Olympus TG-820 Review

Waterproof

12 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 101.4 x 65.2 x 26mm    Weight: 206g

Good Points: Robust features, movie mode, USB battery charging, Eye-Fi memory card compatible, ease of use, shutter response times

Bad Points: Handling


Olympus TG-820 Shutter Lag Rating fast Ease of Use easy Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Olympus TG-820 is a robust digital camera. It is waterproof, drop proof, crush proof and freeze proof. You can use it in some of the most demanding conditions and in places where you would not normally risk using a digital camera. It is relatively safe from harm in the hands of young children and is also straightforward and easy to use in the hands of adults who are new to digital photography.

Key features of the TG-820 include 12 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. Added flexibility comes from its ability to shoot Full High Definition Movies. Picture quality is good and this camera is worth a close look if you are buying a digital camera that can handle the odd bump and bruise.

Compared with other robust digital cameras at this price point the TG-820 has the following:

Plus Points

  • Full High Definition Movies
  • Recharge battery via a USB connection
  • 3D still photography mode
  • Image Stabilisation for movies as well as stills
  • Fast 5 frames per second burst shooting
  • In camera menu and shooting guide
  • Tap control for when you are wearing gloves
  • Compatible with Eye-Fi memory cards to give you Wi-Fi connectivity

Why Buy the Olympus TG-820

Compared with some robust digital cameras the TG-820 is a bit cheaper. As there is not a great deal of difference when it comes to picture quality or features this means you get good value for money.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The TG-820 has 12 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 28 - 140mm in 35mm format.

Memory Cards

You can use either SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. You also have the option of using Eye-Fi memory cards. These give you Wi-Fi connectivity.

Batteries

A lithium ion battery provides power. Olympus supplies a battery and a charger with the camera. One of the advantages of this camera is that the battery can be charged by a USB terminal.

Robust Features

This camera is waterproof to depths of 10m, shockproof to drops of 2m, crushproof to weights of 100kg and can operate in temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade.

Movie Mode

You can shoot Full High Definition movie clips. These have a maximum resolution of 1080p. Olympus have equipped the TG-820 with a type of Image Stabilisation that works to reduce blur in movies as well as in still photos.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.

Shooting Modes

To help the camera identify the type of shot you are about to take, so that it is able to use the optimum settings, Olympus have added a number of scene modes. These are Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Scene with portrait, Sports, Indoor, Candle, Self-portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Cuisine, Documents, Beach and Snow, Underwater Snapshot, Underwater Wide 1, Underwater Wide 2, Underwater Macro, Pet (cat), Pet (dog), Snow, 3D and Backlight HDR.

Macro Mode

If you are looking to take close up shots of small subjects, this camera can focus from 3cm away from your subject.

3D

There is a mode available that allows you to produce 3D photos.

Fast Burst Mode

If you are trying to capture a moving subject there is a high speed burst mode. This is capable of capturing shots at a rate of up to 5 frames per second.

Tap Control

Tap control can come in handy if you are working in cold conditions and you are wearing gloves. A small number of key features can be set up to be changed by tapping the camera.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

There is no longer a great deal of difference when it comes to the picture quality produced by this type of digital camera, at this price point. This camera is able to produce good quality snapshots. Picture quality is at its best when you are using the TG-820 on bright days when there is plenty of light. If you are planning to use the camera indoors be prepared to use flash unless lighting is particularly good.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

One of the plus points in this test shot is the amount of detail the camera is able to show in the lighter areas of the shot. It handles the glare of the sun well. Sharpness is good without quite matching the very best performing cameras in this category.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

In places this test shot looks a little over sharpened by the camera. There is also a touch of purple fringing showing where lighter and darker edges meet.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Pushing the zoom to its limits does add a little bit of haze to the shot. Even so you would have to make very large prints to see it. Focusing remains at an acceptable level as you reach the edges of the shot.

Outdoor Building

The TG-820 does a good job of locking onto the building. The centre of the shot is sharp and although a small amount of sharpness is lost as you move out towards the edges it is not to a level where you are likely to notice in print.

Outdoor Portrait

Moving closer in poses no problems. This is a fairly typical portrait shot. You should be able to take plenty of pleasing portraits of family members and friends.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

The flash unit is not especially powerful, but is still able to push out enough light as long as you are not too distant to your subject. The light is evenly spread and fills in shadows well.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Without flash the TG-820 is capable of producing natural looking portrait shots. For best results the room will need to be well lit, but you should be able to get some impressive window light portraits.

Macro

The TG-820 is capable of taking a decent quality macro snapshot. Focusing of your subject is sharp, with a pleasing falling away of focusing in the background. Colours bring a touch of warmth to the shot.

Colours

There is something about Olympus digital cameras where blue lines can show a purple tinge. That problem is fairly well controlled in this case. Colours have a natural look to them.

Noise

As with more or less any smaller compact digital camera noise will show if you push the ISO setting up to around 800 or if you use this camera in poor light. Compared with other cameras with a similar specification noise levels are no better or no worse. Noise can show up in shady areas of shots, but aside from that you should not see noise showing in photos taken in good lighting.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Olympus TG-820 Rating 83/100

There are a number of robust digital cameras with similar features and general qualities. The Olympus TG-820 is priced a little lower than most of its direct competitors, so if you are looking for a good quality, robust digital camera and you would like to keep a few pounds in your pocket then this camera could well be the one for you.

Read Review: Olympus TG-820 Review

Olympus TG-320 Rating 81/100

The Olympus Tough TG-320 offers quite a lot of features for the price. It is able to cope with most typical snapshot opportunities. It scores well for ease of use. All in all it is a good choice if you are looking for a digital camera with robust features and you would like one with a lower price tag.

Read Review: Olympus TG-320 Review

Panasonic DMC FT20 Rating 81/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FT20 is a mid range robust digital camera. In terms of performance it is mid range too when it comes to picture quality. It is one of those digital cameras that do not stand out from the crowd, but at the same time it is hard to come up with reasons not to buy it. Picture quality is fine for snapshot print sizes.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FT20 Review

Related Pages

Olympus TG-820 Specification

Olympus TG-820 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2012

Verdict

There are a number of robust digital cameras with similar features and general qualities. The Olympus TG-820 is priced a little lower than most of its direct competitors, so if you are looking for a good quality, robust digital camera and you would like to keep a few pounds in your pocket then this camera could well be the one for you.

Ratings

Ease of Use:
Features:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:
Colours:

9
9
8
8
8

Photo Quality:
Style:
Indoors:
Macro:
Value for Money:

Total:

8
8
8
8
9

83

Main Features

Megapixels:
Zoom:
LCD Screen:
Dimensions:
Weight:
Macro:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Batteries:
Memory Cards:

12
5x
3 inches
101.4 x 65.2 x 26mm
206g
3cm
Yes
No
Lithium-ion Rechargeable
SD / SDHC / SDXC

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.23 seconds
6.99 seconds
0.47 seconds
15.07 seconds
2.26 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

Handling is not quite as comfortable as it is with most digital cameras. You may find the camera a little cramped. In fact to create room on the back of the camera for you to place your thumb Olympus have added an extra piece. The placement of the lens unit in the top corner creates a bump on the top of the camera.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit is placed far enough away from your hand position to ensure stray fingers that may block out some light will not be a problem.

LCD Screen Quality

LCD screen quality is good. You should be able to view the screen easily enough unless the sun is shining directly onto it.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

Turn on times and shutter response times were impressive on the whole, although firing off a burst of shots with flash turned on slowed down the camera.

Design and Build Quality

The Olympus Tough models tend to look a little different to a typical digital camera. To start with the lens is in the top corner. The lens is integral (doesn't protrude from the camera body when zoomed), but it is protected by a cover than stands out around the lens. The body is made of metal.

Camera Controls

On the top of the TG-820 are an on / off button, a shutter button and a small lever for zooming in and out. On the back of the camera is a button to record a movie, followed by a button to review images. Underneath this is a circular control section that gives you access to changing the LCD screen display and deleting unwanted pictures. In the centre is a small joystick for selecting menu options. You press the joystick to confirm a selection. Lower down are buttons to access the menu and to gain access to the in camera guide.

Product Shots

Front View

Olympus TG-820 Front View

Back View

Olympus TG-820 Back View

Top View

Olympus TG-820 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Buy the Olympus TG-820

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GBP 204.95
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