Olympus Tough TG-610 Review

Waterproof

14 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 99.5 x 64.5 x 26.1 mm    Weight: 190g

Good Points: Robust features, High Definition movies, menu options on LCD screen

Bad Points: Slow turn on and response times, over bright photos, struggles with very light subjects


Olympus Tough TG-610 Shutter Lag Rating slow Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating

Overview

The Olympus Tough TG-610 is a robust digital camera. It is waterproof, can survive being dropped and can cope with extreme cold. It is small enough to slip into a large pocket and operates as a simple, point and shoot digital camera.

The Tough TG-610 has 14 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens.

Olympus have produced four different coloured versions. These are red, silver, blue and black.

Why Buy the Olympus Tough TG-610

The big attraction is the robust features. This type of digital camera is very popular, especially with families, but there are not very many different models to choose from.

Features

Megapixels and Zoom

The Tough TG-610 has 14 megapixels and a 5x optical zoom lens. The lens has wide angle capabilities. This helps you to squeeze wider scenes into your shots. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 28- 140mm in 35mm format.

Robust Features

Olympus have equipped the Tough TG-610 with a fairly standard set of robust features. These make the camera waterproof to depths of 5m, shockproof to falls of 1.5m and freezeproof down to -10 degrees centigrade.

High Definition Movies

Being able to shoot short movie clips can come in handy. It also gives you the option of leaving your camcorder at home. Zoom is available when you shoot a movie clip.

LCD Screen Size

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. It is made up of 920,000 dots.

Close Up Shooting Options

There are three different macro mode options you can use. One allows you to zoom in on subjects. The next lets you get within 3cm of your subject, but disables the ability to zoom in. The third adds lighting of your subject. This is a really good idea as when you get in really close there is a danger that the camera body may block out some of the available light.

Image Stabilisation

With a relatively short telephoto lens image stabilisation is not as important on the Tough TG-610 as it might be on digital cameras with longer lenses. Despite that it is still useful to have at your disposal. You may notice that it is at its most effective when you are taking photos in lower lighting.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Although Olympus have not built Wi-Fi connectivity into the Tough TG-610 it is compatible with Eye-Fi memory cards. These cards are more expensive that standard SD cards, but they do offer you wireless connectivity.

3D Shooting Options

If you have a 3D television then you are likely to find the 3D shooting mode comes in handy from time to time. All you need to do is select the correct mode and you can start taking 3D pictures.

Predefined Scene Modes

You have 21 predefined scene modes at your disposal. When you select one of these the camera can identify the type of scene you are photographing. It will then select what it considers to be the optimum settings for the shot. The available scene modes are: Portrait, Beauty, 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) and Snow.

More Advanced Features Giving You Extra Control

Even if you are planning to use the Tough TG-610 primarily as a point and shoot digital camera there may be times when a few more advanced features come in handy. These include two types of metering (ESP light metering, Spot metering), white balance, exposure compensation, plus the ability to fine tune ISO.

Image Quality

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

The Tough TG-610 gets most things right in this test, but it does look like it will struggle when light coloured objects dominate a scene. The sharpness of the shot is good. There is a slight fall off as you reach the edges of the shot, but overall focusing is of a high standard. My main concern is that there is a fair amount of detail lost from the boats. This may not show up on smaller prints, but there are cameras that manage to bring out that bit of extra detail compared to the Tough TG-610.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

As with the first shot the Tough TG-610 produces a shot that gets most things right. Once again focusing is sharp throughout the majority of the picture. In fact it compares well with a lot of point and shoot digital cameras in this respect. The problem here is that there is a much more noticeable loss of sharpness as you move towards the edges of the picture. Again this may not be noticeable with smaller prints, but if you become more ambitious with the size of your prints you may start to see a softening of the shot as you move out towards the edges.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Looking back to the first test shot there is the same loss of detail on the boats. It is not as important in this shot as they are much less prominent in the shot. There is a slight hazy effect around some of the boats.

Outdoor Building

This shot is similar to other shots when it comes to sharpness being generally good, but with a small amount of softening at the edges. Parts of the shot are very light. This causes a lack of colour depth.

Outdoor Portrait

Although there are no issues with the sharpness of this photo it is another shot where I would like to have seen lighting toned down a level or two. This washes some of the colour out of the shot. This is despite using a white balance setting of cloudy in an attempt to boost the colours on display.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Unlike the last two shots the amount of light emitted by the flash unit is not powerful enough to fully illuminate the picture. By way of contrast with earlier pictures this makes the colours look stronger than they should be. This in turn gives the skin tones an overcooked look.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Without flash the Tough TG-610 shows a lot of noise. This has a detrimental effect on the definition of the photo. It gives the picture a grainy look with the colours starting to break up.

Macro

The inclusion of a small light to brighten a macro shot is a very good idea. There was certainly a difference in the brightness of the shots taken with and without the additional lighting. Sharpness is about at the level you might expect from this level of digital camera. You should be able to produce pleasing close up shots. If close up photography is of particular importance to you then you are likely to need to step up to a higher quality digital camera.

Colours

In most instances the colours work well enough, but there were occasions where they lacked some of the depth that other cameras manage.

Noise

Noise could well be an issue with this camera when lighting is not perfect. There could also be times when you may notice a hazy effect around objects.

Picture Quality Summary

Picture quality is a bit uneven. The main downsides are over light shots and the loss of quality in lower light.

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 Tough TG-610 Specification

Olympus Tough TG-610 Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Olympus Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: June 2011

Verdict

Picture quality is mid range. Whether or not the Olympus Tough TG-610 is the right camera for you could well depend on the type of pictures you are looking to take. If you are looking for a camera purely to produce small snapshots then picture quality is likely to be good enough most of the time. If you are looking for that bit more when it comes to picture quality it may be a good idea to check out some of the rival models.

Ratings

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

8
9
8
8
8

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

Total:

7
8
7
8
8

79

Main Features

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

14
5x
3 inches
99.5 x 64.5 x 26.1 mm
190g
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:

0.53 seconds
15.27 seconds
1.16 seconds
18.86 seconds
7.29 seconds

Shutter Lag Table

Handling

General Handling

The Tough TG-610 has quite a substantial feel to it. In fact it feels chunky. It certainly looks different to any other digital camera other than the models in this part of the Olympus range. It is on the large side to fit into smaller pockets, although you should be able to slip it into a larger jacket pocket.

On the back of the camera the controls run in a straight line running from top to bottom. One negative point about this layout is that there is not an obvious place to rest your thumb when taking a picture.

Menu Display

One feature you may find really makes a difference to operating the camera is the fact Olympus display key settings on the right hand side of the screen. Not only does this make it very easy for you to see the current settings it makes changing them quick and easy too.

If you prefer not to display this information on the screen you can opt to turn it off.

Lens and Flash Unit Position

The lens is situated in the top right hand corner when you look at the front of the Tough TG-610. Normally this can increase the possibility of the occasional stray finger obstructing the lens. To overcome this potential problem Olympus have boxed in the lens unit.

The flash unit is positioned centrally near the top of the camera. Again this helps to avoid any light being clocked by a stray finger.

Slow Turn on Times and General Response

It takes quite a while for the Tough TG-610 to power up ready to take the first photo. At over 7 seconds it is 2 - 3 times slower than standard. Shot times for taking pictures were also slower than average.

Controls on Top of the Camera

There are two controls on the top of the camera. These are the on / off button and the shutter button.

Controls on the Back of The Camera

Controls on the back of the camera start with a rocker to zoom in and out. Next is a button that allows you to shoot movies without needing to first change the shooting mode. Under this are three rectangular buttons. These are to review photos, display help text and access the menu system. Finally there is a control unit allowing you to change the information displaying on the LCD screen, a button to confirm a setting and one to delete unwanted photos.

What's in the Menu System?

The menu system runs to seven pages. These can be divided into four sections; still image settings, movie mode settings, playback options and general setup. There are a total of 42 options.

Product Shots

Front View

Olympus Tough TG-610 Front View

Back View

Olympus Tough TG-610 Back View

Top View

Olympus Tough TG-610 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4