Olympus Tough 6020 review

Full review: Shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof digital camera

Image 1 of 3 Olympus Tough 6020 back
Olympus Tough 6020 back
Image 2 of 3 Olympus Tough 6020 front
Olympus Tough 6020 front
Image 3 of 3 Olympus Tough 6020 top
Olympus Tough 6020 top

Some sluggishness, but this is a perfect outdoor camera

Olympus has always been a lead in the rugged take-anywhere compact market and the Olympus Tough 6020 is it's latest tough offering. Essentially an update of the Tough-6010, we find out if it's 'ard enough...

Ironically, we dropped the Olympus Tough 6020 while out taking review pictures. Luckily this tough cookie is shockproof to two metres, and indeed it was absolutely fine after its fall. It's also waterproof to10 meters and freezeproof to -10 degrees. The build is about as rugged as they come, so it's super tough and ultra practical, with slightly large 96.7 x 64.4 x 25.8mm dimensions.


More on Olympus
Olympus E-PL1 review
Olympus E-P2 review


The Tough 6020 isn't pretty, in fact it's quite ugly, but chic looks aren't what this compact is about, it's designed to work in extreme conditions and Olympus has done a good job. We were impressed that we could still operate the Olympus Tough 6020 normally while wearing using gloves and that Tap control (whereby you tap the screen to activate commands), which works better than ever, makes this even easier.

Olympus Tough 6020: Features

Although the Olympus Tough 6020 doesn't give you a wealth of creative possibilities, as it's essentially a 14-megapixel point-and-shoot camera, the feature set is still impressive. The 5x optical zoom is versatile and good quality, image stabilisation works incredibly well and the 2.7 inch LCD is nice and bright and remains visible in bright sunlight. As well as a range of scene modes, there's Beauty Mode and Magic Filters which give fun effects including Pin Hole and Pop Art. We're impressed by the Photo Surfing feature which makes viewing pictures a real pleasure – tag by face, place or event and then surf.

HD video quality is impressive and we like the dedicated movie button on the back of the Olympus M Tough-6020, but it's let down by the sound: fuzzy noise is evident, even when the scene is silent.

Olympus Tough 6020: Ease of use

The Olympus M Tough-6020's menu system is new and incredibly easy to operate. Quick and easy to operate, settings are adjusted using a side-bar menu via the D-pad, where you change your shooting settings, including ISO and flash mode.

Our main complaint with using the Olympus Tough 6020 is that it's a very sluggish offering: start up is slow and so is the autofocus: 4 seconds shot-to-shot can get frustrating, especially if you like to rattle pictures off. A real shame, as this really lets the camera down.

The Olympus Tough 6020 produces very pleasing images, which are sharp, detailed and punchy. If we're being picky, the camera leans towards overexposure and you will get some blown highlights, but the dynamic range is better than your average 14MP compact. Noise is handled very well, and even pictures taken on the High ISO setting are perfectly usable. All in all we're impressed; if you’re looking for an all-weather compact to take to the beach or skiing this is worth a look.

The Olympus Tough 6020 is out now, find out more from Olympus

Sensor: 14 Megapixels
Lens: 5x optical zoom (28-140mm)
Screen : 2.7-inch 230,000 dots
Viewfinder: LCD
Stabilsation: Dual Image Stabilisation (combination of mechanical and digital image stabilisation)
Video: HD movies at 1280 x 720 resolution at 30fps
Storage: 2GB internal memory and SD card slot
Connections: AV/USB/HDMI
Battery life: 300 shots
Weight/size: 97 x 64 x 26 mm, 178g