For some reason, anytime I have a new trip or project to undertake, I have a need to get a new gadget. Mostly the gadget takes the form of a camera. For instance, when my son was born, I picked up a new camera on the way to the hospital. That is not an exaggeration – it was literally on the way to the hospital. My wife’s water broke in the morning, and while I am driving her to the hospital, I stopped at Best Buy and purchased a new camera while she waited in the car. Somehow she forgave me and we are still married. When my second child was born two years later, she made sure I had purchased a new camera well in advance.
Due to my affliction, my trip to Barrow resulted in the purchase of yet another camera. This time it is the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000. This is a pocket camera that has the unique feature of being waterproof to 33ft, shockproof to 6ft, crushproof to 220 pounds, and freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1448
Now, to be honest, I’ve never crushed, dropped, submerged, or frozen a camera before. But I didn’t want to take any chances that I might on this trip. I also have a whitewater rafting trip coming up, and I would like to be able to take a camera along in the raft, and this camera should allow me to do that. I’ve been using the camera for 2 days now and I must say I like it a lot.
The camera has 12 Megapixels of resolution, which is pretty impressive for a compact pocket camera. But what really impressed me was the fact that the camera can be charged with a USB cable connected to my PC. That’s right – I don’t have to carry a charger with me. The same cable that I can use to transfer files to my laptop can also charge it. AND it is a standard USB cable – the same one my phone uses. So FINALLY I have one cable, and if I lose that cable, I can pick up another one just about anywhere. I have a whole drawer at home full of different cables and chargers for all of the different cameras I have and it seems like I can never find the right cable to match the camera I am using at the time. I think Sony is the worst about using different cables and different chargers for just about every camera they make. The camera also came with a charger if for some reason I don’t want to use my laptop or PC to charge it. Brilliant!
OK, enough ranting about cables. Some of the other unique features:
- You can take 3 pictures of a panoramic scene, and the camera will join them together for you.
- The camera can tell you how far underwater you are, or what your altitude is.
- It has a 3.6x optical zoom, and a 21x digital zoom.
- It has “tap control”. If you turn this on, you can simply tap on the sides of the camera to control the functions of the camera, instead of using the small buttons on the back of the camera. This is helpful if you are underwater, or in the cold with thick gloves on.
- It has a “super-macro” mode that allows you to shoot items as close as 2cm away.
- It can take movies at 30fps at 640×480.
One last thing I like about this camera – it names the pictures based on the date. Not some random number, but the actual date, combined with a sequential number. You can also bring up a calendar on the camera and select a date and see the pictures you took on that date.
As you can tell, I like this camera a lot. I don’t think there is a single thing I don’t like about it so far. So I will probably use it as my primary camera for a while. That is, until I have another big adventure……