's still a stylish and relatively cheap go-anywhere camera, though.
Read the full review »
The new mju Tough-6010 shares many of its features with the mju Tough-8000, launched earlier this year, including its sensor, lens and monitor. However the mju 6010 has a stylish new plastic body, a lot more attractive than the rather industrial-looking 8000. It's not quite as tough, but it is still waterproof to a depth of 3m, can survive drops from 1.5m and temperatures down to -10° centigrade.
Read the full review »
|Effective pixels||12 Megapixels|
|Filter array||Primary colour filter (RGB)|
|Full resolution||12.7 Megapixels|
|Type||1/2.33 '' CCD sensor|
|Optical zoom||3.6 x (WIDE)|
|Focal length||5.0 - 18.2 mm|
|Focal length (equiv. 35mm)||28 - 102 mm|
|Structure||10 lenses / 8 groups|
|Aspherical glass elements||4|
|Maximum aperture||3.5 - 5.1|
|Enlargement factor||5 x / 18 x combined with optical zoom|
|Monitor size||6.9 cm / 2.7 ''|
|LCD type||HyperCrystal III LCD|
|Brightness adjustment||+/- 2 levels|
|LCD backlight boost||Yes|
|Method||TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection|
|Face Detection AF||Yes|
|Standard mode||0.5m - ∞ (wide) / 0.5m - ∞ (tele)|
|Makro mode||0.1m - ∞ (wide) / 0.3m - ∞ (tele)|
|Super Macro mode||Closest focusing distance: 2 cm|
|Histogram in shooting mode||Yes|
|Modes||ESP light metering, Spot metering|
|Shutter speed||1/4 - 1/2000 s / < 4 s (Night scene)|
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2 EV / 1/3 steps|
|Enhancement function||Image Stabilisation Mode
Shadow Adjustment Technology
Advanced Face Detection Technology
|Modes||i-Auto, Programme automatic, Beauty, Scene Modes, Movie|
|Number of scene modes||19|
|Modes||Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2, Underwater Macro, Pre-Capturing Movie, Snow|
|Auto||AUTO / High AUTO Automatically selected|
|Manual||ISO 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|AUTO WB system||Yes|
|Preset values||Overcast, Sunlight, Tungsten, Flourescent 1, Flourescent 2, Flourescent 3|
|Working range (wide)||0.1 - 4.0 m (ISO 800)|
|Working range (tele)||0.3 - 2.7 m (ISO 800)|
|Modes||AUTO, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off|
|Sequential shooting mode (high speed)||5.0 fps / 11 frames (in 3MP mode)|
|Sequential shooting mode||1.0 fps / 21 frames|
|Image Stabilisation Mode||Digital Image Stabilisation|
|Black & White||Yes|
|Attach a calendar||Yes|
|Correction of saturation||Yes|
|Index||Yes 4, 9, 16, 25 frames|
|Zoom||Yes 1.1 - 10 x|
|Image protect mode||Yes|
|Histogram in playback mode||Yes|
|Frame by frame||Yes|
|Still Image Recording|
|Movie Recording System|
|Recording format||AVI Motion JPEG®|
|Sound recording||Yes , format: WAV|
|Movie quality||640 x 480 / 30 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity (10s with 30fps when xD standard type is used)
640 x 480 / 15 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity
320 x 240 / 30 fps Recording time: Up to card capacity
Note: maximum file size 2GB
|Recording format||Wave format|
|Recording length||4 s|
|Internal memory||45 MB for image data|
|12M||3968 x 2976|
|5M||2560 x 1920|
|3M||2048 x 1536|
|2M||1600 x 1200|
|1M||1280 x 960|
|VGA||640 x 480|
|16:9||1920 x 1080|
|Menu languages in camera||39 languages (Japanese, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (BR + PT), German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese,Thai, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, Persian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Malay, Vietnamese)|
|DC input||Yes (CB-MA3 required)|
|Combined A/V & USB output||Yes|
|USB 2.0 High Speed||Yes|
|Mechanical Image Stabilizer||Yes|
|Shock resistant||Shock-proof from heights of up to 1.5m *|
|Waterproof||Waterproof up to a water pressure equivalent to 3m depth **|
|Freezeproof||Freezeproof up to -10°C ***|
|Advanced Face Detection Technology||Yes|
|Perfect Shot Preview||Yes|
|Self timer||12 s|
* Equivalent to MIL Standard (Olympus test conditions)
** According to IEC standard publication 529 IPX8
*** According to Olympus test conditions
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||95.3 x 63.4 x 22.4 mm|
|Weight||149 g (without battery and card)|