The Tough has two continuous shooting modes: one is faster, but drops the image resolution to 3mp. Still, it's great for catching fleeting moments: in our tests the averaged 5.5 frames per second. Sadly, the full-resolution continuous mode is barely worthy of the name - we averaged considerably less than a frame per second, which is well below the performance we'd expect of a £300 compact.

The 2.7-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD is a gem. Olympus claims it will resist scratches better than most, and it's true that by the time we'd finished torturing the 6010 the screen was bearing up better than the body

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Plus, the screen is bright and sharp: it's easy to see in bright daylight, and there are a number of display options. You can go for absolutely no clutter, or a mode which sees a grid imposed on the preview to assist with composition. There's also a useful live histogram to help you gauge how your image will be exposed.

The Tough has a unique tap mode. Turn it on and you can forget about using the buttons. Instead, double-tapping on the top of the camera is equivalent to pushing the OK button. Tapping on the right of the body activates the flash menu, while the left hand side controls macro mode.

You can tap the screen to run through your images, although a slightly odd omission is the ability to take pictures by tapping. Still, the shutter release button is a practical size, and Olympus claims the tap features are for those testing out the Tough's claimed ability to withstand temperatures of as low as -10°C while wearing gloves.

Practically-speaking we didn't find ourselves using it as anything more than a party gimmick, and since the only functions you can access are image review, macro and flash modes (not, for instance, exposure compensation or ISO settings), the tapping mode is likely to be swiftly forgotten. It certainly isn't as easy to control as a decent touchscreen.

olympus mju tough 6010

The menu system is occasionally frustrating. It's a shame, as reviewing your images is very fast, suggesting a wealth of processing power within the 6010's sturdy frame.

But moving between items on the menu is sluggish, with a definite delay between hitting OK and the next screen appearing. For those happy to pop it on fully-auto it's not so much of a problem, but with six white balance settings and six standard ISO settings the 6010 is a decent camera for tinkerers - or it would be, if the menus were a little more intuitive.

Image quality might be beyond reproach, but the Tough's menu system gets nowhere near the likes of Canon's for ease of use. It's also a little inconsistent: sometimes pressing Menu will return you to the previous screen. Other times you're dumped back to the image preview.

As we've come to expect from compact cameras there are modes galore. Select Scene on the dial on the back, for instance, and you get no fewer than 19 different modes, including four underwater modes and both 'Snow' and 'Beach and Snow' modes.

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The dial also has a Beauty mode, which claims to clear skin, add sparkle to eyes and, worryingly, 'enlarges the subject's eyes'. Concerns we had about looking boggle-eyed were misplaced, though. In use, the Beauty mode takes two pictures, one unprocessed.

The second, to our eyes, looked softer than the first, which makes skin look a little smoother. It's certainly nowhere near as effective as a carefully-applied healing brush.

There are also modes that add saturation and an aggressive vignette effect, plus a weird fisheye filter. There's also a sketch mode which converts everything in the frame to lineart, which we'd like a lot more if it didn't take an age to process each image, and have a maximum resolution of just 3mp.

There's some decent software included. There's a paper starter manual in the box, plus the full version as a PDF on CD. You also get Olympus' Master 2 software, which is surprisingly fully-fledged for a bundled application.

If you already have Photoshop Elements you're better off sticking with that, but it's a superb inclusion for those without a full-on editing suite. It can import images straight from the Tough 6010 itself, and allows you to browse by folder.

Alternatively you can create albums. A useful timeline mode lets you flick through your images by day and month.

All the familiar tools are there, including tone curves, brightness adjustment and sharpness. More complex tools, such as vignette correction, are missing, but we appreciate the ability to compare your images side-by-side.

You can also resize and crop your images, and both modes include check-boxes that allow you to lock the aspect ratio of the final image. This is useful for printing your images on standard-sized photo paper. There's also the option to upload your videos to YouTube, although we'd prefer to see integration with a service such as Flickr in an application like this.