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Olympus mju Tough-8000 review: Olympus mju Tough-8000

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The Good Extremely tough; everyday practicality; easy to use; super macro mode.

The Bad Not the sharpest lens; could prove slippery and fiddly in adverse conditions.

The Bottom Line If you want a camera that can take anything you can throw at it, they don't come any tougher than the Olympus mju Tough-8000. The beauty of it is that it works perfectly well as an everyday pocket compact too. The 8000 looks good and works well -- it's really pretty difficult to find any flaws with it at all

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8.3 Overall

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'Do not handle with care,' states the Olympus Web site. Brilliant. Available for around £260, the mju Tough-8000 is shockproof to 2m, waterproof to 10m, freezeproof to -10°C and crushproof to 100kg. But you still get a 12-megapixel sensor, 3.6x wideangle zoom and image stabilisation. Hell, it even looks good.

They say that, if you're going to do something, you should do it properly. The cheaper mju Tough-6000 is an attractive and tough camera, but the 8000 is the real McCoy. It can be dropped further, dive deeper and survive more punishing treatment. It's also got slightly more resolution, for what that's worth.

You can't expect the same level of image quality from compact non-extending lenses as from the ordinary sort, and the 8000 does go slightly hazy in the corners, but it's not bad. The colour rendition and exposure are great (click image to enlarge)

Despite all its tough-guy credentials, the 8000's also perfectly practical as a day-to-day camera. Like the 6000, the 8000 has a compact, non-extending wideangle zoom -- you could never waterproof the usual sort. While it might be stretching it to call the 8000 a super-slim, it is very compact. There's nothing you can get in an ordinary 12-megapixel compact that you don't get here.

The picture quality's good. The fine detail's not quite as sharp as that of the 8000's best rivals, and the lens goes slightly hazy around the edges, but you've got to be viewing images at 100 per cent magnification on-screen, or turning out A4 prints or larger, to spot it. The colours, white balance and exposure are spot-on, and it's not bad at high ISOs, either. There's plenty of noise, but that's better than the hopeless smudging applied by most other camera makers.

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