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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 -10C.

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Olympus Tough TG-610 front lens cap open

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 front

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.

Olympus Tough TG-610 top

Key Features

  • 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
  • AF tracking
  • Magic Filters for images and HD movies
  • LED illuminator to lighten up underwater or macro sceneries
  • Pet Detection Mode
  • Beauty Mode
  • Battery charging via USB-cable
  • In-camera manual
  • TruePic III+ image processor

Olympus Tough TG-610 rear

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 battery

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.

Olympus Tough TG-610 wide-angle   Olympus Tough TG-610 full optical zoom
Wide-angle, ISO80, 1/400, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Full optical zoom, ISO80, 1/250, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)
Olympus Tough TG-610 digital zoom   Olympus Tough TG-610 macro
Digital zoom, ISO100, 1/160, f/5.9, 25mm (35mm equiv: 140mm)   Macro, ISO160, 1/40, f/4.7, 7mm (35mm equiv: 37mm)

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.

Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO80 Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO100 Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO200
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)
Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO400 Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO800 Olympus Tough TG-610 ISO1600
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.

Olympus Tough TG-610 portrait   Olympus Tough TG-610 beauty shot
Portrait, ISO320, 1/50, f/4.8, 17mm (35mm equiv: 96mm)   Beauty shot, ISO320, 1/50, f/4.8, 17mm (35mm equiv: 96mm)

The following images are examples using some of the scene modes available.

Olympus Tough TG-610 landscape   Olympus Tough TG-610 landscape with building
Landscape, ISO80, 1/400, f/3.9, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)   Landscape with building, ISO80, 1/60, f/11, 5mm (35mm equiv: 28mm)
Olympus Tough TG-610 sport  
Sport, ISO100, 1/500, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)   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.

Olympus Tough TG-610 Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting   Olympus Tough TG-610 Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/5, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)   Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light, ISO100, 1/5, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)
Olympus Tough TG-610 Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light   Olympus Tough TG-610 Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/2, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)   Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light, ISO100, 1/2, f/4.9, 9mm (35mm equiv: 49mm)

Below are example images using each of the eight Magic Filters available.

Olympus Tough TG-610 pop art Olympus Tough TG-610 pin hole Olympus Tough TG-610 fish-eye Olympus Tough TG-610 drawing
Pop art Pin hole Fish eye Drawing
Olympus Tough TG-610 soft focus Olympus Tough TG-610 punk Olympus Tough TG-610 sparkle Olympus Tough TG-610 watercolour
Soft focus Punk Sparkle Watercolour

Video Mode

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.

Waterproof Shockproof Freezeproof Price
Fujifilm FinePix XP10 3m 1m -10°C £99.00
Olympus Tough TG-310 3m 1.5m -10°C £138.99
Fujifilm FinePix XP30 5m 1.5m -10°C £139.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT10 3m 1.5m -10°C £149.99
Olympus Tough TG-610 5m 1.5m -10°C £188.00
Canon PowerShot D10 10m 1.2m -10°C £214.99
Olympus Tough TG-810 10m 2m -10°C £224.99
Pentax Optio WG-1 10m 1.5m -10°C £239.00
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2 10m 2m -10°C £248.99
Sony Cyber-shot TX10 5m 1.5m -10°C £294.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 12m 2m -10°C £298.99
Ricoh G700 5m 2m -10°C £449.00
Ricoh G700SE 5m 2m -10°C £649.00

Olympus Tough TG-610: Verdict

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
Solid build
LED illuminator
TAP control
Good value for money

Olympus Tough TG-610: Cons

Quite heavy for a compact


Olympus Tough TG-610: Specification

Price £188.00
Optical zoom 5x optical zoom, 5 - 25mm, (35mm equiv: 28 - 140mm), f/3.9-5.9
Resolution 14.0 megapixel
Sensor size 1/2.3 inch
Sensor type CCD
Max image size 4288 x 3216
Aspect ratio 4:3
Focusing system TTL iESP auto focus with contrast detection
Focus points iESP, Face Detection AF, Spot, AF Tracking
Focus distance 3cm
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80 - 1600
Metering system ESP light metering
Metering types Spot metering
Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV / 1/3 steps
Shutter speed range 1/2000 - 4 sec
Frames-per-second 3.0 fps / 200 frames (in 5MP mode)
0.6 fps / 200 frames (Full Image Size)
Image stabilisation Dual Image Stabilisation
Movie mode 720p HD
Monitor 3 inch LCD screen
Media type SD, SDHC, SDXC Memory Card
Interface USB 2.0, Mini HDMI
Power LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
Box Contents LI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
F-2AC AC Adapter
CB-AVC3 Audio/Video cable
World Wide Warranty Card
Instruction Manual
[ib] Image Management Software
Size 99.5 x 64.5 x 26.1mm
Weight 190g
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Photographs taken using the Olympus Olympus Tough TG-610

In the trough....Polperro Harbour Cornwalloi!CARDINAL PLACEenjoy oneself

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