Olympus has been known for some time to focus a line of range finder (PnS) cameras dedicated to rugged/rough environments. The new Olympus Tough 8000 is one of the latest in its Tough Series.
The only other point-and-shoot camera I can think of that has almost the same features as the Olympus Tough 8000 is the Canon Powershot D10 we saw back in March.
The Tough 8000 looks practically like your regular PnS camera only that it is housed in a solid stainless steel case all around with additional screws to re-enforce the solid construction. As such, you can sit or step on this camera without worry of breaking it apart (can support 100 kilos of pressure). That, and you can actually drop it over a height of two meters (6.6 feet) and will still work fine.
The battery compartment, card slot and USB ports are sealed tight with a plastic and metal latch coupled with rubber padding to keep water out. That way, you can bring this camera to the beach and take shots underwater up to a depth of 10 meters or 33 feet.
A couple of weeks back, Olympus reps brought us to a Subic Bay trip for a media challenge using the Mju Tough 8000. Using the camera, we shot our trip over at the Tree Top Adventure Park and the Ocean Adventure. Here are some of the sample photos we took during that trip.
The lens has a 3.6x optical zoom, 288mm wide (5.0-18.2mm, f/1:3.5-5.1) and has maximum a 12MP resolution.
The Mju Tough 8000 has a built-in photo-stitching feature that allows you to compose a wide panoramic picture using a series of stitched shots, all done but the camera automatically. Unfortunately, our camera ran out of juice halfway the challenge so we had to borrow units from the other teams to complete the other shots (underwater with the dolphins).
We were able to do some drop test and bathtub test before the event, just to make sure it worked as claimed. Here are some of the short clips I uploaded on YouTube.
Was also able to borrow a review unit later so I did a lengthier underwater video to show the recording quality. This is just a shot from inside our aquarium at home with a yellow lamp for lighting. The video is only VGA resolution at 640×480 pixels but still takes some pretty decent footages.
The camera can also withstand cold temperatures so if you’re shooting in cold or icy weather (down to negative 10), it will still work. The only way we can simulate that is by dunking the camera in a bucket of ice or putting it inside the freezer. Only problem is the fog accumulating outside the lens that blurs all your shots.
The Li-Ion battery is rated at 925mAh and could get easily drained within half a day on heavy use. Storage is via an XD or microSD card (adapter included) that’s also tucked inside the battery compartment.
The Olympus Tough 8000 is not your regular point-and-shoot camera. It’s more like a specialized one for rugged and wet shooting environments — one that you cannot bring your old, trusty PnS. Suggested retail price is around Php25,000 in stores.