ISO comparison

Photo quality is overall good to very good, but if you're expecting to make poster-size prints of underwater adventures, this camera's pictures probably won't cut it. Image noise and detail degradation is kept fairly in check up to ISO 400. Colors are natural and pleasing and are at their best at lower ISOs, too; shots were generally evenly exposed as well. At all of the ISO settings, however, photos from the Tough 8010 just aren't sharp. When viewed at larger sizes subject look soft and fuzzy and somewhat painterly. If you don't do heavy cropping or enlarging, ISO 400 and below are good enough for prints up to 10x13 inches. Photos taken at ISO 800 are definitely softer with less detail, but good enough for small prints and Web use. I can't recommend using anything above that sensitivity as color noise starts to hurt quality. At ISO 1,600, you end up with a purple/blue color cast on shots making this camera a poor choice for low-light photos without a flash. Also, white balance is a little too cool under unnatural light. (Click to view larger.)
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET


Colors produced by the Tough 8010 are bright, vibrant, and fairly accurate--at least up to ISO 400. Exposure is very good, too, though common to compact cameras, highlights tend to blow out. White balance in natural light is accurate, but indoors, subjects look cooler.(Click to view larger.)
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET

Lens distortion

Wide-angle lenses typically have some barrel distortion. The Tough 8010's 28mm-equivalent shows slight asymmetrical distortion on the left side (top). There is also a touch of pincushion distortion when the lens is fully extended (bottom). The lens isn't very sharp, but it is consistent from side to side and in the corners. (Click to view larger.)
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET


Fringing in high-contrast areas is average for a point-and-shoot camera. It's really only visible when photos are viewed closely at 100 percent.
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET

Magic Filters

To give you a few more shooting options, Olympus includes a handful of creative art filters it calls Magic in the shooting mode menu. The filters include Pop Art, Fisheye, Pinhole, and Drawing (pictured). They're nice to play with if you have time to shoot, but since there's no option to save a copy without the effect, you probably won't want to use it with anything too important in case you don't like the end result. Also, it would've been nice to have the option to add the effect in Edit on the camera, but you can't.
Photo by: Joshua Goldman/CNET


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