Olympus mju tough 6010

We disliked:

We're not thrilled to see Olympus persevering with the xD card format. xD cards are more expensive per gigabyte than SD cards, and currently top out at 2GB, compared to SDHC's 32GB.

It's not such a problem if all you want to do is take pictures – a 2GB xD card will take roughly 350 shots on the 6010 – but if you're away for a long time or want to shoot a lot of video, you'll need to buy more cards.

The only potential good news is that you can get an xD to microSD adapter. A further knock is the proprietary USB port: lose the cable on holiday and you won't simply be able to connect a mini-USB cable. The Tough's claimed battery life of 250 shots is also a little less than some other compacts.

The Tough's video mode is another potential sticking point. There are plenty of sub-£300 compacts around that record 720p HD video, so merely 640 x 480 is a little disappointing.

The idea of shooting underwater HD video really is tantalising, and it's a shame it's missing. Finally, for all the 6010's Schwarzenegger-like toughness, we'd expect to see a metal tripod-thread, rather than plastic.

More seriously, advanced snappers – the type of people likely to spend £300 on a compact – will be put off by the lack of creative control. There's no shutter or aperture-priority modes, and while there are several white balance modes, you can't set white balance from your own image. There's no concession for those who want to focus manually. This is a true point-and-shoot camera with very few features to pull in serious users.

We liked:

But the fact that the Tough 6010 is waterproof is a huge bonus - most compact cameras don't have optional housings, and when they do it pushes the price beyond the 6010's £300 price.

There's also no doubting the effort Olympus has put in to making the Tough well-built: this is a superb choice if you find yourself in inhospitable places, or simply have a track record of destroying compacts.

Moreover, the 6010 takes great pictures. The quality of our test images is truly impressive, and the high resolution sensor means you'll be able to print them at large sizes with little loss of quality.

It's true that the Tough isn't without its drawbacks, but if you're looking for a camera which takes superb-quality images and will withstand just about anything you can throw at it, consider this £300 well-spent.