Olympus announced the Tough TG-820, a replacement for the TG-810, in February 2012. Other additions to the range are the TG-620 and TG-320. The TG-820 is available in red, blue, black and silver for £252.00.
Olympus Tough TG-820 Features
The Olympus Tough TG-820 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-820 isn't called Tough for nothing. It’s crushproof to 100kg, waterproof 10m, shockproof to 2m 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-820 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 10m
Shockproof to 2m
Crushproof to 100kg
Freezeproof to -10°C
5x wide optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28-140mm)
12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
1080p Full HD Movie and HDMI Control
Multi-motion Movie IS
3.0 inch 1,030,000 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
Olympus Tough TG-820 Handling
Appearance wise, the TG-820 hasn't changed much from previous models. The zoom rocker is now 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 around the video record button 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.
If your gloves are so thick you can't possibly press the buttons then it's time to switch on Tap Control. This means you can cycle through the shooting options by tapping the camera left, righ, up and down, with a double tap on the screen for OK. It works really well and you can adjust the sensitivity.
The rear of the camera also host a 3 inch, 1,030,000 dot LCD screen which is scratch-resistant and easy to view. To ensure the insides of the camera don't get wet, the battery, memory card and cable connectors are housed behind one door which requires the pressing of two locks to open.
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-820 Performance
The Olympus Tough TG-820 produces images which are really well exposed with very pleasing colour reproduction. Detail is good a both ends of the lens, 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 1cm, allowing detailed close-up shots to be taken. There are examples below using the LED light.
Olympus Tough TG-820 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-820 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 TG-820 takes a very impressive seamless panoramic picture.
Olympus Tough TG-820 Scene modes
Panoramic | 1/40 sec | f/3.9 | 5.0 mm | ISO 800
Example images taken underwater.
Olympus Tough TG-820 Sample Photos
The LED macro mode is a great way to lighten up a close-up scene, here are some examples.
Olympus Tough TG-820 Other sample images
The auto white-balance (AWB) setting takes an image with a 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-820 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-820 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-820 is currently priced at £252.00 and is at the top of the Olympus Tough range which includes the TG-620 and TG-320. If you want the most waterproof and shockproof camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 ticks the box.
We have been impressed by cameras in the Tough range previously, such as the TG-610 which was featured packed with good image quality. The TG-820 does not disappoint, with the latest top of the range Tough camera building on previous results. There is now full 1080p HD video recording, a higher-resolution screen and an extended ISO range. There is very little to fault and some unique features, such as TAP control and LED macro, really make the Olympus Tough TG-820 stand out as an ideal camera for those who like to take pictures in extreme conditions.
The Olympus Tough TG-820 is another excellent performer in the Tough range.
Olympus Tough TG-820 Pros
Excellent image quality
Built for extreme conditions
Full 1080p HD video recording
High-resolution LCD screen
Good panoramic pictures
Fast continuous shooting modes
Olympus Tough TG-820 Cons
Quite a heavy camera
AWB wayward under our studio lights
A super wide-angle zoom aimed primarily at landscape and architecture photographers with a more affordable price and a slightly wider range than the camera makers' own models...is there a catch? We aim to find out.
3 Aug 2009 11:34AM