Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review

We review the waterproof Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850, the only waterproof camera with a tilting screen and an ultra wide-angle lens.

| Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 in Compact Cameras
BUY NOW OLYMPUS Stylus Tough TG-850


Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Stylus Tough TG 850 Silver (3)

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 is a waterproof, freezeproof, crushproof and shockproof digital camera from Olympus, with an ultra wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, and a tilting 3inch screen, ideal for self-portraits. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Features

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Stylus Tough TG 850 Silver (6)

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 features a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, an ultra wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 21mm to 105mm, and optical image stabilisation to ensure sharp shots in low light conditions.

Waterproof to 10 meters, drop-proof from 2.1 meters, crushproof up to 100kg, dustproof, as well as freezeproof to -10C, the camera should withstand everything you throw at it, and make it ideal for holidays and other action packed travels.

On the back of the camera is a tilting 3inch screen, that tilts 180 degrees to face forwards, making self portraits and group shots easy. There are also options for a custom delay using the self-timer, as well as the option to shoot multiple shots.

FullHD video is recorded at 60fps, stereo sound, and optical zoom is available. The camera can also record high-speed video at 120 and 240fps, at a reduced resolution. The camera can shoot at 7fps at full resolution, and shoots HDR (High Dynamic Range) images to enhance dynamic range in photos. 

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens, 21mm-105mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation (lens shift)
  • 3inch tilting screen, 460k dots
  • Waterproof (10m) / freezeproof (-10C)
  • Shockproof (2.1m drop) / Crushproof (100kg)
  • FullHD video at 60p, stereo sound, 5-axis IS
  • Art filters
  • ISO125-ISO6400
  • 1cm macro mode
  • 7fps continuous shooting
  • Interval shooting, time-lapse movies

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Handling

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Stylus Tough TG 850 Silver (1)

Handling - The Olympus Tough TG-850 has an extremely solid body with a mixture of tough plastics and metal. A textured thumb grip is on the rear for your thumb, and the front of the camera features ridged plastic to help you keep a tight grip on the camera. We'd recommend using the wrist strap to make sure you don't lose it, but on the plus side the camera should survive being dropped thanks to the camera being shockproof.

A mode dial on the back lets you set the shooting mode, and there are video record, playback, and menu buttons. The four way controller can be used to change settings on the rear screen. On top is the on/off button, shutter release and zoom control. The side gives access to the battery and memory card compartment, where the USB port is. This features dual locks to make sure you don't open it accidentally. The screen is bright and clear and relatively easy to see in bright sunlight, with good viewing angles. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Stylus Tough TG 850 Silver (4)

Menus – To change settings you can use the 4-way controller and this will bring up a number of common settings on the rear screen. To adjust more advanced settings you simply press the menu button and the options are spread over a number of screens, and there is built in help that explains each option making the camera easy to use without having to refer to the manual. 

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 300 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, which is quite good for a compact camera.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Stylus Tough TG 850 Silver (7)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.35secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.65secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
7fps (6 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash / LED  0.8secs / 7fps (6 shots)

Shutter response and focus are both quick, and the camera gives a good continuous shooting speed of 7fps (for up to 6 shots). This can be used with the LED light on, or alternatively to shoot with flash and continuous shooting, you need to select the slower 'Sequential shooting 1' option. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are free of red-eye, with decent skin tones, however as the ISO setting has been increased to ISO400, the levels of detail seems a bit low. For sharing on the web this shouldn't be a problem. Colour and exposure is good, although saturation may seem a little low when using the "Natural" colour mode, and to get brighter colours you can use the "Vivid" mode. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The most noticeable image quality issues are the soft corners, particularly when using the camera on the wide-angle setting. Detail is reasonable in the middle of the picture or when using the zoom, however levels of detail do seem fairly low. The camera does a good job of correcting for barrel and pincushion distortion, although there is slight vignetting visible when using the wide-angle end of the lens. The camera has an extremely impressive super macro mode, letting you get very close to your subject.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is fairly low in ISO125 images, although noise does start becoming noticeable in ISO200 images. Noise is visible in ISO400 images, and detail seems fairly low. Detail drops again at ISO800 as noise increases. At ISO1600 noise becomes stronger again, and at ISO3200 detail suffers noticeably. We'd recommend avoiding ISO6400 as noise is high, with low levels of detail. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a slightly warm image under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a better result. AWB performs reasonably well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review: Olympus Tough TG 850 Panoramic P4230058 | 1/640 sec | f/6.0 | 3.7 mm | ISO 125
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/6.0 | 3.7 mm | ISO 125

Panorama mode - Panoramic shooting is possible, and you simply pan the camera from the left to the right with the camera automatically stitching the photo. Detail is quite low, and there are some stitching issues.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Outdoor images

Shadow adjustment technology can be used to expand dynamic range, and brighten dark shadows. There is also the option to shoot HDR images, with the camera taking a number of shots and combining them to produce an image with expanded dynamic range. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of colour options, digital effects, as well as seven art filters built in that can help give you some creative shots, as shown above.

Video - The camera records fullHD video at 60fps with stereo sound, and optical zoom is available. 5-axis image stabilisation helps keep the shot steady while recording, although it can take a while to settle down after movement or zoom. Some noise of the lens can be picked up when using optical zoom, but this isn't overly loud, and quality is quite good, thanks to the 60fps frame rate.


Value For Money

The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 is available for £269 which makes it good value for money, particularly up against the following cameras, shown below:

Nikon Coolpix AW120, 18m, Wi-Fi, GPS, £279
Panasonic Lumix FT5, 13m, Wi-Fi, GPS, £269
Ricoh WG-4 GPS, 14m, GPS, £289
Olympus Tough TG-3, 15m, GPS, £349
Canon Powershot D30, 25m, GPS, £259

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Verdict

The Olympus Tough TG-850 is unique among tough waterproof cameras as it offers a tilting 3inch screen making it ideal for group or self portrait shots. It also offers an ultra wide-angle 21mm equivalent 5x optical zoom lens, image stabilisation and full HD video recording. Although image quality when using the camera at the wide end of the lens isn't the best due to soft corners, if you are simply planning on taking snapshots when on holiday or plan on sharing on social networks then colour and exposure is good, and video quality is good thanks to the built in 5-axis image stabilisation. The camera is priced competitively making it worth consideration particularly if you want a tilting screen, as well as an ultra wide-angle lens. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Waterproof Review:  
  The Olympus Tough TG-850 has a number of unique features with a high quality 3inch tilting screen. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Pros

Good colour and exposure
FullHD video at 60fps with 5-axis IS
2 year warranty
A number of fun digital effects
Excellent macro mode
3inch tilting screen
21mm ultra wide-angle lens
HDR mode built in
7fps continuous shooting


Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Cons

Wi-Fi and GPS not built in
Panoramic shots are quite low resolution
Soft corners




Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.7
35mm equivalent21mm - 105mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest4sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity125 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS60p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)300shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter, CB‑USB8 USB Cable, Hand Strap, World Wide Warranty Card, Instruction Manual, Olympus Viewer 3 Software CD-ROM

View Full Product Details


Buy Now


Sell or trade used photo and video kit with MPB

With MPB you can get a free instant quote for the kit you want to sell, including a trade-in all-in-one transaction - no need for callbacks or waiting for an email quote. Then, if you decide to sell, MPB will pick up your kit with a free insured DPD collection and you’ll get paid cash into your account within days. MPB will also keep you informed about the status of your gear at every step of the way and the whole process is carbon neutral.

Sell your unwanted gear with MPB

Amazon UK Logo

We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 SEARCH
Amazon US Logo

We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850 SEARCH
MPB Logo

We transform the way that people buy, sell and trade in photo and video kit.


Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, MPB. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.


Photographs taken using the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850

The Giant Beech Trees at Badbury Avenue, Dorset

Other articles you might find interesting...

Canon PowerShot V10 Review
Nikon Z30 Camera Review
SMC Pentax MX-1 6-24mm f/1.8-2.5 Vintage Lens Review
Leica Q2 Monochrom Review
OM System TG-7 Waterproof Camera
Sony ZV-1 II Review
Sony ZV-1 Mark II Updates The Z-V1 With New Functions & Refi...
Sony ZV-E1 Full-Frame Vlog Camera


dborato Avatar
20 Oct 2014 9:25PM
All the images there was not one underwater image. I would like to see some of Olympus TG 850 underwater photos. Thank you

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.