The top of the Stylus Tough-6000 is shown in Figure 4. In this Figure you can see the small round on/off button and the larger rectangular shutter button. One great feature of this camera is that there is a distinct tactile difference between a half press and a full press of the shutter. So you can easily tell when you have locked in the autofocus with a half press and are ready to commit to taking the shot by pressing down fully.

Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 Digital Camera ReviewFigure 4: The top of the Stylus Tough-6000.

All of the other camera controls are on the back of the camera to the right of the screen, as shown in Figure 5. At the top is the zoom control.  The camera has a 3.6x optical zoom and a 5x digital zoom.

Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 Digital Camera ReviewFigure 5: The controls.

Under that is the mode dial and below that is a cross-shaped control pad. The upper portion of the cross controls the exposure compensation. The right position controls the flash, the bottom sets the self-timer, and the left controls the macro mode.  The center button is marked OK/Func. It confirms the choices. Around the cross-control are four buttons marked Menu, Play, a button marked OR/ trash, and a button marked Disp. The Display button toggles between different display information including a histogram.  The OR button will erase in the playback mode, and otherwise can perform a shadow adjustment, and put the camera in panorama, multi window mode, or tap mode (more on the tap mode in the next section).

The mode dial has six settings: Photo, auto, play back, scene, movie, and beauty. Each function is pretty self-explanatory except for the beauty mode. This is a special mode that finds the person’s face and smoothes out the skin. Although it sounds good, we were disappointed in the results. If you are dealing with photographing someone with teenage acne, you will still be using a computer for retouching.

The scene mode has 20 settings including indoor, candle, self portrait, sunset, fireworks, cuisine, documents, beach & snow, smile shot, underwater snapshot, underwater wide 1, underwater wide2, underwater macro, pre-capture movie, snow, portrait, landscape, night scene, night & portrait, and sport. Once you turn the mode dial to SCN, you can scroll through the choices by using cross-control.  As you scroll through each of these, the camera tells you the best use for each right on the screen.

Movie mode takes AVI movie with sound at 640×480 or 320×240 at 30/15 frames per second. Optical zoom is not available in movie mode. If you plan on taking movies indoors, you will need some good lighting as the movies tended to be dark. Also the camera comes with the default video resolution and frame rate of QVGA at 15 FPS. You can take much better videos if you reset that to VGA at 30 FPS.

As shown, it Figure 6, this camera, like many others, is very icon based. If you have used other digital cameras, you may be familiar with the typical flower that is used for the macro mode or the icons that are used for the flash modes, but you may not recognize other icons like the hand shown in Figure 6 that represents the image stabilization. While the 85-page instruction manual that comes with the camera explains the camera use, we found no concise explanation of the icons, which would be a nice addition to the documentation.

Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 Digital Camera ReviewFigure 6: Icons on the screen.

The right side of the camera, shown in Figure 7, has a small door that opens to reveal the USB/AV port. The USB cable for hooking the camera up to the computer is included, as is the AV cable for showing your pictures on a television. Like the rest of the camera, the door is very sturdy and snaps shut. Just to the right of the USB door is the microphone.

Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 Digital Camera ReviewFigure 7: The right side of the Tough Stuff.


Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.