Olympus Tough TG-610 Digital Compact Camera Review
Olympus Tough TG-610 Digital Compact Camera Review - Daniel Bell reviews the feature packed Olympus Tough TG-610 digital compact camera, which is waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10°C.
The Olympus Tough TG-610 was announced in January 2011 building on the success of previous Tough models such as the Olympus Mju Tough 6020 and Olympus Mju Tough 8010. Available in black, silver, blue and red, the camera is currently available for £188.00.
Olympus Tough TG-610: Features
As the name suggests, the TG-610 is made to survive conditions which cameras are not normally designed for. It is waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10°C. There is a 14 megapixel sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-140mm. The camera is armed with Dual Image Stabilisation to reduce blur with fast-moving shots or in low light.
Intelligent Auto Mode adjusts the camera's settings, focus and exposure automatically and when shooting underwater, there is also automatic white balance. Panoramics are stitched together in camera and the Advanced Face Detection focuses and exposes up to 12 faces perfectly.
With a minimum focus distance of just 3cm, it can be difficult to get good light onto your subject but the TG-610 has the answer with an LED illuminator which can also be used to light up underwater scenes.
As commonly featured on Olympus compacts, the TG-610 has a range of Magic Filters such as Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish-eye, Drawing, Soft Focus, Punk, Sparkle and Watercolour. Pet Detection Mode will automatically take pictures of a dog or a cat when they look at the camera. Using Beauty Mode when shooting portraits will make faces appear brighter and smoother.
Other features include TAP Control Menu for great convenience also when wearing gloves, Eye-Fi Card compatibility and 3D photo shooting mode.
The camera shoots videos at 720p HD with sound and optical zoom and the camera can be connected to a HD TV via a mini HDMI cable.
Waterproof to 5m
Shockproof to 1.5m
Freezeproof to -10°C
5x wide optical zoom (35mm equiv: 28-140mm)
Dual Image Stabilisation
TAP Control Menu
Eye-Fi Card compatibility
3D photo shooting mode
14 megapixel sensor
720p HD movies and remote operation by HDMI control
Automatic Underwater White Balance
3.0 inch 920,000 dot HyperCrystal III LCD screen
In-camera panorama function
Intelligent Auto Mode
Advanced Face Detection
Magic Filters for images and HD movies
LED illuminator to lighten up underwater or macro sceneries
Pet Detection Mode
Battery charging via USB-cable
TruePic III+ image processor
Olympus Tough TG-610: Handling
From the instant you pick it up, the TG-610 feels like a well-built, tough camera. It has big chunky buttons which make it easy to use even if your hands are wet and/or cold.
There is a dedicated video record button and a couple of buttons even have a function when the camera is switched off. When pressing the ? button the camera displays the time and date, when the play button is pressed you go straight to viewing your pictures and videos.
Thanks to the camera's TAP control you can control it by tapping either the side or the top to navigate through the camera's menus, making it easy to use when wearing gloves.
On the rear of the camera is a 3.0 inch 920,000 dot HyperCrystal III LCD screen which is easy to view from extreme angles and varying light conditions, including underwater.
Continuous shooting mode shoots full size images at 0.6fps and High Speed mode which shoots at 3.2fps, although image size is limited to approximately 3 megapixels.
Olympus Tough TG-610: Performance
The TG-610 takes really well exposed images with great colour reproduction. The wide-angle image below was taken on a really bright day which has lead to a blown out sky and a touch of lens flare in the bottom right corner. Detail, although better in the centre of the images, is good throughout the images. With a minimum focus distance of just 3cm, the camera takes really good macro images when using Super Macro mode.
Noise is very minimal at both ISO80 and ISO100, with only a touch creeping in at ISO200. Noise increases through ISO400 and ISO800, but good sharp images are still produced. There is lots of noise at ISO1600 and images taken using this setting are likely to be best used for small size prints or for sharing on the web.
ISO80, 1/2, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
ISO100, 1/4, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
ISO200, 1/8, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
ISO400, 1/10, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
ISO800, 1/20, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
ISO1600, 1/40, f/5.5, 21mm (35mm equiv: 118mm)
The camera takes really good portrait pictures, although there is a touch of red-eye. Portraits look even better when using Beauty Shot mode, as this softens the skin and reduces the blemishes, although image size is reduced to just 5 megapixels.
Super Macro with LED illuminator, ISO800, 1/60, f/4.7, 7mm (35mm equiv: 37mm)
Auto white-balance performs well and under our studio lighting, it has handled the fluorescent light much better than the fluorescent preset. Under the incandescent lighting, the AWB setting has struggled a touch with the incandescent preset taking a better image.
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/5, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)
Below are example images using each of the eight Magic Filters available.
The camera shoots videos at 720p HD with sound and optical zoom as well as being able to apply the magic filters to videos as well.
Value For Money
The Olympus Tough TG-610 costs £188.00. There are plenty of cameras on the market which are designed to be used in conditions normally considered unsuitable for a camera. At the cheaper end is the Fujifilm FinePix XP10, waterproof to 3m, shockproof to 1m and freezeproof to -10°C costing £99.00. At the higher end is the Ricoh G700SE, waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 2m and freezeproof to -10°C costing £649.00. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 offers the best performance regarding water and shockproofness at 12m and 2m respectively, costing £248.99.
When using the Olympus Tough TG-610 there are plenty of pros and it was difficult to find anything not to like. It's quite heavy and bulky for a compact camera so it isn't likely to appeal to the casual user, but those who shoot in tough climates and conditions are going to enjoy using it. As well as being a solid camera which is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, it takes really good images and offers loads of features which are a pleasant surprise such as TAP control and the LED illuminator.
The Olympus Tough TG-610 offers bags of features, is extremely tough and reasonably priced.
Olympus Tough TG-610: Pros
Waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof
Good image quality
Good value for money