How tough IS the Olympus Stylus Tough-8010?
When my new bride and I prepared to leave for our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico I thought twice about bringing my usual point-and-shoot camera. I wasn't sure it would withstand the elements of sand, salt water and baggage handlers. Enter the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010.
This camera's waterproof down to 10 meters (about 33 feet, for the non-metric among us), freeze proof (not an issue for Cabo in June), drop proof (a good thing in case of sunscreen-related slippage or shifting of baggage in the overhead compartment), and dust proof (I figured sand is dust in a larger form). According to the specs, the Olympus would stand up nicely to whatever I was going to throw at it. I added a 4GB SDHC card, charged the camera battery the evening before the trip and was ready to go.
Like many cameras nowadays, the 8010 did not come with a manual in hard-copy. I think that was a good thing, because like many in my gender, I don't read manuals unless I absolutely have to. I found the controls to be intuitive, the menu to be self explanatory, and the camera has an info-system that takes you to a good description of features and functions anyhow.
I wanted to take the 8010 through as many steps as I think any vacationer might. First up was a panoramic photo. The Olympus had a fairly simple interface for panoramic shots. Essentially you take three photos. Each one after the first provides you with a guide from the previous picture to line things up nicely (click on the images to enlarge):
It was time to give the Tough the "environment" test. Cheryl and I took a water taxi to Lover's Beach, off the main shore. Our boatmen tossed bits of tortilla overboard and the fish came like we were ringing the dinner bell at the Ponderosa. I reached over the side of the boat with the camera, stuck it about a foot down and held the shutter. Here are some of the resulting photos:
The trip out to the beach was lovely, and like all boats, the water taxi bobs up and down quite a bit. You would think this would make for some rather unsteady shooting. Well, the Tough did a fine job. I got some nice shots of pelicans and a sea lion who sunned himself on the very tip of Land's End:
A rather iconic image from Cabo San Lucas is a natural arch that goes between the Gulf of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. Like most tourists, I ignored the fact that there are thousands of pictures like this and took my own:
The boat left us off near Lover's Beach:
I'm sure that this beach got its name during a more isolated period, but it is still quieter and more secluded than beaches lined with resorts. We were interested in looking at the amazing rock formations on a brief walk to the Pacific side. I was amazed at the level of detail captured by the 8010, though I knew it has a resolution of 14MB:
Like a lot of people, I have always carted around both a video and a still camera. I didn't want to do that this time. The Tough-8010 has the ability to take high-definition video with a resolution of 720p. I took this clip on the Pacific side at what is called "Divorce Beach" (though my wife and I renamed it "Happily Ever After Beach"):
We returned to the resort, parked ourselves on the lounge chairs for some rest and refreshment:
The beach was lovely. Not at all crowded like Brighton Beach in Brooklyn (my home town), but still plenty active:
The last challenge I wanted to give the Olympus was low-light shooting. Here is sunset in Cabo:
We had a favorite restaurant on the beach and they frequently had Fire Dancers come by to entertain:
I thought the Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 passed each challenge very well. I think it's a terrific camera to take on vacation. Now, Cabo San Lucas IS a beautiful place, but the loveliest site there was the one I brought with me, Cheryl: