The main difference between the Tough-6000 and Tough-6010 seems to be the switch from a 10-megapixel sensor to a 12-megapixel one, plus the addition of a small selection of 'magic filters', to create 'pop art', 'pin hole', 'sketch' and (appropriately enough) 'fish eye' effects. Otherwise, you get the same combination of smart and chunky styling, a choice of bright colours and a handy 3.6x wideangle optical zoom.
Waterproofing is measured as a depth rating. Pressure increases with depth, so the deeper the camera can go, the better. The Tough-6010 goes down to 3m, which should be alright for casual snorkelling, but not wreck diving. For anything deeper, you'll need to look at the mju Tough-8000, which can go down to 10m, or a dedicated underwater camera or housing system. The Tough-6010 will prove rather slippery underwater, so you'd be well-advised to use the wrist strap or a neck cord.
The Tough-6010's resistance to water isn't its only strength. It's shockproof from a height of 1.5m and freezeproof to -10C°. Clearly, you're not going to drop the camera on purpose, but it's reassuring to know that you don't have to wrap it in cotton wool.
The Tough-6010 is handy above water too. It's not much chunkier than the average super-slim camera, and it's no harder to use, so it's an ideal holiday snapper. The buttons have a slightly heavy feel to them, but they still work well, and it's easy to make routine adjustments to the white balance, flash, ISO and so on using the directional controllers and on-screen 'Func' menu.
Ineffective megapixel boost
But the move from 10 megapixels to 12 hasn't particularly done the Tough-6010 any favours. Image detail is alright as long as you keep the ISO low and don't expect too much near the edges of the frame, where the detail can get quite hazy.
There are some irritations in the controls and options, too. For some reason, Olympus has decided we need thumbnail representations of different exposure-compensation amounts, instead of a simple sliding scale. The thumbnails don't tell you anything visually, and you still have to look for a label in the bottom corner to find the adjustment you want. Also, if you want to apply negative compensation, you have to click left onto another screen.
Like every other camera maker, Olympus offers an automatic scene-detection mode, but it can only pick from the five most commonly used, not the whole list.
The Olympus mju Tough-6010 lives up to its name. It looks good, and it sits at the bottom end of the price range for this kind of camera. But its image quality is only so-so, and, if you buy it, you may always have the nagging feeling that you should have laid down a few extra tenners for the much tougher mju Tough-8000.
Edited by Charles Kloet