We recently took a look at the Olympus Tough TG-820, awarding it 4.5 out of five, which is priced at £252.00. The TG-620 is a cheaper version with fewer features and if your budget is tighter still, the TG-320 can be purchased for £139.00. The TG-620 is available in white, pink, blue, black and green for £214.00.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Features
The Olympus Tough TG-620 has Olympus' new iHS (Intelligence, High Sensitivity and High Speed) technology aimed to make it possible to take great pictures in lousy conditions. There is a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor and TruePic VI image processor (originally developed for DSLR cameras).Olympus say this will all help improve low-light performance, speed up camera response and enhance scene and subject recognition, ideal for fast-moving subjects, night scenes and other tricky shots.
Of course, the TG-620 isn't called Tough for nothing. It’s waterproof to 5m, shockproof to 1.5m and freezeproof to -10°C. All this will help protect the camera components, which include the 5x optical zoom lens, a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 140mm.
The TG-620 can also record videos, at full 1080p HD. During recording you can use Magic Filters and optical zoom with stabilisation available to ensure steady videos.
Waterproof to 5m
Shockproof to 1.5m
Freezeproof to -10°C
5x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28-140mm)
12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
1080p full HD movie recording and HDMI control
Multi-motion Movie IS
3 inch 460,000 dot HyperCrystal III LCD screen
Dual Image Stabilisation
Magic Filter Movie and/or Stills
HDR Backlight Adjustment
Advanced iAuto and AF Tracking
Face Detection and Advanced SAT
3D Photo Shooting Mode
Beauty Make-up Mode
Pet Detection Mode
Eye-Fi Card compatibility
Photo surfing and [ib] software
Olympus Tough TG-620 Handling
When compared to the TG-820 it's obvious which is the toughest of the two. The TG-620 has a plastic body, with two separate compartments for the battery and memory card. Both of these have two locks which require pressing to open. The zoom rocker is placed on top of the camera alongside the shutter release. On the rear is a chunky OK button which acts as a D-pad and makes it easy to use the camera even with gloves on. There is also a metal plate which helps grip and is also used to attach a strap. The playback button allows viewing of your pictures and videos even when the camera is switched off, the ? button tells you the time and date as well. The rear of the camera also hosts a 3 inch, 460,000 dot LCD screen which is easy to view in all lighting conditions.
Olympus haven't provided a CIPA rating for the camera's battery but it was charged before testing and was not needed to be recharged. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Sequential shooting records at full-sized 12 megapixel resolution, with high-speed 1 and 2 shooting at 3 megapixels.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Performance
The Olympus Tough TG-620 produces images which are really well exposed with very pleasing colour reproduction. Detail is good at both ends of the lens, soft in the corners and with some purple fringing in high contrast areas. There are three different modes for close-up shots, macro, super macro and super macro LED. In super macro mode the camera has a minimum focusing distance of just 3cm, allowing detailed close-up shots to be taken. There are examples below using the LED light.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Lens test images
There's no noise at ISO 100, but it does start to appear at ISO 200 and more so at ISO 400. At ISO 800 noise is making the images slightly softer and again at ISO 1600. As you'd expect, noise continues to increase through ISO 3200 and 6400, but a usable image is still produced, particularly if you are resizing for web use, with colour reproduction remaining good throughout the ISO range.
Olympus Tough TG-620 ISO test images
Landscape mode takes pictures with good blues and greens. Portraits have excellent skin tones and are free from red-eye. Sport mode has been used to gain a fast shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. The fourth image used the LED macro, with the final two images taken underwater.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Sample Photos
The auto white-balance (AWB) setting takes an image with an orange cast under the incandescent lighting, with the respective preset taking a better picture. Under the fluorescent lighting, the AWB setting has a very slight magenta cast, with the fluorescent preset giving a much stronger magenta cast.
Olympus Tough TG-620 White-balance test images
There are a range of magic filters available to add creativity to both images and videos, although not all of them can be used for video recording.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Digital filters
Below is a video shot at full 1080p HD, the camera also allows the use of optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.
Value For Money
The Olympus Tough TG-620 is currently priced at £214.00 and is in the middle of the Olympus Tough range which includes the TG-820 and TG-320. If you want the most waterproof and shockproof camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 ticks the box.
If you participate in activities which will put your camera at risk of being dropped and have the extra cash available you are may be better off with the TG-820, which has a metal body, is crushproof to 100Kg and shockproof to 2m. Other than that, the TG-620 is much the same, with excellent image quality, full 1080p HD video recording and fast high-speed shooting.
The Olympus Tough TG-620 offers great image quality and will survive both underwater and in freezing conditions.
Olympus Tough TG-620 Pros
Excellent image quality
Built for extreme conditions
Full 1080p HD video recording
Fast continuous shooting modes
Olympus Tough TG-620 Cons
Lacks the metal body of the TG-820
AWB wayward under our studio lights