Announced in January 2010 for a February entry into the market, The Olympus Stylus Tough 3000 compact digital becomes the first model in the series to feature a High-Definition (720p) video capability. The camera also packs the lowest MSRP in the Tough family, is waterproof to 10 feet, functional in temperatures down to 14 degrees F and can survive a 5 foot fall.
Our review model came in a snappy blue two-tone color scheme (there are green, pink and red versions available as well), but just as I was about to start grousing over the lack of a detailed user's manual in the box, it turned out that no matter the color of the body, all Tough 3000s are green. Olympus has built in 1 gigabyte of internal memory (632 megabytes of which are available for shooting) and included the manual in-camera in lieu of a paper manual or CD-ROM.
The camera covers the 28 to 102mm focal length range (35mm equivalent) and offers one-button video recording. The metal body seems well-built, a good thing for a camera with submersible and cold weather capabilities.
One question that's already come up is whether the battery will hold on long enough to let you glean anything from the manual. I fully charged our review sample's Li-ion battery before shooting, but after 50 shots (many of them flash) a flashing red battery icon in the upper left of the monitor got my attention.
Olympus recommends recharging the battery when the message reads "battery empty" and this one indicated I had one segment (of three) left, but given that Olympus rates the Tough 3000 for 160 shots per charge power consumption looks to be high on our list of things to monitor closely with this camera.
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