Olympus has updated their go-anywhere Stylus Tough line of compact digital cameras with the new Stylus Tough-3000. This new rugged shooter features 720p HD video capability, plus a special "pet mode" that automatically tracks and focuses on Man's best friend. Of course, the Stylus Tough-3000 is also shockproof, waterproof, and freezeproof, with image stabilization and an array of Olympus art filters.

The Stylus Tough-3000 is an incremental update to the Olympus Tough series and while Olympus is hinting that there will be more Tough models announced later this year, most of the new features in the 3000 have appeared in other Olympus models. We already saw the dual-mode image stabilization in the Stylus Tough-6010, and the 12MP sensor, 3.6x wide optical zoom (28-102mm equivalent), and 2.7in. (6.9cm) LCD display are the same also.

The biggest new feature on the Stylus Tough-3000 is its ability to shoot 720p HD (720 by 1280 pixels) at 30fps. Although Olympus has included this feature in other cameras, such as the PEN EP-1 and EP-2, the 3000 is the first Tough model to shoot video. Olympus says the unit will also shoot video in SD (640 by 480).

Olympus designed their Stylus Tough series to appeal not only to extreme athletes -- with its ability to withstand a 5ft (1.5m) drop, immersion up to 10ft (3m), and temperatures down to 14F (-10C) -- but also to appeal to active families. The Stylus Tough-3000 includes face recognition and tracking not only for human subjects, but also for animals using the “pet mode” seen previously in the Stylus-7010.

The Olympus Stylus Tough-3000 at a glance

  • Shockproof to 5ft (1.5m), waterproof to 10ft (3m), and freezeproof to 14F (-10C)
  • 12 megapixel sensor with TruePic III image processor
  • 3.6x wide-angle optical zoom (28-102mm), f3.5-5.0
  • 2.7-inch (6.9cm) LCD
  • Dual image stabilization
  • 1GB built-in memory (632MB for Shooting), accepts SD/SDHC media cards
  • 720p HD movie capture (MPEG-4 AVC / H.264)
  • 3.8 x 2.6 x 0.9in. (9.6 x 6.5 x 2.3cm), 4.4oz (125g)

The Olympus Stylus Tough-3000 will be available four different colors beginning in February 2010, with a list price of US$300. For more details visit getolympus.com.

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